What Are Background Checks and What Types of Background Checks are There?
The first thing that comes to mind when you think of a background check is a criminal check to detect any history of unlawful activities. Background checks are performed to fit the right pieces in the puzzle of determining the suitability of a candidate for a particular job. Apart from considering criminal history, background checks also look into educational qualification, civil records, employment history and references. The primary reason companies perform a background check is to protect their interest by hiring a candidate who is what he/she portrays to be, on paper. There are different types of background checks performed depending on the purpose.
A few common types of background checks
Employment Background Checks
Hiring a candidate who may prove to be a threat to the company is a grievous mistake. Companies run an employment background check to avoid a faux pas wherein the newly hired employee becomes a liability. Such checks are mostly performed when a candidate applies for a job. Some companies can perform random employment background checks after hire.
These could be in the form of random drug tests. Pre-employment background checks are run using the full name, past or current address, Social security number, date of birth and the candidate’s consent. Information from such a background check offers the candidate’s activity over the span of the last seven years. Employment background check becomes illegal when it is run because of the candidate’s race, sex, national origin, genetic information, sex, disability and religious beliefs.
A universal background check is performed by accessing the National Instant Background Check System (NICS) by a licensed firearm dealer when a customer wishes to purchase. Such a background check is performed to rule out possibilities of criminal intent of purchase. Typical reasons why a potential buyer may fail the background check is when they possess a criminal record, are convicted for certain crimes, is a fugitive or when there is an open warrant against the buyer, convicted of domestic violence, has an outstanding mental health record or other related reasons. Universal background check was enforced by the FBI is 1998 and since that time over 1.5 million denials have been made.
Most companies, apart from performing an employment background check additionally run a criminal background check. The results of such a check provide information about sensitive information about the candidate in terms of his/her temperament, criminal activity, firearm purchase history, military enlistment, violent or sexual crimes among others. A trait that most companies look for while running such a check is criminal activity.
Companies would rather hire a candidate who poses no security threat than someone with a history of violence. A disadvantage of criminal checks is that candidates who were formerly incarcerated are discriminated from reentering the workforce. As a result, rehabilitation of ex-felons becomes more difficult. Search for criminal activities scans the records from sex offenders register, national criminal database, and global and domestic terrorist watch list, county criminal courts, state and federal criminal records.
E-verify background checks
A voluntary verification system enforced by the federal government to determine the employment eligibility of new employees is achieved through E-verify background checks. The verification takes into account the information filled out in the I-9 form to confirm eligibility to work in the United States. Although the purpose of I-9 and E-verify are similar, the distinction lies in the choice of test and requirement of SSN and photo ID.
Other forms of background check include fingerprint checks (to rule out criminal offense), international background checks (for a foreign employee), credit background checks, personal checks and professional license checks.