How to Run A Check on a Potential Employee

The world can be a scary place. Too many people are not who they claim to be, and when it comes to hiring, making the wrong choice can be detrimental to your company and brand. That is why companies take their hiring process seriously and conduct thorough background checks to ensure they are bringing the right person into the folds of their organization. However, doing a background check is not a one size fits all process, and different companies take different approaches when looking into a prospective employee’s background.


How to Run A Check on a Potential Employee


Criminal Records

Arguably the most common practice companies take before hiring a new employee is to search criminal records. However, an employer must look carefully at the details involved in an individual’s criminal history. For example, a minor offense such as littering or fishing without a license will still show up as a red flag on the report, but if an employer uses this as a reason for not hiring an individual, they could be missing a potentially qualified candidate.

To avoid possible legal issues down the line, it is imperative employers ensure they are compliant with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. An employer is required, in some states, to provide relevant reasoning for why an individual’s criminal history disqualified them from the position.

If a candidate seems promising, but you are concerned about something particular in their criminal history, bring it up in an interview. Transparency is vital during the hiring process, and giving your candidate a chance to explain their history can put someone’s past into perspective.

When running a background check on a prospective new hire, it is also important you check with your state’s laws regarding the time period you can consider when reviewing someone’s history. In many states, this time period is limited. You should consult with an attorney before using information obtained from a background check to influence your hiring decision.


Work History


When reviewing a candidate’s history, it is essential to read between the lines. An individual’s employment history can give employers an idea of how frequently they changed jobs or even careers to provide them with insight into an individual’s level of commitment to their profession.

Make sure you compare an employee’s work history to their resumes. Inflating a resume to seem more qualified for a position is a common occurrence, and you should search for any discrepancies on an individual’s resume. For example, if they claimed to have been a manager in a past position but their employment history does not confirm this, you may want to dig a little deeper to determine if the candidate actually has management experience.




Most employers ask for references when considering a prospective employee. However, many companies fail to follow up with these references or do so as the final step in the hiring process, not using references to aid their decision making. Avoiding a careful check of references is a mistake. Employers should take the perspective of someone who knows a candidate seriously and use it to help determine if the individual is the right fit.

Do not rush your reference calls. Set aside enough time to ask references relevant questions about your prospective hire. These people have worked with the individual you are considering in the past and are the best way to understand an individual’s work ethic. Ensure they are aware they have been listed as a reference and can give relevant information about your prospective employee. If they are unaware or confused about why they are a reference, this is a red flag.

Ask open-ended questions to get them talking! Ask them about a specific and relevant bullet on your candidate’s resume and how they handled the specific duty. For example, if your prospective candidate managed a team, you could ask, “Can you tell me more about ___’s management style and how she motivated her team?” Questions like this are a great way to dive deep into concerns you may have about your candidate.

Soft skills such as conflict resolution and emotional intelligence are arguably just as relevant as an individual’s competency in their daily duties. Make sure you ask references about these skills to get an idea for how your potential candidate will fit in your workplace culture. For example, if your office uses an open work environment and you are worried your candidate may be uncomfortable with this transition, ask a reference about their ability to adapt to new situations.

Hiring the wrong individual can cause your organization time and money. Make sure you make the right choice the first time by thoroughly vetting your candidates and taking a deep dive into their background.


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