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Background Check

A background check is a procedure whereby a person’s reputation and history are analyzed through the examination and compilation of criminal records, commercial records and/or financial records. Background checks may be very intensive or quite basic and perfunctory.

Typically, these types of checks will occur while vetting employees or volunteers. The more trust and responsibility a certain position entails, the greater the likelihood of a comprehensive background check. Some background check procedures may also include drug screenings and the examination of driving records.

Why Background Checks are Necessary?

These sorts of checks are used to find appropriate staff members or volunteers. By performing background checks, employers or other persons are able to discover information about prospective hires or volunteers. This type of information may exclude certain people from getting the positions that they want, while helping others to achieve their ambitions. Those with clean background checks will have more opportunities, whereas those with checkered histories will likely pay for previous mistakes by being excluded from getting hired or volunteering.

Since information found in background checks may not be volunteered by applicants, performing these sorts of checks is oftentimes necessary and important. While some balk at “going under the microscope” during these types of background checks, they are simply a reality of life these days. Modern technology, such as the World Wide Web, has made it even easier to collect information about prospective hires and volunteers. However, there are laws governing exactly what employers or other persons or organizations may gain access to or ask for while performing background checks.

Positions of Trust Require Intensive Background Checks

Any position that requires a high level of trust is likely to require an intensive background check. Examples of positions that require comprehensive background checks include schoolteacher, hospital workers, bank worker, airport worker or government worker. For example, someone who wishes to work for the FBI as an agent will needs to go through a background check that is extremely invasive. Neighbors may be interviewed in order to get opinions about a candidate’s character, personal records may be checked very thoroughly and so on.

The more responsibility, confidentiality and trust that a job requires, the more vetting will be done prior to choosing the right candidate.

Sometimes, post-secondary educational facilities will also require certain elements of background checks during their application processes. For example, those who want to work in health care may need to submit to drug screenings.

Positions where people are looking after children, whether in schools or in other programs, such as day cares, may also be subject to special background checks that are more invasive. Those who will be working with children may be subject to background checks that are designed to ensure that no sex offenders end up in positions of responsibility. Criminal records will be studied closely, and sex offender lists may be checked, in order to ensure that sex offenders cannot access children through any employment or volunteering.

More basic background checks will be used for positions that don’t require a high level of trust, such as reference checks and verification of past employment.

Types of Background Checks

A variety of background check types exist, such as employment reference checks, character reference checks, identity authentications, address verifications, credit history checks, criminal history reports, driving record checks, sex offender checks, financial record checks and drug screenings.

The Right Way to Gather the Information

Employers and other organizations and persons must perform these checks according to federal guidelines and stipulations. Quite often, employers and volunteer organizations feel that they must perform intensive checks in order to avoid litigation. It is possible to be sued for negligent hiring, so employers and others must take care to vet candidates with a range of background checks, in order to minimize the risk of lawsuits and related difficulties.

Access to reports used for pre-employment screening and other purposes is governed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which regulates the utilization of consumer reports. Typically, organizations will outsource the collection of background check reports to third-party agencies, which must follow FCRA guidelines while gathering data. Those who break FCRA and other background check rules that are mandated by the federal government may be subject to legal penalties.

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