Hot5 is a comparison site specialising in a range of entertaining, security and lifestyle topics. This page will focus on the importance of Background Checks and the best brands available. Background checks are used to gain access to a person’s past, specifically looking at any convictions, reprimands, cautions or warnings they may have received. Read our detailed reviews on the top background check sites to find out which brand provides you with the best results.
Common Background Checks
There are several different types of background checks used for different situations, here are a few examples of the most run background checks:
Employment Background Checks
Employers may run a background check to find out whether the job applicant is being truthful in their CV or interview, for example, if they actually graduated from university they say they attended or to confirm that they worked at their previous employment during the time stated on their CV (resume). Typically, an employment background check includes information and records from the past seven years, although some cities allow up to 10 years.
Furthermore, employers may look into their credit and driving history to access the person’s character and responsibility. Of course, some jobs may require these checks more than others i.e. a driving history search is better appropriate for a bus or taxi driver vacancy, to check for speeding tickets, license suspensions etc. An employment background check can include but is not limited to, criminal record, medical history, use of social media, and drug screening.
It is the company’s responsibility to keep its employees and customers safe, so to ensure that there is violence or criminal behaviour that could potentially have the company taken to court, it is highly advisable to run an employment check. This is seen as risk management and this works in the company’s favour as it helps them:
- Build a culture and reputation of trust and goodwill
- Create a safe working environment
- Uncover potential fraud, theft, or criminal activity
- Reduce turnover due to hiring the wrong candidate
- Reveal false information on job applications or CVs
- Provide proof to insurance underwriters that employees pose no risk
- Protect themselves from liability in the case of violence.
Criminal Background Checks
A criminal background check is required in certain situations where a person or organization needs to know about major criminal activity, including violent or sex crimes, fraud, embezzlement, or felony convictions. In instances where a criminal background check is necessary and has repercussions are:
- Employment (i.e. healthcare and teaching)
- Military enlistment
- A firearm purchase
A criminal background check includes the following record searches:
- National criminal databases
- Sex offender registries
- County criminal courts
- Domestic and global terrorist watch lists
- Federal and state criminal records
Fingerprint Background Checks
Also known as an Identity History Summary, it is often used in conjunction with other background checks, most notably as a part of the pre-employment screening process. This kind of background check is mandatory for government-run institutions such as hospitals, fire departments, public schools, airports, and law enforcement agencies. Other professional licenses that could request a fingerprint background check are jobs in casinos, finance, and real estate.
A fingerprint background check will give an accurate reading of a person’s criminal history and reveal details like any arrests which have been made, and disposition reports. One instance where a fingerprint is unwarranted are for minor offenses like littering or jaywalking.
Credit Background Checks
A credit background check is a record of a person’s credit-to-debt ratio. It shows how an individual manages their credit and bill payment, currently and in the past. Also called a credit report, it’s standard to run this check when someone is applying for a car or home loan, credit card, or any other type of loan.
Many landlords also check credit reports to verify whether a person applying to rent property has a history of good credit and may be more likely to pay rent on time. A credit report shows the applicant’s full credit history, including:
- Payment history
- Unpaid bills in collections
- Civil judgments
- Tax Liens
- Recent credit inquiries
International Background Checks
This kind of background check ties in with the employment check and is run during a pre-employment screening. Employers will usually use an international background check if the job seeker has lived abroad, or if the company has offices abroad. It allows the employer to delve into the personal history of a person with a global scope. The report will show the person’s educational background, experience, credit history, any criminal charges or if they have dealt with a conviction in the past, and more.
The average waiting time for this kind of background is one working week (sometimes quicker), however with countries that have extensive protective laws in place or if it is a culture of secrecy, it can take up to several weeks before the results are sent back.
The purpose of running a background check is to provide trustful information about a person’s history and to help the employer or landlord decide whether their potential candidate or renter is reliable or could potentially pose a threat to others.