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What Do People Look for in a Typical Background Check?

What to Look for in a Typical Background Check

Your company screens employees because you know this is a smart business practice. So, what should you look for in a typical background check? Here’s how to interpret the results.

What to Look for in a Typical Background Check


At their most basic level, background checks are meant to verify information. Is your new hire or current employee who they claim to be? Therefore, watch for anything that doesn’t match with what a person told you or led you to believe. This may range from an incorrect social security number to an obvious lack of qualifications. For example, let’s say someone listed bachelor’s degree on their resume, but there’s no record of them attending a university. This might be a red flag. Yet, keep in mind, reporting errors DO occur. As a result, if something seems amiss, be sure to double-check with your candidate before rushing to the wrong conclusion. If you’re screening through a third-party provider, the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires you to complete this step.

Behaviors That Could Interfere with the Job

You don’t want to hire an accountant convicted of embezzlement, a caregiver charged with assault or a driver with DWIs. Cleary, these crimes could interfere with their ability to complete their jobs as well as put others at risk. In fact, some businesses prefer to only hire people with a clean record. Yet, be careful when making these types of blanket decisions. To give those with criminal backgrounds a fair chance at employment, multiple states, counties and cities have passed fair chance hiring laws. For instance, New York State Article 23-A prohibits employers from automatically disqualifying applicants with criminal records. Instead, businesses must make hiring decisions based on the relationship between the job and the offense. Consider the candidate with the DWIs. What if they applied for accounting instead of a driving position? In this case, it may be difficult to argue this person’s conviction would prevent them from successfully doing their job.

A History of Poor Decision Making

Additionally, background checks can provide insight into an individual’s personality. Of course, we’ve all made bad choices, but a history of poor decision-making could signal trouble ahead. Be aware of long-term trends that span different areas of a person’s life. A single trespassing charge may not be much to worry about. However, multiple trespassing charges plus credit problems plus a poor driving record should raise concerns. And usually, in these instances, it’s relatively easy to defend your reservations even through fair chance hiring laws.

Does Your Company Need Help Running Background Checks in Western New York?

As WNY’s leading pre-employment screening service, Metrodata Services will assist you with conducting and interpreting background checks. Thus, allowing your organization to make the best possible hiring decisions while also remaining compliant with federal, state, and local laws. Learn more about the benefits of partnering with Metrodata today!

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