Doing a Background Check for Criminal Records

A company can be held responsible for negligent hiring. Children can be the vulnerable victims of nannies with shady personal backgrounds. You could have a possible criminal record, without being a criminal at all. This article will help you avoid any unfortunate incidences like these, by giving you tips on how to run a background check for criminal records.
Workspirited Staff
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
Most of us are unaware of what a background check is. We may even feel that it's a formality carried out only or mainly by companies, and that we need not bother about it. However, a background check may come in handy for everyone, even in the case of people who do not own a business venture.

Need of a Background Check

You may ask, when will a person need to do a background check? What are the possible scenarios when a background check becomes essential? Here are a few of the scenarios in which you may want to do it.

Personal Background Check
As the name suggests, this is a background check that runs on ourselves. This is a check that will be useful to every citizen. Whenever you apply for a job, most companies will initiate a background check process on you. It will be an added advantage if you have an idea about what your prospective employers will get to see. This will give you an idea about how your profile looks from an employer's perspective, and how you can increase your chances of getting selected. In most cases, when criminals are arrested, they use false names, addresses, and date of births. If, unfortunately, the names or addresses given are similar to your name or address, these records will show up in your background check. This is when doing a personal background check will help. You can challenge the record and submit your fingerprints, and thereby prove that a wrong entry has been made against your name.

Pre-employment Background Check
When hiring an employee, it's extremely essential that you first run a background check to ensure that the person you are hiring is reliable enough, and the information he has submitted is true. In case this is neglected, and the employee indulges in any illegal activity while on duty, the company can be held responsible for negligent hiring. For example, consider a plumbing company which has employed a plumber who had a criminal charge of theft against him. If he commits a theft at a client's house, the company can be charged with the offense of negligent hiring. Apart from this, ensuring that an employee has a clean record will always be beneficial for the company overall.

Child Care and Other Reasons
It is absolutely essential to have a background check done on nannies and babysitters. The safety of your children is at stake, and it is absolutely necessary that the person you hire has a clean record. Also, in the case of organizations who hire people for health and related services, it is essential to do a background check. Additionally, it may be needed if we wish to find information about a prospective spouse or someone your daughter or son is thinking of marrying, or while buying business ventures.

Doing the Background Check

Google Search
Searching for information on Google is the easiest way of trying to find out about any person under consideration. However, these may include results with similar data, and cannot be considered accurate. This will, nonetheless, provide general background information about a person.

Reference and Personal Checks
In case of pre-employment checks, the first step is to do reference and personal checks. This can be done, based on the information the candidate has provided. This may seem a very simple form of checking, but it may reveal quite a lot; in cases when the previous employer or reference is aware about any shady background information.

State Criminal Records
This can be done by searching criminal records of the state(s) in which the person under consideration has lived. Records of all the states and with all the previous addresses need to be examined. Many states allow access to records online; while some require a written application to access the records. Also, there are a number of restrictions in place, as to how much information is accessible and how it should be used. In addition, the authenticity and the accurateness of the information should also be taken into consideration.

FBI Criminal Records
The FBI also keeps consolidated criminal records, which can be used to do background checks. These have many restrictions in terms of the data that can be accessible. The information is available by paying a nominal fee for every search. As in state criminal records, here too, the searches based on fingerprints are the most accurate.

Hired Services
This is usually the most preferred way. These service providers will give you a detailed report and all the relevant information that you need, without you having to search yourself. However, these are paid services and may include huge fees. You need to take care that these are registered services and that they abide by all the laws on personal privacy. In most cases, the need for a hired service is not necessary, and information can be searched personally.

Tips

Here are a few tips that will be helpful:
  1. Take written permission of the prospective employee before running a background check.
  2. Getting credit details of an employee requires a written consent.
  3. Maintain all the documentation. Maintain copies of the correspondence with every source of information and also any documentation in relation to the background check with the employee.
  4. Make sure that you are allowed access to the data that you ask for.
  5. If employment is rejected due to any results of the background check, provide a copy of the relevant data to the candidate. In addition, it is mandatory to inform the candidate about the fact that he has the right to challenge the document in question, and that his candidature will be reconsidered if he successfully proves that the references under question are wrong.
  6. Prefer to employ a search with fingerprints, rather than the use of first name, last name and/or birth date, year; as these may be inaccurate.
  7. If the services of any agency are involved, make sure that the data that you have received is accurate.
Thus, a background check is a useful tool that can be used to establish the credibility of a person that we are dealing with. It will help us avoid being victims of unfortunate events. All that is required is a well-directed search.