The Value of Background Checks on Candidates for Employers

September 6, 2015 Zuman

Background checkA background check can find all sorts of important information about a potential hire.

Background checks can play a large role in ensuring a business’s culture remains strong and intact. By investigating all parts of a potential employee’s past, HR can learn what type of worker he or she is, and if there is anything that would concern the company about bringing that person on board.

HR commonly reviews a candidate’s previous employment, but a background check can go further in-depth, looking at criminal history, drug test results, credit scores and other information a business may find important when determining who to add to the workplace environment.

Several services offer background checks, but they are not identical. Different companies have their own unique ways about gathering information, with some being more detailed than others, CNN explained. When HR creates its strategy for filling positions and adding new employees, the department should also discuss a plan  to utilize background checks in its recruiting and hiring process.

A matter of security
It is not uncommon for a job candidate to embellish an aspect of a resume or cover up part of his or her past to secure a job. A CareerBuilder survey of hiring managers stated that 58 percent had found some type of lie on a resume.

Calling references to confirm a candidate’s skill set and responsibilities are common ways to check how well a resume aligns with the truth. A background check takes that idea and digs deeper, ensuring there is no other part of the potential employee’s history that could have a negative impact on a business. Candidates must agree to a background check before one can take place, through a red flag may arise if a person doesn’t give consent, as that signals the person is hiding something.

Lester Rosen, CEO of background check company Employee Screening Services, told Business News Daily that a business cannot afford to be lackadaisical with its hiring. A new employee who hasn’t been thoroughly researched is essentially an unknown. That could lead to major problems for a business if the person has a history of issues that could reappear.

“That stranger has access to your customers, your cash, your IT — everything,” Rosen said.

By allowing someone into the office that passed the interview stage but hasn’t been closely research, a company is taking the same risk it would by opening its doors and letting any stranger off the street inside, just because they dressed nice and answered some questions.

Not every infraction is seen in the same light — a candidate saying he or she graduated from college with honors when the applicant actually didn’t is different than a somebody failing to mention he or she has been arrested twice for DUI. A background check not only reviews for honesty, but also trustworthiness. Reviewing a candidate’s past allows HR staff to determine how well they really know the person and if they can work past the indiscretions they have found in the screening process.

HR staff members should have a plan in place to review background check information to know how they will proceed in case something is found out about a candidate.

A background check plan

There are two primary types of background check services: online businesses and background check firms. A review by Business News Daily found that online services are cheap and quick, allowing an HR department to learn with one click of a button if the job candidate has a criminal record or any legal issues. Firms take longer and are expensive but gather more information, including verification of employment and education.

The type of check a business utilizes depends on a variety of factors, such as budget for the search process and the position the new hire will fill.

Whichever option a business chooses, informing the job candidate of what it finds is important, Forbes recommended. Talking with the person helps clean up any confusion, bringing context to the situation. An HR department doesn’t have to give a person the chance to defend him or herself, but doing so could allow the company to gain a stronger understanding of what it found. Additionally, background checks do occasionally make mistakes, so reviewing findings can help clear that up.

By understanding what it’s searching for through a background check and how to go about verifying information, an HR department can improve its hiring practices to ensure the best qualified candidates gain employment.

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