Things to Know Before Running a Background Check

Things to Know Before Running a Background Check
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When running a background check, it's so very easy to go wrong. You might come across data that violates a person's rights under state or federal law. You also might make the mistake of assuming your findings are an accurate reflection of your subject, be they a potential employee or tenant. There are a few things to know before running a check. These were shared with us by Check People and other professional check services. Now, we pass this valuable info on to you. 

You Will Need to go Beyond Criminal Records

The background check should be as expansive and wide-ranging as possible. While criminal records are very important, the likelihood of a prospective hire or tenant having a serious record is slim to none. If you investigate their driving record, credit history, and social media use, you'll get much more useful information. If you're an employer, verify they really possess the certificates or degrees they claim to. Study their employment history as well. 

It's Illegal to Request Medical Records

By law, some things are off-limits, and you mustn't try to use screening to get this information. It is illegal to request medical records because of the risk of discriminating based on a person's medical needs or history. Moreover, this kind of discrimination is illegal too. You need permission to look at transcripts, recommendations, and school records in general. It is also hard to obtain military service records. You're required to get permission for this. However, you can get information like the person's rank, duty assignments, status, and salary without the person's authorization. 

Your right to check criminal history depends on your state. Written honesty tests and polygraph tests are banned in most cases. 

Don't Focus on the Negative 

A background screening might unearth a less than stellar history, but you might also get a great deal of positive information. A positive credit history, good references from previous employers, proof of volunteer work, or additional certifications or licenses not relevant to the field or position are all examples of such. You should give this and any negative findings equal attention. 

Most Common Screening Types

Now that we've discussed the things to know before running a check, let's look at the most common types of background checks. 

E-verify checks are carried out to verify a person's employment eligibility as well as identity. Fingerprint screenings are compulsory for candidates at state-run institutions. Applicants for financial positions are commonly subjected to credit background checks, which review payment history, their credit reports, unpaid bills in collections, civil judgments, recent credit inquiries, tax liens, and any bankruptcies in the past. 

If your candidate is applying for a job in a healthcare program that's federally funded, the background check should be customized to check for healthcare-related crimes. 

International background checks can verify the history of employees who have worked or studied abroad. They give access to international employment, education, and criminal records.

If the job requires a professional license, a professional license screening will verify that the candidate's license is valid.

Of course, criminal background screenings remain the most common type. Typically, they check for felony convictions, embezzlement, fraud, sex crimes, violent crimes, and other major criminal activity. 

The type of check you choose to run depends on the type of job position. Jobs that involve working with minors or government jobs may require deeper checks into the financial and criminal background of an applicant. 

What Sources Should You Use? 

While it's definitely a good idea to do your own research on an applicant or prospective tenant on social media and through search engines, this information alone does not suffice for a detailed and in-depth screening. Some search services are illegal as they don't comply with FCRA guidelines. 

To verify employment history, an employer can simply get in touch with the candidate's previous employer. This might lead to issues because many employers don't know what they are and aren't allowed to say about former staff members. Issues are particularly likely when it comes to negative information. For this reason, many previous employers will only share employment dates, salary, job duties, the person's job title, and other basic information. 

Using the services of a professional background screening company will help yield the most relevant details. These companies employ experts who know exactly what to look for depending on the circumstances. As someone's potential employer or landlord, you will be able to use these findings in a purposeful and targeted way. 

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