How to Properly Conduct an Employee Background Check

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Conducting an employee background check is standard routine in many companies to determine whether the potential employees are trustworthy and qualified enough to be hired. It’s a process that allows the human resource department of any company to know more about a potential employee and how this person can provide a positive contribution. That’s why it’s very important to perform this check properly to prevent any problem from arising in the future. Here’s a thorough list of all the steps you should take to properly conduct this check.

Legal Advice

One of the first things you should do before establishing any kind of background check routine is to consult your lawyer. There are a few reasons why this is necessary. The first one is to see if you are moving in the right direction. The second one is to make sure that you discuss a liability plan which is necessary for these kinds of things.

Ban-the-box Law

Have in mind that ban-the-box law prevents any employer from performing background checks on their potential employees without offering them a job first, the criminal record aspect, to be more exact. This is another reason why you should consult your lawyers before your company makes an employee background check policy. However, only a few of the states have this law, you should still do it to honor it.

Make a Policy

Every company should have a thorough employee background check, and that should not be a surprise to any potential new hires.  This is why your company should include that information in your policy, as well as the potential reasons why the background checks are necessary. It’s very important not to start this program without thoroughly reviewing the policy you created and without a consultation from your lawyers.

Find a Background Check Provider

Now that an employee background check policy has been established, the next thing you should do is to find a background check provider. As the experts at suggest, some of the aspects a provider should focus on are education, previous work history, the credit history (if there is one), medical history, and social media accounts. The most important aspects however are criminal records and of course drug screening.

Inform the Applicants

All applicants should be told that your company conducts background checks before hiring any employees. Make sure to add a list of aspects you will be checking. You can use the ones mentioned just now as a template. This will give the applicants fair warning, but it might also work in your favor by having the potential employees eliminate themselves from the job offer, making the process easier for you.


Conduct the Check


After you have made all the preparations and checked in with your legal team, it’s time to finally conduct the background check. There is no right way to do this, as every company will have its process. However, most of the time it’s as easy as logging into your provider’s website to fill out the form you created. The results are usually ready after a day or two.


Review the Results

After the results of the employee background check have arrived, you should thoroughly review all the information that is uncovered. This is especially important if something comes up in the sexual offender option and any convictions in the criminal record history. You might want to consult your lawyers on what is the best course of action to protect yourself from liabilities.

Follow Up if Necessary 

If the background check doesn’t give you enough information about the potential employee it’s acceptable to call them in to ask some follow-up questions. This will make it easier for you to decide whether they are the worthy candidate for working in your company. Simply ask them what you think was left unsaid, and also allow them to clear their name if there were minor criminal charges against them.

Make No Exceptions

One thing your company should not do under any circumstances is to give some potential employees a thorough background check, and let others off the hook. This would be highly unprofessional, and it will send out a message that you don’t honor the hiring policy your company established. Remember to be consistent with employee background checks to give the same advantage to the candidates.

Keep Track of Your Records

The records of all the employee background checks you’ve conducted should be stored for at least one year from the interview. A simple reason why this has become standard practice is that all the candidates you screened have a right to ask for a copy of their results. This will protect you from having them sue you.


Conducting an employee background check can seem like a daunting task. Delegate the work between your legal team, and your background check service provider to ensure the policy you create is solid. Remember to follow all the steps in the correct order to ensure maximum accuracy and no liability for your company.

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Mike Miller

Mike Miller is a partner in B2BNN.