The Who, What, Where, When, and Why of Employment Background Screening.

From an internal investigation at work to children writing stories in their 3rd grade classes, we all need to know the “who, what, where, when and why” (“how” we will leave off for this blog) of any situation. I felt by explaining employment background checks in the same way, it would simplify the process for the end user/employer and give them a better understanding of the value behind employment screening. So let’s get right to it!

“Who” should be doing employment background checks?

Any business that employs individuals should be conducting employment background checks on all new hires. It doesn’t matter the industry or location, any business from fortune 500 to the small coffee shop. Not only does employment screening reduce liability due to negligent hiring claims, but it also improves employee morale and makes the company more profitable by hiring top talent.

“What” can I do during an employment background check?

First, we recommend identifying the duties of the specific position sought and tailor the searches around that classification. For example, a printing company is hiring a delivery driver who will be making deliveries from the employer’s facility to the client(s) location; the driver will also be named on the company’s motor vehicle insurance. The screening report for this position would have the following components:

  • SSN Address Trace – This is done to identify counties where the new hire has resided in and search for any felony or misdemeanor convictions.
  • County Level and National Criminal Search – This is a “real time” search of convictions at the county level. The national search is a database search of over 750 million records, however there are limitations and this search should only be done in conjunction with a county criminal search.
  • Drivers History Search – Complete motor vehicle search which will reveal the status of the license, any suspensions/revocations, accidents, and certain driving related crimes that would not be revealed in the county level search

“Where” can I get a background check from?

CRA’s (Consumer Reporting Agencies) are 3rd party companies that strictly conduct employment background checks. A CRA has nationwide capabilities and can provide services “sight unseen”. However employers must ensure that the CRA is complying with Federal and State law when procuring screening reports. Furthermore, the CRA must secure certain certifications from the employer that reports will be done for “employment purposes” and that they will adhere to the Fair Credit Reporting act.

“When” can a background check be done?

As best practice employers should be conducting background checks post offer, and the official start date is contingent upon successful completion of the background screening report.

“Why” should I conduct employment background checks?

Employers have a duty to their workforce to foster a safe and drug free workplace; this can only be achieved by implementing a compliant employment screening program. The advantages include:

  • Reduce liability due to negligent hiring claims
  • Improves employee morale
  • Make the company more profitable by hiring qualified candidates

Research Your New Hires!


Workplace Violence
One out of every six crimes occurs in the workplace and homicide is the second leading cause of workplace death in the U.S.

Education Falsification
National Credit Verification Service reports that 25% of the MBA degrees it verifies on resumes are false.

72% of shrinkage is due to employee theft.
34% of all job applications contain lies.
30% of small business failure is caused by employee theft.