Staffing Solutions

Answers to Three Important Questions about Background Checks

What can a firm expect when outsourcing candidate background checks? The following Q&A may help you decide what is right for your business.

Q.I have a small business and must carefully watch my bottom line. Why would I hire an agency rather than just use information at hand, like searching the Internet and Social Media, or speaking with references supplied by the candidate?

A. Internet and Social Media findings are just a place to start. Because it is difficult to know from what source the information originates, neither will provide the most complete picture of the candidate. Too, it is always best to hire a reputable screening agency, so you comply with federal and state ethical and legal standards.

Speaking to a candidate’s references can be an excellent way to confirm what the candidate expressed in an interview. The reference received, however, may be incomplete for several reasons. A former boss may not give a complete or honest answer about the candidate. You do not know the person providing the reference, and, the person may not have known the candidate. (Some candidates are clever and give their friend’s information knowing s/he will pose as a former boss.)

Also, the previous boss may have moved on. Or the reference will only verify the person’s employment start and end date and their salary.

Q. Why do I need to perform a background check?

A. In keeping with federal, state and local statutes, a thorough background check includes verification of past employment and can include a credit history and criminal history. These aspects help as a means of judging a candidate’s past, character and fitness as well as determining the potential risks for safety and security. For instance, an employer can tell if the candidate lied about being terminated from a past position, or avoided mentioning being charged with a DUI. Remember, as a business; you are also responsible to ensure the safety of all your employees.

Q. What else does an employment background check do?

A. It flags discrepancies in the information the candidate provided. It verifies education and certifications. It reduces risk and liability by fulfilling due diligence. It highlights a criminal or drug history. These factors give a more complete picture of the candidate.

It might sound cliché, but paying for a reputable professional agency, such as, to provide the information you need on your prospective candidates gives you peace of mind about hiring. Since many businesses tend to be overwhelmed with responsibilities, laying to rest the worry about applicants seems a good ROI.


DataScreening is a Certified Women’s Business Enterprise that has offered business-to-business employment and tenant screenings to human resource professionals and business owners, including staffing companies, for two decades. Among other organizations, they are members of the ASA (American Staffing Association), SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) and the NAPBS (National Association of Professional Background Screeners).


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