Friday, April 20, 2007

How to Conduct an Employee Background Check

by Joe Hoover

Employees are an important asset to a company or small business. They essentially are the driving force behind production or services rendered. Often employees are the representatives of the business, especially when dealing with customers or clients. Therefore it is vital to the success and well-being of any business to make certain that its employees are honest, responsible and reliable. Employee background checks are vital to that objective. They are the key to insuring that the company or small business has performed its due diligence in the hiring process.

Most employers are aware that an application for a position being offered may often contain false or misleading information. In many instances, the application for a position looks so right that it leads one to ask, “Here’s an applicant who meets our company’s standards and appears to be just who we are looking for. Is the information provided accurate and truthful? Has the applicant omitted any important details?” There is no way to answer these questions without conducting a thorough background check.

At present, 28 states subscribe to a negligent hiring doctrine. Employers can be held responsible for any criminal acts committed by an employee. This is especially risky if the employee is going to be visiting the homes of customers or clients in any capacity that represents the company or business.

If it becomes necessary to discharge an employee, the employer can be held accountable for lost wages or damages if the employee files charges or a suit for what is claimed as wrongful firing.


The initial step in screening a prospective employee starts with a signed employment application. It is essential that the application include a “Release of Information Statement.” The signed release grants the employer the right to access educational, credit, medical, worker’s compensation, police, criminal and court records. Without a signed release, it is exceptionally difficult to verify the information provided on the written application or any statements made during an initial oral interview.

The Employment Application should ask for the following information:

1. Applicant’s full name and social security number
2. Applicant’s age, date and place of birth
3. Applicant’s current address and telephone number
4. Is current residence a rental or does the applicant own it?
5. Applicant’s past addresses for the last 10 years
6. Name and address of landlords for past 10 years, if applicable
7. Applicant’s educational background and highest degree earned
8. Applicant’s military service record, date and type of discharge
9. Applicant’s passport number and date of expiration, if applicable
10. Name, address and telephone number of current employer
11. Names and addresses of employers for the past ten years
12. Name and address of current bank
13. Three credit references
14. Driver’s license number, state of issue and expiration date
15. Professional licenses or certifications
16. List of vehicles or real property owned
17. Names, addresses and telephone numbers of three relatives not living with applicant
18. Names, addresses and telephone numbers of three personal references

Read Complete "How to Screen Employees," article

Investigative Professionals performs complete and thorough Background Checks.  Order an Employment Background Check