Whether you're a company looking to hire an employee or a prospective employee looking to get on with an employer, pre-employement background checks are not just a rarity or nuance of today's hiring market…they are nearly a certainty, especially in corporate America.
While there are many out there who are quite familiar with the ins and outs of pre-employment checks, particularly hiring managers and those working in the field of human resources, for some it's still a semi-mystery. This article will attempt to clarify the basics of employment background checks—both what that entails to the employer and the prospective employee.
Employment Checking for an Employer:
Before computers, someone looking for a job could come to your place of employment, say literally anything they wanted to about their background and experience level and you would generally take what was said at face value.
That's not the case anymore. Today, employers use employment background checks to ascertain certain information that helps them make informed decisions about a prospective employee.
There are several things that are common with most pre-employment back ground checks, like credit and criminal history checks.
A credit check is performed in order to better understand a prospective employee's stability and responsibility. Employers can look at the credit report and see if the prospect pays their bills on time and takes care of outstanding debts. There's really nothing in a credit report that would disqualify an employee during the pre-employment background but a bad one can send up red flags, thus helping sway an employment decision.
Criminal backgrounds checks are perhaps the most vital indicators of a prospective employee's suitability to the company and the job they are being hired to do. Corporations often have guidelines in place barring the hiring of felons, even to the point of using them for outsourced contract work. Running the criminal background check as part of the pre-employment background check helps companies avoid unnecessary risk down the road.
Of course, companies can demand more out of their pre-employment background checkings. Other things that are less common, but not unheard of, for employers to check is professional licenses, prior military service, driver's license checks, Excluded Parties List System check, etc. Some companies even go as far as to implement drug screening and Workers Compensation checks.
Pre Employment Background Check for an Employee:
As a prospective employee, the day and age of Pre Employment Background Check commonality can be seen as either a blessing or a curse.
For those with clean backgrounds are very good things for a couple of reasons:
It can eliminate competition. If you're applying for a job and it comes down to you and perhaps one other for that job, your background when compared to theirs may be a deciding factor in the hiring decision.
It creates a level and honest, playing field for all applicants. Where in the past, someone could embellish their background, a pre employment background check paints a very real picture of who that person is and how they've conducted themselves in the past.
Obviously, these points of work in the opposite direction for those who have checked credit and criminal histories and, if checked enough, could completely bar you from working for the prospective employer.
The Two Halves of Pre-Employment Background Checks