Background-checks-not created-equal

Not All Background Checks Are Created Equal

In our last post we discussed the basics of background checks. Social security traces, criminal records searches, employment/education verifications, MVRs & drug screens are components of a successful background check program. However, it’s even more important to take into account the positions you’re trying to fill when creating your program. You’ll want to think about the information you need to know about this individual before hiring them. Running searches that would have no bearing on the position they’re applying for is a waste of money. And not investigating aspects of their past that would affect the role they would be fulfilling in your company could be seen as negligent. For instance, you would never want an applicant who has an expired driver’s license and multiple DWIs to be driving your clients around, or driving a company vehicle. So, in this instance, including an MVR (Motor Vehicle Report, i.e. driving record) when running their background would be imperative. By conducting role-specific screenings you will ensure your background check program is effective. Let’s take a look at some examples!   

Receptionist – This type of position would most likely require a “lighter” background check, depending on their duties. Answering phones, greeting clients and the like would usually include a Social Security Trace, Criminal Search and Pre-Employment Verification. And if required for the position, an Education Verification.

Volunteer – Most organizations may opt to only run a basic Social Security Trace and Criminal Check, if they a run a background check at all! However, volunteers are often working with vulnerable populations like the elderly, disabled, children or animals. This means running not only criminal checks, but also running volunteers through a sex offender check. Drug screening might also be a good idea. Organizations who have unpaid workers interacting with unprotected communities are often targeted by predators due to ease of access and lax screening procedures. It’s important to protect the people you’re helping!  

CFO, Accountant or Finance Professional – The basic searches are just the beginning here, including a Social Security Trace, Employment/Education Verification and Criminal Searches (including Federal which would reveal charges like money laundering, fraud etc.). In the case of a CFO, it’s also wise to search Civil Records for any lawsuits and bankruptcy records, particularly because this is a corporate officer’s role. Finally, a credit report is usually needed for these sensitive, fiduciary roles. We usually run these and provide our clients with the details, or alternatively a pass/fail determination based on the established criteria.

Executives – A thorough background investigation should always be performed on executives. They often have access to more parts of the company than other positions. In addition to the standard background investigation you need to incorporate Federal and Civil Records searches as well as media. You’ll want to be on the lookout for any pending litigation, conflicts of interest or other concerning business affiliations. A search of federal regulatory records is also beneficial, such as Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement actions, etc.

Board Members – Conducting background investigations on these individuals is extremely important. Although they are not technically employed, they have an influence on decisions that impact your company and reputation. Not performing your due diligence on these individuals poses a needless risk to your organization (we conduct these searches through our Investigative Division and not our Background Screening Division).

These are some examples of role-specific background checks a company might require. An experienced background check provider should be able to help you customize your pre-employment screenings accordingly. Just remember, not all background checks are created equal, so create your screenings based on the specific roles which will also help you avoid discriminatory hiring practices. In our next post, we’ll look at how long it should take to complete a background screening!