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What are Pre-Employment Background Checks and Why are They Important?

In Hiring Strategy — by Dave Anderson


Hiring a new employee is a big investment for a company. The hope is they’ll be with the organization for a long time and continuously deliver great work that positively impacts the business.

Unfortunately, bad hires happen. The best-case scenario is you quickly realize your mistake and the person moves on before they can do any real harm. The worst cases are they fail to do the job, lower workplace morale, or cause other serious problems for your company. Either way, you’ll have to resolve a difficult situation and go through all the effort of rehiring for the role.

You can lower the chances of making a bad hire by conducting background checks before you make employment offers to candidates. It will reveal any details the person may have hid or been dishonest about during the interview process so your company only invests in honorable people.

What is a Pre-Employment Background Check?

A pre-employment background check is a thorough investigation conducted by employers to gather information about a potential employee. It involves verifying the accuracy of the candidate’s provided information, such as education, employment history, and professional licenses. This process helps employers assess if the applicant meets the requirements for the job and has been truthful in their application.

These checks go beyond just verifying resume details. They may also include criminal record searches, credit checks, drug tests, and reference checks. By examining an individual’s past behavior and qualifications, employers can make more informed decisions regarding their suitability for a particular role.

Employers have various options when it comes to conducting background checks. They can hire third-party screening companies that specialize in gathering comprehensive data on candidates or utilize online databases to access public records. The extent of the check depends on factors such as industry regulations, job responsibilities, and organizational policies.

It’s important to note that pre-employment background checks must comply with relevant laws and regulations governing privacy rights. Candidates should give consent before any investigations are conducted and have the opportunity to review any adverse findings.

Pre-employment background checks provide invaluable insights into an individual’s past experiences and behavior while ensuring transparency during the hiring process. Employers can feel more confident in their decision-making knowing they have thoroughly vetted candidates who align with their company values.

What is covered in a pre-employment background check?

A standard background check uses a person’s name, birthday and social security number to collect a variety of information on them from public and private databases. A respected background check provider can access all relevant sources and generate an easy-to-understand report on the applicant for the employer to review.

In most cases, a pre-employment background check covers the following areas:

    • Identity verification – Confirm the applicant has provided an accurate name and social security number and is a U.S. citizen or has legal right to work in the country.
    • Criminal history – Learn if the applicant has been convicted of a crime, is on probation, has outstanding warrants, or is on a sex offender registry or government watchlist.
    • Employment history – See what companies the applicant was employed with and for how long so you can verify they provided an accurate work history.
    • Education background – Similar to employment history, verify the accuracy of the universities and degrees on the candidate’s resume.
    • Government-issued licenses – Confirm the applicant is licensed for the job, if you’re hiring for a role that requires a government-issued credential (i.e. a CPA license, teaching credential or medical license).
    • Motor vehicle records – Find out if the applicant has been involved in any accidents or received citations, if you’re hiring for a role that requires driving.
  • Credit check – Learn if the applicant is financially responsible. This is especially important if they’ll be managing a budget or will have access to company funds.

A pre-employment background check ensures the candidate is honest and doesn’t have an unscrupulous past. You can expand on a standard report by contacting their previous employers and personal references and possibly reviewing their public social media accounts. The more information you gather, the more confident you’ll be that you’re hiring the right person.

Why are pre-employment background checks important?

It’s obviously important to hire upstanding people but why else are pre-employment background checks important? Let’s explore all the advantages that due diligence on a candidate brings to a hiring company:

  • Verify the candidate is qualified – Some people unfortunately embellish their work history or education when job searching. You could end up hiring someone who is unqualified if you fail to check their background.
  • Perform a character check – Even if someone only slightly exaggerates their background, it’s a sign of dishonesty. Ensure your company only hires high-character people by verifying an applicant’s resume is 100 percent accurate.
  • Keep your workplace safe – The importance of protecting your employees, customers and company as a whole goes without saying. Background checks save you from hiring any dangerous or unsavory individuals.
  • Reduce your company’s liability – Your company can lower insurance costs and avoid unnecessary lawsuits by only hiring people who clear a pre-employment screening.
  • Avoid bad hires – Hiring the wrong person is costly and frustrating. Making the small effort to conduct a background check before you hire someone will prevent major problems from occurring later.

Work with a background check provider like AssureHire

AssureHire is a cutting-edge platform that offers numerous benefits, making it a valuable choice for companies in need of streamlined and efficient hiring processes.

Firstly, by using AssureHire, organizations can save considerable time and effort by automating various stages of the recruitment process, from candidate sourcing to background checks. This automation not only boosts efficiency but also reduces human error and ensures consistency in evaluating candidates.

Secondly, AssureHire’s advanced screening tools and comprehensive background checks provide employers with an added layer of confidence in their hiring decisions, allowing them to make well-informed choices and reduce the risk of potential liabilities.

]Furthermore, AssureHire’s user-friendly interface and customizable features make it adaptable to organizations of all sizes and industries, providing a tailored experience that meets each company’s unique needs. Ultimately, AssureHire simplifies and enhances the hiring process, saving time, reducing risks, and empowering businesses to confidently build high-performing teams.

Learn more about AssureHire or shopping for software for background checks here.

Trakstar Hire is considered the most user friendly hiring software on the market. If you’re ready to take your recruiting and hiring to the next level, request a Trakstar Hire demo today.

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