The Importance of Background Checks in Recruitment

The Importance of Background Checks in Recruitment
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The background check is a vital part of the recruitment process, but it is sometimes ignored. No company, no matter how small, should overlook the background check. When done correctly, background checks will ensure that you hire honest applicants with the right experience who will fit the needs of your organization.


Background checks require preparation. Before you conduct the final interview, make sure that you have all of the paperwork necessary to proceed to the next phase of the recruitment process, the background check. The position will determine the depth of the background check. Some positions require more stringent background checks than others. For example, obtaining a driving record may not be important for a sales associate, but it is necessary for a delivery driver.

Types of Information:

Credit check

Driving records

Criminal check

Work history

Determine how extensive the background check should be. The cost of background checks increase the more extensive they are. It is a good idea to have forms ready for candidates to sign and authorize the background checks at the final meeting.

Data Collection

There are different ways to collect data for a background check. You can call and research information yourself, work with a company, or access a database directly. Many employers prefer to call references themselves and use a company or database for other information. Talking to references and former employers directly allows you to listen to their tone. Legally, former employers are limited in what they can say.

Always have candidates sign a release to access their personal information such as a credit report. States have different rules governing what type of information employers can access, so be familiar with the legal requirements in your area.

Illegal Questions

Interviewing references require the same delicacy as interviewing a job candidate. The questions that you ask must relate directly to the job performance and skills. Do not ask anything that you would not ask the candidate directly. Avoid topics such as religion, age, race, ethnicity, marital status, medical history, etc. Anything that is illegal in a job interview is illegal when interviewing references.


Do not ask: “Does he have a medical condition that requires him to frequently take time off from work?”

Being Thorough without Being Pushy

References need to be checked thoroughly. It is important, however, not to be pushy when you are talking with references. Like any interview, you need to prepare questions in advance and remain professional throughout the procedure. Before you begin asking questions, share the qualifications that are necessary for the position you are filling so that the reference understands what you need.

Important questions:

Is the individual re-hirable? If the answer is no, do not automatically rule out the candidate until you have all of the information.

Was the individual punctual and dependable? This should be simple to answer.

In your opinion, does the candidate possess the skills to fill the position? You may want to bring up specific skill sets.

Does he or she work better in groups or alone? Consider asking how the person interacted with peers.

How well does the individual communicate? Determine if the individual’s communication style matches the needs of your company.


More About Employee Recruitment

Introduction to Recruitment
The Selection Process in Recruitment
Types of  Interviews in The Recruiting Process
Types of Interview Questions in The Recruiting Process
Avoiding Bias When Selecting Workers


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