Firms and individuals conduct background checks to verify identity, check employment history, check for a criminal record, confirm qualifications, and more. The frequency and purposes of background screening vary between industries, companies, sectors, geographical regions, and people. Typically, recruiters will perform pre-employment screening when you apply for a job. However, your employer may also choose to run a post-hire one.
There is no such thing as a universal background check; that’s why there are different background check levels: four at the moment.
At its most basic, a background check only covers someone’s place of residence as the jurisdiction of interest. First-level checks also cover employment verification. Firms working in the finance or insurance sector are required to check fingerprints, but the main tool used is name-based screening. Digital screening is considered far more valuable than fingerprints either way. Hiring risk is reduced through online background checks as long as the person assigning them chooses a reliable service.
People usually do Level 2 checks via state and federal databases to check for a criminal record. If you’re hiring for a job that comes with more responsibility, it’s advisable to go beyond a level one check.
Third-level screening is by far the most common type. It is comprised of criminal history checks, reference checks, education, and employment history. In some cases, it includes a pre-hire drug screening. Employers run or order level 3 checks to make sure the person they hire will not turn out to be a liability to the company. Essentially, they ensure you’re hiring the right person.
Third-level checks extend to court records on all government levels: federal, state, and county. The screening service will begin by searching for felonies in district court records. Then, they will look at county records for indications of more serious crimes. Finally, municipal court databases contain records of misdemeanors and petty offenses.
An employer or the background check service he has contracted can see misdemeanor or felony cases tried in the state by checking court records. If you only look at arrest records, you will know someone was arrested, but nothing beyond that. You won’t know if they went to trial and what the sentence was.
People get access not only to arrest records but also to conviction records on a federal level. However, the data available might only include the search target’s name and the type of case and number. Information on this level tends to be insufficient.
Fourth level checks are crucial in the process of promoting or appointing executives. They include a bankruptcy record search and a media search as well as everything on the previous level. Fourth-level checks can also come with a manual, real-time search for criminal history data.
Background screening is a key component of recruitment, be it a fleeting check of a social security number to a detailed probe. Today, every business wants to recruit the right people.
Here are a few more details about screening:
- Criminal History Screening is in Highest Demand: Criminal record checks are the most common screening component because they protect a company’s clients and employees from risk. It’s top priority for every employer to hire a trustworthy person.
- Social Security Number Verification: This check can help detect identity misappropriation. Basically, what it does is match someone’s name and address to their Social Security number. In addition to confirming identity, SSN verification assures the employer that the candidate is allowed to work in the country.
- Education Verification: Many employers will scrutinize the qualifications their candidates claim to have. Education checks cover degrees, certificates, and other credentials. Education shows an in-depth knowledge of the segment or sector in which someone is applying for a job, and all employers want to hire well-educated people. A potential employer may get in touch with the university a candidate attended to confirm they graduated. Education checks can authenticate additional training as well.
- Employment History: Employment history is of paramount importance for two reasons. It shows you have experience in a given line of work and it helps your employer predict your performance going forward. Prior to making a final decision about a candidate, a business will call one or more of their previous employers. The contact person might be a former supervisor, a manager, or someone who provided the candidate with a reference. The potential employer will verify what the job responsibilities and tasks were and compare the information they get with what the candidate reported.
- Reference Checks: Reference checks help employers understand a candidate’s work ethic, skills, and anticipated performance. They only have an employment history to judge you on if they can’t talk to references.