HR Basics: Background Checks

HR Basics is a series of short courses, designed to highlight what you need to know about a particular human resource management topic. In today’s HR Basics, we explore background checks, introducing you to what employers and employees need to know about employment-related background checks.

A background check or background investigation is the process of looking up and compiling criminal records of an individual for employment purposes.

A background check generally involves determining whether an applicant may be unqualified for a position due to a record of criminal conviction, motor vehicle violations, or misrepresentation regarding education or work history. Pre-employment background investigations afford the employer information regarding a candidate’s background that is essential to sound employment practices.

The extent of background checks should relate to specific job requirements. For example, conducting a Department of Motor Vehicles investigation would make sense when hiring a crane operator, but it would not be appropriate when hiring a secretary.

To better understand background checks, we will cover the reasons for doing them, legal considerations, and how employers should appropriately use information obtained.

Employment selection processes are long, stressful, and expensive. From reviewing applications to reviewing candidates, these processes take a lot of time and resources. Employers you want to make sure they hire the right person, and that means being as thorough as possible by including background checks in selection processes.


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