How a Background Check Works

A background check is an important tool for determining whether a job applicant can safely work in the workplace. It can be used to verify a person’s employment history, education, and other personal details. It can also be used to determine if someone has been arrested or charged with any criminal offenses.

A criminal background check includes felony and misdemeanor convictions, as well as pending cases, if available. This information can be useful in many situations, including applying for jobs and buying firearms.

In most cases, a background check is not legally prohibited as an employment discrimination tool, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). However, some states do require employers to disclose a candidate’s criminal records before making an offer of employment.

If a background check shows a negative outcome, the employer must send the applicant an adverse action notice that details what happened. The applicant has the right to request a copy of the report and dispute any inaccurate information.

The best background check process varies by provider, but most follow a simple workflow:

Candidates consent to the search. They sign a disclosure, consent and authorization form that is electronically transferred to the third party.

Employers receive status updates and full copies of results, which are easy to access via a digital dashboard. They have the option to review and dispute any negative elements that are reported and to append additional information for context or explanation.

Background checks can date back years.

Depending on state laws, you may be able to run a background check that goes back 10 or 20 years. A background check will likely show your driving record, criminal records and credit reports, and can even reveal aliases, dates of birth and previous addresses.

You can get a background check for free from your local department of motor vehicles, or you can get one from a company that provides these services. These checks are a good way to learn about past violations and a person’s driving history, especially if the position requires them to drive for work.

A background check can help you hire the best employees for your business. It can also save you money and time by preventing unsavory or dangerous employees from entering your company.

If you’re hiring for a high-risk position, such as a security or law enforcement role, a background check is an absolute must. It will help you avoid bad hires and minimize your risk of being sued.

Getting a background check is fast and easy with GoodHire, an accredited professional background screener and FCRA-compliant consumer reporting agency offering screening for both employers and job applicants. We’re committed to providing a customer- and candidate-friendly, digital and mobile-optimized process that includes candidate consent, ongoing updates and easy access to results.

Most employers use background checks as part of their hiring process to mitigate risk and ensure a safe work environment for their company, staff, customers and the community. If your company is using a third-party background check provider, make sure they are FCRA-compliant and provide full transparency about what the report says. It is also a good idea to review their terms and conditions, and to be aware of any limitations in terms of what can be disclosed and how long they keep the information on file.