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Background Checks

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As the term suggests, background check involves a series of searches to verify the background of a prospective employee. Background checks are generally done by the human resources department. The core purpose of performing a background check is to delve into the history of a potential employee such as his credit soundness, academic records, personal references, and driving record.

How it Works

The potential employee should be made to sign the necessary documents during the interview. This is the first step to get started with background checks. Be careful not to infringe any discrimination and privacy laws. It is also important to limit questions that will help you in background checking. It is illegal to ask for medical or bankruptcy information because it is prohibited to make hiring decisions based on such factors. You can ask for the candidate's employment and academic qualifications. Also, military records can be confirmed without consent. There are thousands of companies who deal with background checks. You can get to know some of these companies by enquiring around or using the Internet. If you are outsourcing background checking, specify the information that you require. Do not forget to check into the references of these companies so that you can be certain that the company you have hired complies with the law.


It is beneficial for a company to run a background check on potential employees. A majority of employers conduct background checks while hiring a new employee. If an employee turns out to be a mentally unsound person, or it if it is proven that he has been booked under moral turpitude, the company may have to face the law. It is wise to conduct a background check on all potential employees to avoid future lawsuits. With a rise in the number of scandals, embezzlement, and fraud cases, background checks have become all the more popular. A company will open itself to negligent-hire lawsuits by recruiting the wrong persons. However, before running any kind of background check, you need to always make sure that you comply with state laws. For instance, some states require a release form signed by the individual before a credit check.


Many organizations hire companies who specialize in background checks. Outsourcing your background checks is advantageous because the background checking company takes the major part of the responsibility for the checks upon itself. This limits the outsourcing company's own legal liability. Make sure that the company you hire for background checking has adequate knowledge of the legal requirements and regulations for background screenings. The cost of background checks range from $20-$100.


A background check is generally not the first stage in the hiring process, and it is advisable not to keep it till the end. Plan a background check on those prospective employees who have passed the initial resume screening and the interview. Once you have verified their history and background, you will have a short-list of candidates ready.

Last Updated: December 21, 2011
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