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Why Will an Employer Conduct a Background Check?

Human resources managers conduct background checks for a variety of reasons, from protecting the company from negligent hiring practices to ensuring employees are telling the truth about their past.

Federal and state laws require that background checks be conducted for certain jobs. Most states require criminal background checks for anyone who works with children, the elderly or disabled. Many state and federal government jobs require a background check and an extensive investigation for security clearance.

Companies conduct background checks to avoid turnover and workplace violence and by pre-screening they save time and money, avoid negligent hiring lawsuits, detect falsified applications and provide a safer working environment.

There is special consideration for anyone working with children, due to frequent cases of child abuse. Almost every state now requires criminal background checks for anyone working with children, including volunteers who serve as coaches for youth sports activities and scout troop leaders.

Employers also conduct background checks to ascertain candidates are telling the truth. Over 40 percent of resumes contain false or tweaked information, so employers want to insure the employee actually graduated from the college they indicate and worked for the companies they list on their resumes.

Employers conduct criminal background checks because if employees come into direct contact with customers and cause harm to them, the company will be liable if the employee has a criminal record.

Companies that perform background checks check frequently check for the following information:

  • Review of work history – The applicant will be asked to provide pay stubs to confirm the length of employment and salaries at previous jobs.
  • Verification of Social Security information – Federal databases are used to verify the candidate is providing accurate information and has a legal right to work in the United States.
  • Criminal background check – Local criminal records and those in areas where the applicant has lived in the past reveal information about the applicant's criminal background.
  • Confirmation of education – Schools and universities listed on the applicant's resume will be contacted to verify the applicant's attendance, degree, and graduation year.
  • Review of driving record – Motor vehicle data is provided for candidates applying for jobs that require driving.

Look online for investigation companies that provide background check information based on state and national records that will help your company make the right decision about job candidates. The best companies belong to the National Association of Professional Background Screeners and employ researchers trained in all phases of pre-employment background screening.

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