The 6 Employee Background Checks To Know

It’s your job as HR manager to protect the company from potentially dangerous employees, and for many, that means conducting a background check.

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Growing small businesses often run into the same problem. At a certain point your small, tight-knit team expands to a point where hiring happens rapidly. Sometimes checking references just doesn’t cut it. That might mean that you have to start using background checks for the first time.

Whether you’re growing at a rapid rate (congrats!) or you’re implementing new recurring processes, here are 6 types of background checks to become familiar with. You might assume there’s just one standard kind of background check, but you’d be wrong.

What is an employee background check?

Much like the name implies, employee background checks are a process that an employer conducts most commonly to ensure that a candidate or new hire is who they say they are, or to ensure that their employees are still in good standing with the law.

In order to run a background check is a candidate or an employee’s full legal name, their Social Security number, and a list of their current and former addresses. There are a number of providers like Checkr that offer these services.

Employment background checks

These are the most common background checks that employers conduct. They’re usually run on candidates who are applying for or being hired for a new job. There are many services out there. They run standard checks, looking at employment history to credit, criminal records, and more.

E-verify background checks

These are used similarly to the I-9 form that the IRS requires new hires to fill out. The e-verify process checks that a person is legally authorized to work in the United States by cross referencing a candidate’s information with the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security’s records.

Credit background checks

As the name suggests, there are specific background checks that just check an employee’s credit history. Credit checks are more common for applicants and employees who work in positions that require the handling of large amounts of money on behalf of either a company or its clients. Some employers think that a history of foreclosures or liens can signal responsibility, so credit checks are often used to glean behavioral information like this as well.

Criminal background checks

Employers can generally run background checks on their employees at any time they deem necessary. Some employers opt to conduct drug and criminal history checks to ensure a safe work environment for all on something like an annual or bi-annual basis. These types of checks look into things like sex offender registries, county criminal courts, state criminal records, and more. They generally go back seven years, but it varies by state.

Fingerprint background check

A fingerprint background check is something of a step above a regular criminal one. Rather than matching names and addresses to local, county, and state criminal records, this uses fingerprints to match a person with their history. Considered to be more robust, many jobs that involve interacting with children, elderly people, or other vulnerable populations often opt for this type of check.

These are often conducted by having an employee or candidate go to a government agency or police department that is capable of and responsible for conducting background checks of this caliber.

Federal background checks

Most criminal background checks will only reach through state-level offenses. If you want to search a candidate or employee’s background across the nation for federal offenses, the FBI’s identity history check (essentially a federal criminal history) is in order. This also uses fingerprints as the method for matching a person to their history.

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