Defining Background Checks, or “We’re gonna need more coffee for this.”

[Phone rings]
Ann: “Cutting Edge, this is Ann.”
Customer: “I need background checks.”
Ann: “Great! What do you want done?”
Customer, irritated: “I need background checks.”

Pre-employment background checks cover a host of services. Criminal searches come to mind first for many.

But wait.

You might have someone that drives on company time. Better be sure their driver’s license is valid or your company might be the deep pocket if an accident happens.

Education might be important, too, if you’re hiring for a position that requires a certain degree. It can be hugely embarrassing for example, Scott Thompson, former CEO of Yahoo! falsely claimed a Bachelor’s Degree in accounting and computer science from Stonehill College but his degree was in accounting only. Could be a big deal for a company like Yahoo!

Why didn’t anyone check?

What about sex offender registries? Terrorist watch lists? Employment verifications? OIG? FACIS? And the simple criminal our customer wants done? Is that at the local and district level or do you want the federal courts searched, too? Instant databases are a great tool, also, for about $5.00/a pop.

And now you’re up to your. . .rear end in alligators and you just wanted to drain the swamp. YOUR swamp.

Just today I had a client email me that she had an applicant that needed a background check and she wanted us to do “education, criminals, and everything.” Everything, huh?

(Rolls up sleeves and prepares invoice. Stops. Calls client to determine what “everything” is).

Pre-employment verifications can include:

  • SSN Trace (this gives address and associated names, will often tell us where and when the SSN was issued).
  • Criminal searches (at the municipal, magistrate, metropolitan, Superior and District level courts)
  • Federal court searches (the Feds have jurisdiction over things that the “regular” courts do not).
  • Sex Offender registry searches
  • Employment verifications
  • Education verifications
  • Driving records
  • Credit checks
  • Agency searches (we search agencies like OFAC, OIG, etc. for disbarment, etc.)
  • Instant criminal databases (a great tool, but NOT a stand-alone search option)

My point is, you need to know if the background checks being run on your prospective employees actually cover what you need to know. The one-size fits-all “background check” may not be right for you.

Don’t fall into a false sense of security about your drivers because you think the criminal report will tell if there are problems. It might, but it also won’t tell you if that driver’s license is suspended for failure to pay child support, or if it has simply expired.

On the other hand, is it necessary to verify education on your entry level fast food crew members? Do you need to know what their previous employment experience is?

Contact us for more information on what background checks may be valuable to you.

Check out the next installment of the Background Chronicles when we explore the advantages and pitfalls of instant criminal databases.