How to Do a Background Check

So you are wondering how to do a background check.

There are several reasons why you may want to learn how to do a background check, yet the most common is an employer checking on a potential employee.

Preparing for a Background Check

A complete and thorough background check will require evaluating the person’s personal and business background. This can be easily accomplished through the use of personal and business references.

When obtaining references, it is important to document all information and keep it in the employee’s personnel file.  You can obtain references from former employees and personal friends by requesting the information in writing or over the phone.

Thorough Steps on How to Do a Background Check

Beyond checking references, there are a variety of sources you can use to do a comprehensive background check.  For the purposes of this article, we will examine how to do a background check on a potential employee:

  • Check the individual’s education records. An individual’s education can certainly be falsified on a resume or job application. It is therefore important to check the individual’s education records to ensure that he or she is qualified to perform the job duties associated with the position. Although you will have a difficult time getting the details of an individual’s education records, such as their grades, you can usually obtain information from the school’s registrar regarding their dates of attendance and degree earned.

  • Check the individual’s credit report. An individual’s credit report can often indicate an individual’s reliability and responsibility. You can view an individual’s bankruptcies, tax liens, judgments and loans on a credit report. There are, however, very strict federal and state restrictions regarding obtaining an individual’s credit report.

For example, you must provide a disclosure document to the employee, and the employee must sign the document before you can run the credit check. You must also tell the employee if he or she was denied the position because of his or her credit, and you must give the individual a copy of the credit report.

In addition, federal restrictions require that the results of the credit report remain confidential, and that you destroy any papers and computer files which have details of the individual’s credit report.

  • Check the individual’s driving records. Check with the department of motor vehicles in your state for more information on obtaining an individual’s driving records. You can request driving records if the employee will drive any company vehicle. You can check traffic violations, driving-related offensives and confirm an individual’s identification through the use of a driving record check.

  • Check the individual’s criminal records. You can check an individual’s criminal records if he or she must be bonded due to access to money or valuables. Other reasons for performing a criminal record background check include: carrying a weapon, driving a company vehicle, having access to drugs, or being in contact with the public or children.

There are several, legal restrictions under federal and state law regarding criminal record checks, and you should check with your state department for more information.

Learning how to do a background check is the first step to ensuring that your company employs only the most upstanding citizens.   Making sure that all of the background information supports the applicant’s interview information is critical.