HR & People | 5Min Read

7 Best Practices for Pre-Employment Background Checks

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What Have We Covered?

Hiring the right talent is a great investment for the business. Hence, in order to know if a candidate is right for the organization, background check and reference check processes occur. If you are also conducting the hiring process and need to learn about the pre-employment background check methodology, then complete this blog. Learn what a pre-employment background check is, why it is essential and what the best practice for it is.

Whenever businesses hold the recruitment process, their only purpose is to hire a great employee who stays with them for a long period and will add some imperative values to the organization.

Unfortunately, some of the new hires turn into bad hires. These bad hires cost a lot to the company in terms of money, time and other resources.

A pre-employment background check is one of the best ways to avoid bad hiring. Through a pre-employment background check, companies can easily reveal the hidden detail or the information that the candidate is trying to lock up.

Hiring Right Talent

What is a Background Check?

Employers bear a candidate's background check to confirm the information provided in the application and resume and to disclose potential issues. Therefore, a background check permits employers to explore various aspects of candidates, such as checking criminal records, employee history, and other past activities to confirm their validity. The only purpose of a background check is to make the best hiring decision.

What are the Common Types of Background Check?

1. Employment background checks

2. Criminal background checks

3. Universal background checks

4. OIG background checks

5. E-verify background checks

6. Fingerprint background checks

7. International background checks

8. Credit background checks

9. Personal background checks

10. Professional license background checks

Background Check

Why are Pre-Employment Background Checks Important?

Employers who fail to investigate the background of a candidate generally afford the view of an unsatisfied hiring decision, especially for risk-sensitive positions. 

The pre-employment background check takes place for various crucial reasons, but the common reason is to uncover real information. Let's talk about other reasons that encourage employers to perform pre-employment background checks.

  • To supply the best and safe workplace for employees and customers.

  • Help employers hire the right candidate who contributes toward the growth of the business instead of destroying it.

  • To decrease exposure from employee responsibility by functioning "due diligence" in the hiring process.

  • In order to appreciate the loyalty and honesty of the candidate during the recruitment process.

  • To teach a lesson to the candidates with hidden information or dishonesty.

  • Remove the uncertainty from the hiring process.

  • Protect the reputation of the business.

Pre-Employment Background

To prevent this, the majority of employers background check every new employee before they're hired. Those who do background checks are analyzing these aspects:(Source)


  • Criminal background: 82% 

  • Confirm employment: 62%

  • Confirm identity: 60% 

  • Confirm education: 50% 

  • Check for illegal drug use: 44% 

  • Check to license: 38%

  • Credit check: 29% 

7 Best Practices for Pre-Employment Background Checks

Pre-employment background checks are a critical component of the hiring process. Job applicants must be screened extensively to determine if they are the best fit for the job, and conducting background checks is the best way to do that.

What every employer must remember when it comes to doing a background check on a potential hire is the fact that it must be conducted judiciously. Otherwise, the company risks liability for hiring discrimination, privacy violation, and more.

Here are the best practices all employers must follow to avoid any unwanted problems or legal issues:

1. Research your state and federal laws

State and federal laws govern the practice of conducting background checks on job applicants. Make sure that your process entirely complies with these laws to ensure that you and your company are free from any liability.

If you are working with a third-party background check provider instead of performing your own checks in-house, you are required to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

2. Obtain written permission from applicants

The FCRA requires employers to notify and obtain written permission from potential hires prior to conducting background checks. In addition, employers are also required to inform the applicant that the information that shall be obtained through the search may be used to make hiring decisions.

3. Define the scope of the background check

Prior to conducting a background check, it is essential to be specific about what you are looking for. It can be costly and time-consuming to perform a full background check, so it is important to identify what information you need to help you make an informed hiring decision.

Outline the important details that you will need, such as the applicant's work history, educational background, criminal records, credit report, any type of driving license such as a category AM license, and more.

Also, according to the FCRA, applicants must be informed of their right to a complete description of the nature and scope of the background check if it is an "investigative report," which is a very detailed background check that includes information about a more personal nature that scrutinizes the applicant's character, general reputation, and overall lifestyle.

4. Consistent screening process

The screening process must be consistent with everyone. Requiring background checks for some applicants while not requiring them for others is a surefire way to open your company up to the legal implications of discrimination, especially if your basis for requiring the background check on certain applicants has anything to do with race, gender, religion, disability, age preference.

To avoid breaking any federal non-discrimination laws, always treat job applicants fairly and equally by subjecting them to the same screening process.

You may scale background searches according to the position available, as some positions may pose a higher risk to your company and therefore require a more extensive background search.


5. Give them a chance to clarify their consequences

If the background search yields any negative information that may cause you to reject the applicant, give him a chance to explain or clarify before you make a final decision. This will help protect your company from liability, as making an adverse hiring decision based on the background search without discussing it with the applicant can have negative consequences. 

As comprehensive as a background search may be, it may still have its limitations in terms of telling the whole story.

6. Check applicant's criminal background

Most employers are generally predisposed to reject job applicants with criminal backgrounds, but this should not be the case. Adopting a blanket policy that bans all applicants with criminal records from gaining employment can be harmful to your company, as it can lead to charges of unlawful discrimination. It is best practice to conduct a do a legal criminal background check via third party.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the employer must be able to show that its decision to reject applicants based on their criminal history is "job-related and consistent with business necessity." This is further explained in the EEOC's Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII: "To establish that a criminal conduct exclusion that has a disparate impact is job-related and consistent with business necessity under Title VII, the employer needs to show that the policy operates to effectively link specific criminal conduct, and its dangers, with the risks inherent in the duties of a particular position."

7. Compatible background checks 

Some companies opt to perform background checks in-house, but most prefer outsourcing to third-party providers that conduct investigations and compile comprehensive background reports.

If you choose to do the latter, work with a reputable background check software provider to ensure that each report contains relevant, accurate, and verified information. Also, it is critical that your chosen provider is FCRA compliant. 

When conducting a pre-employment background check on a job applicant, ensure that every action and decision you make complies with all applicable laws and regulations. Follow best practices and stay informed regarding relevant legislation to ensure that you and your company are safe from any possible legal problems or implications.

Final Thought about Pre-Employment Background Checks     

The search on candidates' past activities goes a long way to predicting their future behaviour. The pre-employment background checks work to build trust and safety with prospective employees. Consequently, pre-employment background checks protect your overall business.                     

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