Pre-Employment: Background Checks


Criminal background checks are vital in the creation and maintenance of a safe work environment. Thorough pre-hire screening has also been shown to help reduce theft by employees, violence in the workplace and incidents which may lead to discipline or termination. One of the biggest hurdles for any organization is choosing which type of criminal background check is best for their company.

Criminal history records can be limited by the level of depth of a particular test or agency conducting the test. Federal limits can vary from those of your particular state which can sometimes have a negative result in instances where a particular incident is not accurately reported. If a candidate is a registered sex offender, for example, the registration will appear on a search with the National Sex Offender Registry even if no such registration is shown on a state level.

Available Registries of Criminal Background Information:
County Criminal Records: Registration of felonies and misdemeanors from over 3,400 county courts within the United States.
State Criminal Records: Crimes committed within a particular state of residence. Compiled of state police records and/or state criminal records databases. Not available in all states.
National Criminal Record Database: Crimes committed while traveling as well as records that may be exempt from other specific searches on a county or state level.
Federal Criminal Records: Database of crimes committed that were prosecuted in federal court. Including, but not limited to, tax evasion, fraud, embezzlement, mail and wire fraud.
Sex Offender Registry: Records compiled from state and/or national databases for registered sex offenders.
Driving Records: Database used to help identify unsafe driving practices. This is extremely valuable if a position requires the applicant to be covered by company insurance.
International Criminal Records: Foreign background database. Commonly used by companies hiring individuals from another country for positions which require relocation to the United States.

Criminal Background Checks: Common Questions & Answers:

Q: Should our company perform criminal background checks?

A: In our opinion, yes, every company SHOULD perform criminal background checks. A recent survey showed the vast majority of companies, over 80% in fact, do conduct some form of criminal background check prior to hiring new employees.

Q: How do I know which types of criminal background checks are best for my company?

A: Due to the fact that access to specific criminal records vary from state to state as well as the fact that depending on the position you may need to provide various types of insurance and certifications there honestly is not ONE blanket statement or general answer for all organizations. Your best bet is to evaluate your company’s needs and look at the specific position you’re trying to fill. If an individuals’ driving record, for example, has no bearing on the ability of that individual to perform their duties we see no reason why you should spend time and money on that particular screening.

If you are currently working with a staffing company or other type of recruiting and/or labor-sourcing agency, they will be able to provide you with options for pre-employment criminal background screening. Our recommendation is to do some due diligence on your part as well and look at pricing from the background screening companies in your area as well before agreeing to any third party agency fees.