What is a Background Check?
The background check process is a method employed by an organization or an individual that helps to ensure that a person is who they claim to be. It also provides information about a person’s criminal record, educational history, job experiences, and other past activities. Background checks’ occurrence, purpose, and legitimacy vary depending on the country, industry, and individual. A range of methods is used to perform background checks, including personal references and comprehensive database searches.
The Most Common Purposes for Background Checks
Employers will often request a background check on job candidates, especially if the job they are applying for is a position that involves high-security components or requires a high level of trust. For example, positions that deal with personal information, such as in a courthouse or hospital.
A government agency usually administers these checks. However, they can also be administered by private companies. They typically consist of a verification of employment history, credit history, and criminal history.
Additionally, employers may use these background checks to judge a candidate’s past mistakes and character to determine whether the candidate is the right fit for the position and ensure that they won’t post a safety or security risk to other employees.
Purchasing a Firearm
The Brady Bill in the United States requires a criminal records check on anyone who wants to purchase a handgun from a licensed firearm dealer. Additionally, purchasing restricted firearms, explosives, suppressors, concealed weapons permits, or the purchase of large quantities of precursor chemicals require a criminal records check.
Approval for a Rental
Landlords may request a background check before accepting an applicant as a tenant. The goal is to determine whether a prospective tenant will be responsible for the property and can be relied on to pay their rent on time. In general, a rental background check will look at a person’s credit history, criminal record, and employment history.
Levels of Background Checks
All background checks are not created equal. The information you want to learn will determine what level of background check you need to perform.
The Level 1 background check is a name-based check that covers one jurisdiction. In general, this will be where the individual lives. It can also include a verification of the person’s employment history.
The purpose of conducting a Level 2 background check is to disqualify persons based on their criminal history. This check is usually done on the state and national level and is typically performed when an employee holds a position of responsibility.
The most common type of background check is Level 3. This check consists of screening a person’s educational background, criminal history, previous employment record, and a reference check. Additionally, some Level 3 background checks may include the results of pre-employment drug testing, if requested. Employers generally use a Level 3 check to ensure that they hire the right person and that this person won’t bring foreseeable trouble to the workplace.
A Level 4 background check is reserved for executive-level positions. They are similar to the Level 3 check, but they also include a search for national bankruptcy and a media search.
Red Flags on Level 3 Background Checks
When conducting a Level 3 background check, it’s essential to be cognizant of things that may indicate that a person is unqualified for the position they’re applying for.
A criminal records check may be the most important component of any background screening. However, having a criminal history shouldn’t necessarily preclude you from hiring someone. You need to consider the context of anything that comes up in a criminal background check. For example, arrests aren’t necessarily convictions, and ancient or minor incidents may simply be a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Therefore, although a criminal history might not be a deal-breaker, if your candidate lies about it, you should think twice about hiring them.
A person’s references will help you learn about their character and work ethic. However, it’s important to remember that bad reviews can come from personal issues, misunderstandings, or other situations that were beyond the candidate’s control. However, if you speak to multiple references and the same negative things keep coming up, this is a potential sign that the candidate isn’t the right fit for the job and work environment.