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How To Do Background Checks |

How To Do A Background Check

How to Do a Background Check
Backgrounding employees has become a matter of necessity, since many applicants make false claims on their job applications and resumes or have been involved in criminal activities which they do not disclose. Best Practices help you get the highest return on your investment.

The Best Practices - The key steps to preparing for and conducting employment background checks are:
  1. Establish Policies and Procedures
  2. Prepare for The Background Check
  3. Conduct a Thorough Background Check
  4. Follow Through
Establish Policies and Procedures

  1. Establish a Background Check Policy.
    • Background check all staff, including executives, full-time employees, part-time employees, temps, contractors, and volunteers.
    • Scale background checks based on a position's risk to the company, clients, public, and fellow employees. For example, you may want to conduct different searches for staff, professional & managerial, and executive positions. High risk positions justify more extensive research. Examples of higher risk positions include those who work with children or who have access to customer living quarters and executive & finance positions.
    • Limit access to background check information and files to select staff.
    • Have your Background Check Provider help you with the necessary employer documentation, applicant notifications, and applicant approvals.
    • Obtain legal advice to ensure that background check documents, policies and procedures are in compliance with applicable local, state and federal laws and regulations.
  2. Use a Job Application that requires the applicant to document all employment, education, certification, and other job requirements. Note: The Background Check Notification and Authorization must be a separate document and not part of the application.
    • Provide instructions to the applicant to completely fill out the application.
    • Provide a place for the applicant to sign and certify the accuracy of all information.
    • Provide a place for the applicant to acknowledge the consequences of false information.
  3. Select a reputable background check company (see How to Identify Reputable Background Check Companies).
    • Choose a vendor accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS).
    • Avoid vendors that provide criminal database searches that have not been verified with current court records.
    • Review the vendor's Better Business Bureau listing.

    For more information about employment background check policies see Background Check Guidelines and Sample Policies.
Prepare For The Background Check

  1. Clearly identify the skills and experience needed for the position.
  2. Carefully interview final candidates for each job requirement. This usually requires multiple interviews by several people focusing on experience, technical skills, people skills, communication skills, problem solving ability, etc.
  3. Check professional references of final candidates (usually best done by the hiring manager).
  4. View originals of any supporting documents provided by applicants. Make copies for your files.
  5. Require final applicants to completely fill out and sign the job application, certify accuracy of all information, and acknowledge the consequences of false information.
  6. Provide the applicant required written notifications and obtain applicant's signature on written notification and authorization.
Conduct A Thorough Background Check

  1. The core of a quality background check is the basic background check:
    • Social Security Number Scan
    • County Criminal Record Check
    • Employment Verification
    • Education Verification (especially for professional and management positions).
    For more information about a basic background check see Basic Background Check.
  2. Then, based on your specific situation, other valuable checks may include:
    • Credit Check
    • License Verification
    • Motor Vehicle Report (driving record)
    • Sex Offender Registry Check
    • Workers' Compensation History
    • International Searches

    For more information about a thorough background check see Comprehensive Background Check: The Best Background Check.
Follow Through

  1. Conduct a Health Check as appropriate (cannot be conducted prior to a formal job offer).
  2. Verify Full Name and Social Security Number with the Federal Government via E-Verify or SSNVS programs (normally conducted post-hire).
Related Resources

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