Background Check

Background checks can help people in all sorts of scenarios get the protection they need.

Run a BackGround Check


Seeing as background checks can reveal a lot of sensitive information, it’s crucial to understand how background checks work and what you can do with the information they reveal.

Keep in mind that there are different types of background checks, from criminal checks to motor vehicle records checks. Each type reveals a different set of information.

So, before you run a background check, you should read the following.

What Is a Background Check?

Background checks are basically a means of analyzing an individual’s record and character. Most background checks are conducted by employers to help pinpoint potential hires.

Depending on the organization or industry, employers may choose to run different types of background checks. This ensures that the subject’s professional viability is up to standard and that they’re a good fit for the given workplace.

What Are the Types of Background Checks?

Different background checks are concerned with different aspects of a subject’s past. On that account, here are the most common types of background checks:

Pre-Employment Background Check

As the name suggests, pre-employment background checks are usually conducted by employers to reveal basic information about a candidate, from their identity and address to their education and employment history. 

According to most jurisdictions, previous salaries aren’t revealed in pre-employment background checks. This type of background check is mainly concerned with dates of employment and job titles.

You must be wondering, “How far back does a pre-employment background check go?”

Most commonly, pre-employment background checks will go back as far as 5 years, though some might only go back as far as the subject’s current employer.

In addition to the subject’s work history, an employment background check will highlight their degrees and certificates. The information is usually sourced from the National Student Clearinghouse.

Criminal Record Background Check

Criminal background checks help reveal a subject’s criminal history by pulling information from local, statewide, national and federal records. The purpose of background checks is to help employers find candidates that they feel comfortable hiring.

Criminal background checks reveal all sorts of information, from convictions and misdemeanors to the subject’s presence on sex offender registries.

On top of that, they reveal the subject’s presence on terrorist watchlists, though such information isn’t always guaranteed to show up on a criminal background check. It’s not like those who are on a terrorist watchlist would casually apply for a job and expect things to go smoothly.

Employers can go the extra mile with their criminal background checks by opting for international screening. This is especially recommended if we’re talking about an international company.

Driving Record Check

Driving record checks, also known as motor vehicle record checks, are mostly concerned with a subject’s driving history. This type of background check reveals information such as license status, date of license issuance and expiration, and driving restrictions.

Driving record checks also reveal special licenses and driving endorsements. On top of that, they reveal vehicular crimes, violations, suspensions, and license points. Anything driving-related shows up on this type of background check.

Credit History Check

Credit history checks—not to be confused with credit rating checks that are conducted by banks—are sometimes included in the pre-employment vetting process, especially if the subject is applying for a position in a banking, financial advising, or stock trading organization.

The purpose of a credit history check is to highlight the subject’s financial responsibility and how they manage money. If the subject has a poor credit history, the employer might feel hesitant about hiring them.

Running a credit record check requires the subject’s name, social security number, and birth date. It reveals details such as credit limits, current balances, average monthly payments, available credit, past due accounts, tax liens, and bankruptcies.

Do Background Checks Require Authorization?

Absolutely! Employers cannot conduct background checks with the aid of a third party without notifying their candidates and getting their written authorization.

On the other hand, if the employer is making a personal inquiry without the help of a third party, they don’t need the candidate’s consent for it to be legal.

In other words, an employer can reach out to the candidate’s previous employer and inquire about their work history without consent. However, consent is needed if they were to resort to a third party (screening company).

Another thing that’s worth noting is that in the event of application rejection due to a third party’s background check report, the employer has to send an adverse action notice to the rejected candidate.

The adverse action disclosure should include a copy of the report, the screening company’s contact information, and information about your rights with regard to this matter so that you can dispute it if you wish.

What Do Employers Look For?

The vast majority of employers are looking to verify basic pieces of information before hiring a candidate. Such pieces of information include previous workplaces, dates of employment, job titles, educational degrees, and so forth.

Some employers tend to inquire about why a candidate left their previous job. And if the candidate was terminated, employers may inquire about the cause and about whether or not there’s eligibility for rehire.

Depending on the organization or industry, as well as state laws, employers may inquire about credit history, criminal history, and motor vehicle record history.

What’s more, some employers might inquire about performance issues as well as ethical and legal transgressions. Though, most employers tend to avoid sharing such information so that they don’t have to deal with defamation lawsuits.

Final Note

Background checks are there to protect both employers and employees. They’re conducted to prevent post-hiring surprises that might result in termination. After all, making a hiring decision is easy, but firing someone is often a tough decision.