Employee Background Checks; Are They Beneficial?

Employers are being held liable for the actions of their employees and volunteers; and in turn, more companies are conducting background checks as part of their hiring process. The screening process is no longer just for sensitive or high-level positions. We have answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about background checks.


Why Conduct Background Checks?

            Looking into a job applicant can reveal false information on a resume, past violent or dishonest behavior and safety or security risks. Background checks are used to screen volunteers, business partners, board members and coaches.


What Are The Common Types Of Background Checks?

  • Criminal Record Check – Looking into the criminal history of an applicant is important. To check the applicant’s criminal record you can contact your county sheriff’s department, court clerk’s office, Department of Public Safety and State Bureau of Investigation; and it may be beneficial to use a third-party vendor. Remember that a number of states and municipalities ban questions about criminal convictions on the initial employment applications.
  • Credit Report Check – This kind of check will examine the financial history of an applicant to determine if there are irregularities in bill payment or rent history. This may reflect on the responsibility of the individual. Rules for credit checks are defined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). When a credit report check results in an adverse action, such as a decision to not hire or promote an employee, the FCRA requires certain disclosures from the employer both before and after the adverse action occurs.
  • Education Records Check – Education background checks are important to screen out applicants who have inflated their qualifications and to protect against fraud, such as receiving a diploma from a verified “diploma mill.” The Society for Human Resource Management recommends that you should use a trusted background screening company or verify education credentials only through direct contact with the school.
  • Department of Motor Vehicles – If you are hiring an employee or volunteer who will be driving on behalf of your company, always perform a motor vehicle check to check for past moving violations. An online database called the National Driver Register, will show you drivers who have had their licenses suspended or revoked, or if they have been convicted of serious traffic violations. Frimark/Keller & Associates will run MVRs for our business clients who are looking to hire new drivers.

Are There Other Types Of Background Checks Available To Employers?

            Other types of background checks you should consider depending on the type of job and industry you work include: Vehicle registration; Property ownership; Social Security number verification; Military records; State licensing records; Court records, Bankruptcy; Drug testing records; Medical records; Worker’s compensation claims history; Past employers; Personal references; Character references; Incarcerations references; Sex offender lists; and Arrest records.

Who Should Be Checked?

Many organizations choose to perform background checks on all of their employees. This makes the hiring process more consistent and provides an additional resource to managers who make the decision to hire. Organizations should conduct background checks on applicants who:

            -Work with children, the elderly or disabled

            -Work with money

            -Have access to customers’ financial information

            -Work inside private homes

            -Provide transportation for others

            -Work in security positions

Are There Regulations For Conducting Background Checks?

There are state and federal regulations governed for background checks. These laws require that employers obtain the applicant’s consent before any kind of check. This consent form must be separate from all other applications or paperwork. You will need a separate consent form for a medical record check. Investigative consumer reports, which include interviews of friends, associates or neighbors, the consent can be a separate form or made part of the credit check consent form.

Background checks should be conducted by a qualified, licensed third-party vendor. Do your research to make sure your screen is reputable and follows all reporting guidelines and legal compliance. Rules and regulations for background checks vary by industry and location, consulting legal counsel before integrating this tool into your hiring process.

Where To Go For Additional Information?
You can find more information on these websites:
Federal Trade Commission
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
National Association of Professional Background Screeners

Frimark/Keller & Associates is a full serviced Trusted Choice Insurance Agency. We have protected the residents and businesses of Schaumburg and Park Ridge since 1910. We offer a full array of personal insurance, business insurance and life insurance products. Call us for free quote today at 847-907-4520.


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