Key elements of Pre-employment Background Checks
Six common elements of a pre-employment background check
Most employers perform background checks to avoid the liability and potential monetary losses involved with hiring the wrong person. The actual screening package will typically vary based on the role you are hiring for, along with the applicable laws.
While there are common pre-employment background check packages or products offered by many screening providers, there is no "one size fits all" approach. It is always best to review your criteria with a trusted screening partner to identify the most relevant products for your organization and the roles you are hiring for.
To understand the possible options, six common elements of a comprehensive background screening package, are detailed below.
1. Criminal History
Checking criminal history is typically conducted by searching specific jurisdictions for court cases that match the personal identifying information provided by candidates. If a court case is found, there are legal guidelines that background check agencies are required to follow to determine what records would be reported to a potential employer.
The search options for a candidate's criminal history are broad and complex and are typically structured based on job-specific requirements. Options range from Federal and National Criminal Searches to State and County searches. Sex Offender registries are often part of the criteria for review. In addition, civil court cases may be included in a comprehensive search package.
Learn more about the criminal search options.
2. Employment Verifications
Conducting employment verifications involves reaching out to past, and occasionally current employers, to verify basic information such as position title and the duration of employment. This is one of the first steps to ensure that a candidate's past experience qualifies them for the position. Most verifications include confirmation of a few basics:
- Dates of employment
- Position title
- Type of employment (full-time, part-time, temporary)
- Reason for leaving
- Eligibility for rehire
3. Education Verifications
Many positions have some form of education requirement, whether that be a high school diploma or an MBA. Unlike work experience qualifications which can be somewhat ambiguous, verifying education is typically a yes or no answer. It is common for employers to verify just the highest level of completed education.
Education verifications are usually performed by reaching out to the high school, college, or university to confirm the degree was completed, date received, and the type of degree or diploma obtained. While some employers may be interested in additional information like a candidate's Grade Point Average (GPA), these details are not always included when verifying past education. To learn more about education verification, review this blog.
Professional Licenses and Certifications
If a job requires additional qualifications beyond basic education, such as a Microsoft Office certification or an EMT license, you may want to verify this information as well. Licenses and verifications are typically verified by reaching out directly to the issuing organization or institution.
References are not to be confused with employment verifications. While an employment verification is typically performed to verify work history, a reference is usually contacted to build a more detailed picture of the candidate's experience. Reference checks are often very important to employers because they provide a comprehensive look at the candidate, which simply cannot be conveyed through a resume or employment verification alone.
5. Motor Vehicle Report
If the position calls for the employee to operate a vehicle, consider adding a motor vehicle report (MVR) check for possible driving violations or irresponsible behavior such as DUIs. These checks are conducted by running a candidate's license through driving record databases maintained by the state that issued the license.
6. Drug Testing and Health Screenings
Drug testing and health screenings are a common part of the background check process. Depending on the position the screening may only include a basic drug test. A general labor position may also include a physical, while a healthcare position may involve tests for hepatitis and vaccinations. And DOT positions such as CDL drivers, may need DOT-specific drug testing performed.
Building a screening package based on your organization's needsIf your organization is looking for a fresh start and a consultative review of your current screening process, please contact us for a free check-in or learn more about our Small Business Screen Smart program here.