Individual Background Checks

A background check can uncover personal details that a potential employer may not be aware of. Individual background checks include verification of professional and personal references, confirmation of degrees and academic certifications, and an exploration of real estate records.

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An employer can conduct a background check at any point during the hiring process. However, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sets restrictions and regulations on what information can be requested.

Criminal Record

An individual’s criminal record is one of the most important aspects of their background check. A criminal record contains information about an arrest, charges, convictions and even dismissed or acquitted cases. These records can be found in many different places, including state, federal and local courts. Generally, the more serious the crime, the longer the sentence and the higher the fine, the more detailed a person’s criminal history will be.

While it is possible that a criminal record would prevent a job applicant from being hired, that determination should be made on an individual basis. Many factors are considered, including the nature of the crime, the timing of the conviction, how much time has passed since the conviction, the relevancy to the position sought and whether the person was ever convicted of a felony. In addition, many states have laws that prohibit employers from using criminal records to discriminate against people of certain races or genders.

In New York, for example, the Fair Employment and Housing Act requires that employers ask about a person’s criminal history only after they have made a conditional offer of employment. Moreover, employers may not consider non-conviction records (including dismissals or set aside convictions, pardoned convictions and convictions for which an individual has received a Certificate of Rehabilitation), pending criminal cases or criminal cases that have been expunged from the record.

Employment History

The employment history is a list of all the jobs a person has held in their lifetime. It is a critical piece of information used in the hiring process to determine the skill level and experience a candidate has.

When companies verify employment history, they contact previous employers to confirm dates, job titles and responsibilities. This is done to ensure the applicant is truthful in their application. It is never acceptable to lie about past work experience.

How far back the company can go to check an employee’s background depends on state law. Generally, the recommendation is to search seven years. However, in some cases, such as gaps in employment or multiple jobs in a short period of time, it may be necessary to look further back.

While it is common for companies to use third-party providers for employment verification services, a new hire can also go directly to the Social Security Administration for detailed statements of their previous employment. This can be more cost effective and faster than waiting on a company to respond.

It is important to note that the purpose of verifications is to confirm objective facts about a candidate’s background and work history. HR managers are hesitant to ask about an individual’s work ethic or character in a way that could be considered discriminatory.

Education History

Some jobs require a specific level of education or professional certification. For these types of positions, it’s vital that candidates are truthful on their resumes when describing their educational credentials. A background check can uncover falsifications in this area, allowing hiring managers to make an informed decision about the candidate’s qualifications.

This type of background check is also known as an education verification search, and it confirms a job applicant’s claims about the schools they attended and the degrees they earned. It usually includes a check for high school, vocational, and college attendance and degrees awarded from those schools. It can also include a search for professional certifications and licenses.

The CRA conducting the education verification search can reach out to schools directly or through third-party sources such as the National Student Clearinghouse. If an employer has questions about a candidate’s international education, they can also request confirmation from the registrar at the foreign school where the degree was earned.

An education verification doesn’t typically take as long to complete as a criminal or credit background check because most schools can provide verification within a day or two. However, it’s important to be patient. Some schools may have specific procedures that can extend the search time.

Social Media Accounts

In addition to the traditional information found in a background check, some candidates may have social media accounts that provide more detailed and personal information. During the screening process, we search for information that supports or detracts from a candidate’s candidacy for a role, as well as posts and content that may violate laws regarding discrimination, harassment or threats against protected classes.

Social media checking can be challenging because users set their privacy settings so only publicly accessible information is reviewed. This means it can be difficult to identify the true identity of the account owner, which can cause discrepancies in results. Fortunately, the use of automation and AI allows us to find the right candidates quickly and conduct a thorough review at a much faster pace than manually reviewing individual profiles.

Additionally, there are billions of fake accounts online. It is impossible to know which of the countless accounts bearing your candidate’s name are the genuine one. This could result in a report that contains false or incomplete information.

Finally, there is the issue of the relevance of the information. While a candidate’s political views or passion for dolls might be interesting, they don’t directly affect their ability to perform the job in your organization. Moreover, using this type of information in the hiring process can open your company up to lawsuits for violating the law.