An HR Glossary for HR Terms

Background Check

What is Background Check?

A background check is investigating an individual’s identity and personal information to assess their suitability for a specific role within an organization.

What does a background check consist of?

This varies by country and industry, but organizations will typically verify:

  • Past employment history
  • Educational background
  • Criminal history
  • Credit history
  • Residential addresses

Why are Background Checks Significant?

Background checks are essential for mitigating risks associated with hiring. They help verify the accuracy of information provided by potential employees, which helps ensure the safety of the workplace and maintain the integrity of the organization.

How to Implement Background Checks Effectively?

  • Obtain Consent: Before starting a background check, make sure to ask candidates for their written consent. Incorporating this step into the job application process can allow for the check to occur after a job offer has been made.
  • Ensure Legal Compliance: Familiarize yourself with the local and federal privacy laws. Be open with candidates about what you're checking and stay compliant throughout the whole process. This way, you respect their privacy and legal rights.
  • Conduct Thorough Investigations: Gather candidate information through comprehensive and legally sound background investigations, covering all the essential aspects. It’s best to use a reliable background check provider to ensure the data being collected is accurate and up-to-date.
  • Establish and Review Policies: This provides HR staff with clear guidelines to conduct background checks effectively. Review policies periodically to determine if extra training or resources are needed.

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