What does a business background check mean?

Most employers executing a background check for potential or existing employees are attempting to either eliminate or establish grounds for termination or employment. Recently, employee background checks have become increasingly popular, a trend some attribute to the increase in workplace threats and identity theft. Corporations performing background checks will generally perform the task before hiring, randomly during employment or at the time of an internal promotion. Depending on the organization, background checks can range from criminal history to consumer reports. It can be assumed that most corporations hoping to procure employment from a candidate will be running the most basic background checks to confirm identity, eligibility to work within the designated region and ability to legally execute necessary job functions.

Current and previous addresses, driving records, criminal records, educational transcripts, and employment history and character references are commonly sought by potential employers as a background check requirement. Although there are laws and legal precedent for guidelines of a background check, employers who are not looking into credit reports through a third party are not liable. Background checks performed in-house through a human resources department are open to any requirement the employer deems necessary to maintain integrity or operations or compliance. Recently, employers have been extending their background check parameters into the realm of social networking. Browsing profiles of potential and existing employees on social networking sights may shed light on an individual that was not previously exposed through the interview or process of job requirement review.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the increases in background checks among major employers, one reason the process was established initially was to prevent fraudulent representation from candidates entering the work environment. It is estimated that more than half of all candidates for a job will represent themselves falsely or embellish their credentials to an extent equal to misrepresentation. The awareness of an applicant that they will be screened for drugs, educational history or criminal behavior may be enough to prevent falsification of information and promote presentation of any necessary information. The interview process and review of history is an expensive process for an organization to undertake. Background checks can be cost-effective in situations where an applicant gets through several interviews only to be deemed ineligible based on an element in their personal or professional past. Proper screening processes are widely considered a responsible and necessary business practice for a productive, healthy work environment.