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What is an Employer Background Check?

Article Details
  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2016
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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An employer background check is an investigative process that allows a potential employer to assess the history and background of an applicant before the hiring process gets underway. Companies that deal with proprietary or sensitive information routinely conduct background checks in order to ensure that all employees meet the ethical and legal standards required to work within the organization. A typical employer background check will include information about credit history, any evidence of a criminal record, employment history, and a general background report.

Looking into the credit history of a potential employee is often considered an essential component of any employer background check. This is often to determine if the potential worker demonstrates a reasonable level of responsibility in managing available resources. The check can also identify if there are any pending garnishments or liens connected with the applicant. Often, these matters do not automatically disqualify the applicant from consideration, unless there was an attempt to hide these issues from the employer.

Along with the credit history, an employer background check will also seek to confirm any history of criminal activity, especially any convictions that may have taken place. Again, the presence of a conviction may not automatically disqualify the potential employee as long as the information regarding the convictions is provided to the company during the application process. However, uncovering evidence of past convictions that is not detailed on the employee application may be grounds for declining to hire the individual.

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The employment history of the applicant is also a basic element of an employer background check. Often, the check will begin by verifying information supplied by the applicant. However, review of other public records may be used to determine if there are any other periods of employment that were not reported on the application. While national laws may limit the amount of information that past employers can provide to a prospective employer, most countries allow verification of information such as the dates of employment, positions held, and whether or not the past employee would be eligible for rehire.

The employer background check may extend to looking into the general background of the potential employee. This often involves following up with personal references supplied by the applicant as well as checking into information about community involvement, opinions of the general character and ethics of the applicant by neighbors and others who have non-work related associations with the applicant, and any other data that is considered a matter of public record. This degree of detail is normally only utilized when the applicant is attempting to secure a position that is considered somewhat sensitive in some manner.

In essence, the employer background check is an effort to check employee information starting with data supplied by the applicant and then making use of other sources of public records to confirm that data. If serious omissions are uncovered and cannot be explained to the satisfaction of the prospective employer, there is a significant chance that the applicant will not be offered employment.

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