If you own a business, you have probably wondered if you really need to go through the process of performing a background screening on potential employers.

Many businesses, such as those that work with children, the elderly, and many government agencies, such as banks, are required by law to check the backgrounds of potential employees. But for most employers, it’s a choice.

Businesses of all types and sizes benefit from performing employee background checks. These screenings can help ensure applicants have accurately reported information on their application or resume, are qualified for the job, don’t have issues that may negatively affect job performance, and help ensure an employee isn’t putting their employer, fellow employees and customers at risk.

Read on to learn more about what background checks consist of, the different types of employee screening services, why they are beneficial for any business, when and what positions would most benefit from a pre-employment background check, and where to find a trusted, reputable and affordable employment background check company.

What Are Employee Background Checks?

Employee background checks are a type of identification verification where an employer gathers a variety of information about their job candidates to better understand whether or not an applicant is being honest on their application, is qualified for the job, and to make better decisions about candidates before hiring them.

Employers of all niches and sizes use this business service as part of the hiring decision process. In fact, statistics show 94% of businesses choose to perform background checks on candidates.

It’s often assumed that background checks are performed to only examine a potential employee’s criminal history. That is one layer of an employee background check, but these screenings typically include much more.

An employee background check could include some or all of the following:

  • Identity Verification: Confirms the applicant has provided an accurate name and social security number and has the legal right to work in the country.
  • Criminal History: Performed to see if an applicant is on a sex offender registry or other government watchlist, has ever been convicted of a crime, has any outstanding warrants, is on probation, etc.
  • Motor Vehicle or License Record Checks: Informs you of any involvement in  accidents, citations, DUIs, etc. Typically only performed if you’re hiring for a role that requires driving.
  • Drug or Alcohol Screening Tests: A pre-employment drug or alcohol test determines if a prospective hire uses illegal substances or abuses alcohol or prescription medication.
  • Professional and Personal Reference Checks: Professional reference checks provide insight into a candidate’s work ethic and ability. Personal reference checks typically give you a better idea of someone’s personality and character. An employer typically only contacts references listed on a resume. However, some employers choose to conduct “back-door reference checks,” which is when an employer checks with people not listed as a reference.
  • Education or Certification Verification: This can verify the accuracy of the universities and degrees on the candidate’s resume and is also used to verify any certifications listed. This is most often used when a business hires for a role that requires a government-issued credential.
  • Employment Verifications: Performed to verify an applicant provided an accurate work history.
  • Social Media Checks: This involves reviewing a candidate’s publicly available social media pages to better understand who the candidate is.

If a red flag comes back on any of the screenings mentioned above, it doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t hire a potential employee. For example, many employers consider the nature of a crime or if the job candidate received a criminal conviction. And for many professions, an old speeding ticket probably isn’t a big deal, whereas a DUI might be a deal breaker in some occupations.

What is the Timeframe and Cost of Employee Background Checks?

If you hire a reputable company, employee background screening is fast and affordable. How long it takes to get results from a background check depends on various factors. Typically, it should take two to five business days to get the results of a background check.

The cost to perform a background check also varies but can cost as little as $45. We will tell you how Workforce Essentials can provide timely and affordable background checks for your company a little further down.

Why Are Employee Background Checks Important For Your Business?

Unfortunately, resumes are often filled with lies and half-truths. According to some studies, as many as 80% of resumes make false claims.

If you rely on just the information on an application or resume, you have a high chance of making a decision based on falsehoods.  Employee screenings can protect your business from these false claims.

Background checks can benefit your business in a number of ways, four of the most important being:

  • Verifying the applicant is who they say they are and are legally allowed to work.
  • Confirmation that the candidate is qualified to perform the job. Doing so will help protect your company’s reputation and save your company money.
  • Ensuring the potential employee is not dangerous and of high character. This is one of the best ways to keep your workplace efficient and safe.
  • Pre-employment screening can reduce your company’s liability. Depending on the type of business you own and the job position, you can use the background checks to show you did your due diligence.

To better protect your company, employees and customers, employee background should be part of a savvy employer’s hiring toolkit no matter the type or size of your company.

When Should Your Business Perform An Employee Background Check?

It’s unnecessary to conduct screenings for every application that comes across your desk. This is unnecessary and could get very expensive. You only need to consider a background check once you have deemed a candidate could be a fit for a position and want to offer them the job.

Background checks can be performed before or after a job offer. However, it is typically advised to perform these screenings after a conditional job offer is presented but before employment is finalized.

While some pre-employment screenings are legal, such as checking references, in some instances, it may be illegal to run a full background check if you have not offered your candidate the job.

Laws vary from state to state and change frequently. Always do your homework, consult your business’s legal counsel or hire a credible background check provider to ensure you comply with all applicable laws.

Do You Need To Get Consent Before Performing An Employee Background Check?

Laws aren’t black and white regarding employee background checks; however, it is illegal to conduct a background check without permission in most instances.

Depending on the type of check and local and state laws, it may be legal to run a background check without consent. Still, it’s never worth risking.

If your company has a lawyer, you could consult with them. However, a trusted background check provider can also help ensure you stay compliant with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations when conducting background checks.

Where To Find A Reliable and Cost Effective Company To Do Background Checks

Conducting background checks on potential employees and volunteers should be a part of your organization’s hiring process.

It’s possible to conduct a background check on your own, but it’s time-consuming and carries some risks. It is best to hire a reliable and trusted company to perform these checks for you.

Here at Workforce Essentials, for as little as $45, we can help you screen or verify your potential employees’ backgrounds. We offer fast, accurate, low-cost employee screening and background verification options.

Background checks can be customized to fit your area of interest. We can gather as little or as much background information as you need.

We offer many employer services, but one that makes us unique is that if criminal activity is noted, it is reviewed by legal counsel, and the applicant is contacted by a legal review officer to provide an opportunity to correct errors before the crime is reported back to the employer.

Click here to learn more about what employment screening services we can provide your business. Or call us today if you are ready to get started on letting us help perform background checks for your business.