The Basics of Background Checks

Imagine you are an employer looking to hire some new people. Perhaps you’re a principle looking for a new second grade teacher, or maybe you’re a high-level corporate executive looking to hire an assistant that would have access to sensitive information. The prospective employee’s application proves that they’re more than qualified, but you get the feeling that there’s something you are missing. What do you do? Questioning the person about it might put them on edge, and if they weren’t being entirely up front with you to start with, they will likely be even more reserved if they feel as if you’re prying. If you were wrong and there’s nothing to find, you’ll feel bad for having made them nervous.

This is where a background check would come in. If you have suspicions about a person you have already hired or one you are thinking about hiring, paying a private investigator to run a background check can ease any suspicions you may have, and this will ultimately make your decision easier.

You don’t have to be an employer to want a background check, though. Perhaps you’ve recently met someone that you hit it off with, but something about them has you worried. It could be something as noticeable as hushed conversations and shady friends, or it might be something subtle like a receipt from a bad section of town. It  could also be that you have young children and you want to be sure there’s nothing suspicious about your new significant other before getting too serious with them. You may also wish to perform a background check if your child, whether he or she is a teenager or an adult, is dating someone that you don’t trust. If your child is smitten, they may not be seeing the person for who they really are; in that case, it would be up to you to hire a private investigator to perform a background check on your child’s significant other.

A background check has the potential to include many types of searches. Typically, they include gathering any criminal records, commercial records, and financial records for the person in question. This will paint a picture of who they are and who they’ve dealt with and can bring to light any suspicious activity that they may have taken part in. Background checks can be especially beneficial in situations where someone is applying for a job that is categorized as a position of trust, such as a job with the government, in a hospital, a school, or a financial institution. The results gathered from background checks can include a person’s credit score, verification of past employment, any existing criminal history, history of military service, drug tests, education records, and vehicle and driving related records.

Background checks can be administered by government agencies for a small fee, but there are also many private companies, such as Graves Investigations, that provide background checks for their clients. There are a number of laws surrounding background checks, especially when a prospective employee’s employment hangs in the balance. For instance, if a background check leads to an adverse hiring action, the applicant must receive a “pre-adverse action disclosure”. When you hire a private investigative company to perform a background check, be sure they are licensed and familiar with these laws.

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