The Importance of Background Checks

Most businesses deal with sensitive information at some level. This may range from handling social security numbers, credit card information, driver’s license information, and other types of personal information. In order to assure clients and customers that their information is being handled properly, it is the duty of the business owner to take the necessary step in getting a thorough background check on all employees. Personal and professional references are still a good method, however, they should not be relied upon solely. It should be obvious that prospective employees will give names of those who will give a good reference; background checks pick up where references stop – they will give you accurate and in-depth information regarding the candidate.

Background checks are available to cover a wide variety of areas. Drivers license, character references, personal acquaintances, education records, criminal records, court records, credit records, and much more. It is also important to note that much of this is public information. In addition, employers should understand that according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, some information cannot be used in conjunction with a background check. Bankruptcies after 10 years and many other types of consumer information that is older than 7 years may not be reported. Criminal background, credit reporting, worker’s compensation claims, and character references are just a few among a long list of types of background checks that are widely available. Employers should know the laws in their specific state regarding what information is available for their specific needs.

According to Paul Falcone, author of the book The Hiring and Firing, background checks serve many purposes: to enhance security in the workforce, reduce turnover, minimize the occurrence of employee theft, and leave you with the peace of mind that you have made the right decision in the hiring process. As a business owner, it is imperative to know who is working for you and what their background is. Employers should also include notice of the types of background checks performed, in their pre-employment literature. Most employers do not have the time, resources, or authority to complete such thorough investigations. In order to gain this peace of mind, it is necessary to hire a background investigation firm.

Background Checks tell us that several types of firms conduct background checks. They can range from a company that verifies employment history only, to an online data broker to a private investigator. Though background check prices can vary widely depending on need, the average cost of an intermediate investigation seems to be in the $50 range. Business owners should consider this good practice and an inexpensive form of insurance for their company. Skimping on something as vitally important as a background investigation could possibly cost the company much more in the long run.


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