How To Conduct An Employee Background Check

Employees are the driving force behind businesses and the services they offer. This also entails that employees represent the business, particularly when they deal with clients or customers. It is vital to the overall well-being and success of any business to make sure that their employees are reliable, responsible, and honest. For these reasons, background verification or employment screening is part of any job application process. Doing an employee background check is crucial to making sure that the company was diligent in hiring people. Read on to find out how to do an employee background check.

  1. The application. The first step in screening potential employees begins with an employment application. It is important that the application be signed by the prospective employee and that a Release of Information Statement should be attached. The signed release gives the employer the rights to access employment, medical, police, court, and criminal records. Otherwise, it will be difficult for the employer to verify the information on the application, as well as other statements made during the interview.
  2. Verify information on the employment application. One of the most important things to check is the accuracy of the applicant's educational background, especially if the position calls for a specialized professional. If the applicant graduated from university, standard practice is to request an official sealed transcript from their undergraduate university. It is also crucial to verify information from previous employers regarding the period of employment, job responsibilities, skill sets, productivity, and integrity of the applicant. Normally, the previous employer is contacted only when the applicant gives his or her permission. All references given in the CV must be contacted. But given that the applicant will only include people who will provide favorable feedback, it is important to get a balanced review by speaking to former supervisors, if possible. 
  3. Check background records. After making the verifications and interviews mentioned above, you will need to do a check on the background records. This is particularly important if any doubts about the applicant's character or achievements have been raised during the previous step. Here are some of the records you should obtain:
  • Professional Licenses. If the applicant's occupation requires a license or certification from a board, inquire to the appropriate licensing agency regarding the status of the applicant's license.
  • Military records.  Ask for form DD-215 if the applicant was listed in the military. This form will detail the period of military service as well as type of discharge given.
  • Worker's compensation. It is important for you to check if the prospective employee's previous employment history has any records of injuries or accidents, especially if the job will require physical tasks.
  • National Criminal Search. This is particularly important if the applicant's job entails working with children, the elderly, access to homes, or any job that will require peace of mind. A National Criminal Search will give any information on any charges that may have been made on the applicant.
  • Court Records. These are made available to the public in county, state, or federal levels.


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