A Short List of the Needs and Purposes of Background Checks

Thu, February 24th, 2011 - 5:06 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Employment screening is varied and depending on the types of searches will return different specific information.

The criminal search, especially the county criminal search,  will define a candidate’s criminal past.  While it varies from employer to employer and the type of position under consideration, suffice it to say that with most employers a violent criminal history will give them pause.  Major concern is how it impacts clients and also how it may affect other staff members.  Those with violent criminal records or serious criminal records, if they commit acts of violence in the workplace, leave the employer open to liability concerns as well as public embarrassment and the knowledge that someone was injured in the workplace.

There is also the issue of employee theft and corporate espionage that is on the increase.  Criminal records do not necessarily define a propensity for employee theft, but they may assist in determining the more proficient candidate, especially at a time when employers can select from a rather deep pool of candidates.

With criminal records, we retrieve felonies and misdemeanors.   You cannot list or consider arrest records.  You may not consider certain cases that are dated or less severe, and this is not only in accordance with the FCRA but with varying state codes.

County Criminal searches are the most accurate because they are pulled by hand from the county courthouse.

Federal Criminal Searches are used primarily for financial malfeasance and white collar crimes.  They are also part of the mandate for background checks that must be conducted by federal contractors in order to be compliant.

Credit Reports are again used by federal contractors to vet candidates for compliance purposes.   Credit reports are also used for those in the financial area to determine fiscal responsibility.  There are restraints on credit reports in different states and in general terms they should be conducted where the credit report has direct relevant to the job.  Financial and contract compliant being the two I noted.

Education verification will provide testament that the candidate is not lying and fulfilled the education necessary for certain skill sets.   It also serves to assure clients that the employee is prepared to service them and is both compliant and fluent in whatever discipline related to his or her education.

Employment verification, does just that, verifies that the candidate actually worked where he or she claimed.

The Social Security Trace will verify the candidate’s social security and provide the residential history upon which the criminal searches are conducted.

Federal Civil Searches will tell of any lawsuits.  Sometimes a  financial malfeasance case does not meet the criterion for criminal case and it then becomes a civil lawsuit in the federal courts.  This, again, usually concerns white collar issues.

County Civil Cases concern lawsuits on the local or county level.

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