What is a background check?
A background check, also known under the name of a background investigation, is a process of putting together information concerning the criminal, financial, commercial and, why not, personal history of a person (and sometimes an organization).
There are some reasons why a background check is conducted, but usually, it is used by employers to find out the information they need about their prospect employees. Of course, some people do it just because they want to know more about a new person who entered their lives. The reasons vary, but in the end, the truth is the one that makes someone feel safer.
The Purpose Of Free Background Checks
As I said above, the most usual case is the one in which an employer seeks the information he needs before employing someone new. It is only natural that he wants to know everything there is to know about this new person coming to work for him. However, not all jobs require a background check when applying. This is only necessary when the job requires sensitive work, like government jobs, education, health system and so on.
The background check is usually conducted by a government agency, which asks a nominal fee, but there are also third-party companies that can administer one. Getting a free background check is tricky since looking up all the information you need requires some serious work in some cases. Some of them can be expensive due to the extensive information and the difficulty of getting it if you are interested in the best background check service stick around.
Pre-employment screening is mostly used by employers to check the accuracy of the information provided in the resumes by their prospect employees. You can see the logic behind this. A lot of people make false claims in their resumes thinking they would get the job easier.
Employers are also interested in the criminal history of the applicant, past jobs and why they left (and under what circumstances), as well as workers compensation claims. Fraud in a place of business can cost a company billions of dollars, and that is why they administer this employment background check, some of them just check free criminal records on police background check pages.
Types Of Background Checks
There are quite a few types of background checks, and most of them can easily be verified:
- Academic verification
There are a lot of people who lie on their resumes about going to a certain school thinking that the employer will not verify the truth in their claim.
- Character reference
It may sometimes seem a little thing, but for some companies, the character of the applicant matters. They don’t need just a robot to come to work every day, but a human being that can easily be integrated into the team. Which is why they need to make sure that the person they seek is sociable, has a good character and is a team work player.
- Employment history gaps
This is not a deal breaker. It’s just that the employer needs to know the reason why the gap is there. As long as the reason is not ineptitude, everything should be fine.
- Education gaps
I believe this is self-explanatory. It doesn’t matter if you took a year off in college, as long as you graduated.
- Identity and address verification
Identity theft is a real and pretty common issue in the United States. The employer needs to know if you are who you claim to be. This may sometimes require verifying past addresses
- Credit history
While your credit history is important, the employer is not interested in your credit score. That’s between you and you back. It makes no difference whatsoever to your prospect employer.
- Firearms possession
It’s not uncommon in the US, it’s just that some employers need to know if you own one.
Background Information Content
The background check depends on the job you are applying to. If you are applying for a minimum wage job, you will not be checked as a person applying for a government job, especially those who will be involved in national security matters. Usually, a background check will contain the following:
- Criminal background –Everything from simple misdemeanors to public arrests records, incarceration, and sex offenses. The best background check you can get is through the state, but there are third-party background check companies that offer these services for a fee.
- Immigration, citizenship, legal working status – Undocumented workers are a real issue for companies. Moreover, there are jobs that require for the applicant to have citizenship (for security reasons).
- Litigation records – Whistleblowers (people who file false claims) can cause a lot of trouble for companies. This is why, before hiring, employers check if the applicant has filed false lawsuits (qui tam suits).
- DMV records – It may not matter that much if you apply for a desk job, but if you are applying for a driving job, you must have a clean traffic record.
- Drug tests
- Education records – The employer must know if the applicant has graduated high-school (or has gotten a GED), and attended/graduated college.
- Employment records – Past jobs are important for the employer to establish experience. Sometimes, a simple call to the past employer will do.
- Financial information – Credit score doesn’t matter
- Medical, mental, and physiological evaluation and records – Keep in mind that neither the state or other agency can access this type of information about yourself without your consent
- Military records – Employers don’t usually require your military information, except the reason for your discharge.
- Polygraph testing – This is valid only when applying for national security jobs. It usually concerns information which is not disclosed in the application form.
- Social security number – As I stated previously, identity theft is a real concerning issue in the United States.
- Other valid personal information –There are employers who get to talk even to a teacher, colleague, past employers or anyone close to you.
As you can see, a free background information contains a lot of information, so think about it the next time you apply for a job. On the other hand, seeing the world we live in, this kind of information is much needed. Whether you are an employer and want to check the accuracy of an applicant’s resume, or you are a simple person who wants to know more about some new people who has just moved in the neighborhood, a background check is most welcomed. You can even do a tenant background check. You never know what you may find.