When considering an applicant for employment, employers must be cautious as to who they hire. Cautious not only with regards for the safety of the personnel within the company, but one must prove to be a potential beneficial asset. To obtain the appropriate information and assist in making the best decision for the company, employers conduct background checks for each qualified applicant.

This includes: credit rating, criminal records, work history, and driving record. Each person normally posses’ basic ethical attributes such as honesty and integrity. Background checks ensure and prove one’s ethical level based on his or her responses on an application. All checks are performed to ensure the best fit for the job is attained. Companies also try to avoid any legal liabilities or incidences if it can be prevented beforehand. All information, no matter how minuscule it might be is weighed equally. The employer must seek the most appropriate applicant to better further his or her company with the least amount of resistance.

1. Who conducts the background checks?

Depending on the company and the sought position, some level of security clearance or sensitive information might require the background check. These agencies will use their own governmental databases that the public doesn’t usually have access to. These background checks are done by governmental agencies for small fee. For regular background checks, a private company may be hired by the employer to conduct the checks. The pricing depends on the company selected. Within the recent years a lot of legwork has been lifted from these checks by visiting each local department to conducting check through online companies.

2. How much does it cost?

In efforts to save time and man power, most companies use a form of computer databases to conduct searches. An all-in-one information packet is more cost beneficial. Here are some of the most widely used online companies and coinciding pricing information:

US Search- $39.95-$295.95
Background Searcher- $19.95
Gov. Registry- $39.95

3. What information is searched, and where is it found?

All information searched is publicly available within the bounds of state and federal laws. Personal identifying information is collected through the appropriate state’s vital records: birth certificates, marriage and divorce records. Driving records are obtained through the state’s department of transportation. Criminal checks are obtained through court records such as arrest records and lawsuits. Credit reports are obtained through three credit agencies: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. Work history is searched through manual follow-up by an active employee by contacting an applicant’s listed previous employers.

4. How long does it take?

Essentially as long as the background checks are done online, the information is usually readily available within minutes.

If there is any follow up needed or actual legwork to be done such as contacting previous employers and references, this process can take up to a week.

5. How is this information used to determine an applicant’s fit for a position beyond qualifications, and why?

When considering a qualified applicant for employment, all found information comes into play. When conducting identification checks, an employer looks for citizenship or legal residency, as well as to make sure there isn’t any form of identity theft.

Depending on the position sought, one’s driving record may carry a significant weight. For example: If an applicant is applying for a courier position, a driving record free of accidents, moving violations, and DWI’s may be more apt to securing the driving position than an applicant with said violations are on one’s record.

Credit history shows an applicant’s level of financial responsibility. One’s level of responsibility most likely does not shift from of aspect to the nest. For instance: If a person’s financial responsibility is low and is reelected by a poor credit score, one might not be a responsible or prompt employee. Lack of effort and care may be and all-around issue. Also when applying to financial institutions, they must eliminate the risk of a financially desperate employee to eliminate any possible internal frauds and embezzlement.

Criminal records hold a substantial weight. Employers are going to avoid trouble makers. A history of family violence and assault shows an employer that the applicant cannot get along with other people, and does not handle pressure or differences gracefully. Most companies have a zero tolerance policy.

Work history is weighed and can tell an employer about the applicant’s work ethic. The length of time one holds a job, reasons for laps in work history, and reasons for leaving the previous workplaces. In order to hire serious employees and keep a low turnover rate, employers will take this information into regards.