You know that running background checks on your prospective employees is a good idea. Because even a single bad hire can be very costly for a business, you’ll want to make sure you’re hiring the right person, the first time. But what kind of information will you gain from running the background check? Exactly what is included when you conduct a background check on an employee?
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer because there are various types of background checks. Let’s take a closer look.
What Does a Background Check Include?
This depends on the type of background check, the job, and the industry. However, most common background checks include information like criminal history, education, reference checks, and previous employment verification. Depending on the job, an employer may decide to conduct drug testing.
What Kind of Background Checks Are There?
Employers can run a wide variety of background checks on applicants. The background check you choose can be made up of any number of the following checks:
Social Security Trace
This is where most background checks begin. It reveals where a potential employee has worked and lived and gives you any other names or aliases associated with the person.
National Criminal Records Database Search
This tells employers if the employee has committed a crime outside of the state and county where they live and work. The NCRD is made up of hundreds of millions of records that can be searched almost instantaneously. Also included in the NCRD is the sex offender registry check, which shows if an applicant is a registered sex offender in any of the 50 states.
State and County Criminal Records Check
These background checks reveal any misdemeanors or felonies committed by the candidate in the state or county.
This check confirms attendance and graduation at colleges and high schools to ensure applicants are being truthful about their education. It can also confirm certifications, licensing, and other types of qualifications.
This confirms an applicant’s previous employment history, including date ranges, salaries, and reasons for leaving.
Credit Report Check
Typically used for candidates applying to financial positions or those entrusted with Personal Identifiable Information (PII), a credit report check shows any current debts as well as bankruptcies and payment history.
Driver’s License Verification
Used if driving is a part of the job, the driver’s license verification and driving records check give insight into an applicant’s driving history, including violations, accidents, and convictions.
FBI Fingerprint Database
Fingerprint background checks are used more commonly in certain industries than others, like healthcare and childcare. If a match is found, the check shows criminal history information including arrests, as well as information about military service, federal employment, and naturalization.
Office of Foreign Asset Control
Although not included in background checks as commonly as other types, the OFAC search reveals whether a candidate is considered a threat to national security. This check is maintained by the United States Treasury Department.
Aside from these formal background check processes, employers may conduct drug testing and reference checks, both of which are relatively common in background checks. Reference checks involve the employer contacting the references a candidate listed on their resume or application and talking to that person about the candidate’s work history, work ethic, experience, and more.
How Far Back Do Background Checks Go?
Background checks do not necessarily go back for a candidate’s entire life or even their entire employment history. Non-conviction records only get reported for seven years, meaning many records won’t show up in a background check if an incident occurred more than seven years prior to the check. However, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) there is no limitation on reporting criminal convictions. Even so, many states have passed laws prohibiting reporting agencies from reporting convictions beyond seven years.
Currently, disclosure of convictions more than seven years old is prohibited in California, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, and Washington. Additionally, Hawaii prohibits conviction disclosures after seven years for felonies and five years for misdemeanors.
Do You Need to Run Background Checks on Candidates or Employees?
You’ve come to the right place. When you partner with a Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) provider, you can rest assured you’re compliant with all federal, state, and local regulations. Metrodata Services is PBSA-accredited, and we can help with any of the background screenings you need to conduct on your prospective or current employees. Get in touch with a member of our team to learn more about how we can help.