Background Checks: Tips for Employers

Nicole Davies works at ShortCourseFinder, a website providing a simple way to find and sign up for online short courses from Australia’s top providers. Main areas of her interest are the social media and the use of new technologies in everyday life.

Every business owner knows that training new talent costs time and money. That’s why it is essential to make smart hiring decisions from the get-go. These days, it has become common practice to conduct pre-employment background checks on prospective employees. Not to dig dirt on the candidates, of course, but to make an informed decision about whether they are the right fit for the company. Keep on reading to find out how to carry out an effective background check.

1. Use the tools available to you

First of all, you need to know that a simple web search can give you several insights into your candidate’s employment history. For a more detailed picture, choose some of the most common background checks, which may include credit and criminal history checks. Most employers treat them as proof of maturity and fiscal integrity. Companies may also sometimes decide to check education and employment history to verify them against a candidate’s resume.

2. Save time and money by only performing necessary checks

You may be tempted to find out all there is to know about your prospective candidate, but remember that for many small businesses, background checks can be pretty time-consuming. It’s better to establish a list of necessary checks consistent with your profession and business ethics. Decide which checks mentioned above will aid your hiring decision. For example, if the job involves working with children, criminal history check is mandatory.

3. Acknowledge the power of social media

Many human resources representatives turn to social media for extra information. It has become accepted practice to skim the candidate’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, but you need to remember to keep your search relevant and ethical. Be careful not to start forming any harmful opinions or bias.

4. Follow the letter of the law

First and foremost, make sure your background checks are legal. The last thing you want is a liability suit on your hands! To prevent any legal violations, use only official databases that act in accordance with both local and federal laws. If necessary, consider hiring an accredited screening company. At the end of the day, your company’s credibility is on the line.

5. Inform the candidate about your background check policy

Make clear from the very beginning that your company requires background checks from all candidates, and ask for the candidate’s consent during the first meeting. Put all necessary information and provisions on your website to avoid any confusion. Last, but not least, if you don’t want to fall victim to discrimination suits, check every potential employee – don’t make any exceptions.

6. Look for patterns, not singular acts

In the event that you or a third party find irregularities or discrepancies during your checks, don’t let them go un-discussed. It may be that there is more to the story than you imagine. Confront your employee and ask for some further information to try to get the full picture. Don’t just assume the worst, be respectful and remember that mistakes happen.

A successful background check of a prospective candidate may play a crucial role in the development of your business. Just remember that there is a fine line between a background check and invasion of privacy.

For more hiring/recruiting tips follow us on Twitter @CareerPlug

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Use our prescreen questions and assessments to identify the best applicants. Then use our interview questions and scorecards to evaluate for the right things consistently.



Once you think you have found the right person, use our reference and background check resources to verify them. Then, send an electronic offer letter from CareerPlug to close the deal!



Hiring is hard, but partnering with us makes it easier. From posting jobs to scheduling interviews, CareerPlug allows you to automate certain parts of the process to improve your results and save you time.


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Clint Smith

Founder & CEO

Clint founded CareerPlug in 2007 with the simple idea that there was a better way to help employers connect with quality applicants. Today Clint works every day to fulfill CareerPlug’s mission: Make Hiring Easier. Leading by example, Clint loves spending his time developing new ideas and teaching others.

After graduating from the University of Florida, Clint worked in investment banking and strategic marketing; both experiences influenced the development of CareerPlug. He also spent a year away from the business world teaching 5th grade in Boulder.

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