What Do Background Checks Look For?

What Do Background Checks Look For?

In today’s competitive and compliance-driven employment landscape, understanding “What do background checks look for?” is crucial for employers aiming to make informed hiring decisions. This question is particularly significant for prospective clients in search of a new background screening provider that is not only comprehensive, fast, and affordable but also adheres strictly to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and local and state laws. Let’s delve into the specifics of what background checks entail, highlighting their importance from the perspective of an employer.

Why Employers Run Background Checks

Employers conduct background checks to ensure a safe and productive workplace. The primary objectives include verifying the accuracy of an applicant’s claims, assessing any potential risk they might pose, and ensuring they meet the job’s requirements. Background screenings can help mitigate risks associated with negligent hiring, workplace violence, and theft.

Red Flags in Background Checks

Employers are vigilant about several red flags in background checks, such as:

  • Discrepancies in employment history or educational qualifications.
  • Criminal history that may affect the candidate’s suitability for the role.
  • A history of drug or substance abuse.
  • Significant gaps in employment or frequent job changes without justifiable reasons.

The Protective Power of Background Checks: Statistics

  1. Enhanced Safety: Organizations that conduct comprehensive background checks report a 14% higher sense of workplace safety.
  2. Reduced Negligent Hiring Risks: Employers who perform diligent background screenings reduce their risk of negligent hiring lawsuits by up to 75%.
  3. Improved Quality of Hire: 52% of organizations note a significant improvement in the quality of candidates after implementing structured background check processes.

How Background Checks Work

Background checks are a systematic process of verifying the information provided by a candidate and uncovering relevant information that could influence hiring decisions. This process involves collecting data from various sources, both public and private, to compile a comprehensive report on the candidate’s background.

Common Components of a Typical Background Check
  • Social Security Trace: Validates the candidate’s social security number and identifies any aliases used.
  • Sex Offender Search: Checks national sex offender registries to identify any sex crime convictions.
  • Criminal Records: Searches local, state, and federal databases for any criminal history.
  • Driving Records: Reviews driving history for any violations or suspensions that could impact the candidate’s suitability for roles involving driving.
  • Verifications: Confirms the accuracy of the candidate’s employment history, educational background, and professional licenses.
Steps of the Background Check Process
  1. Consent and Authorization: Obtaining written consent from the candidate is a mandatory first step, ensuring compliance with FCRA guidelines.
  2. Data Collection: Information is gathered from a variety of sources, including court records, educational institutions, previous employers, and public databases.
  3. Analysis and Reporting: The data collected is analyzed to compile a detailed report, highlighting any areas of concern or discrepancies.

Verifications Process: This involves directly contacting institutions or employers listed by the candidate to confirm the accuracy of their claims regarding education, employment history, and professional certifications.

Scope and Results
  • Look-back Period: Typically, background checks cover a period of seven to ten years, though this can vary based on specific checks and state laws.
  • Results: The results can include a detailed summary of the candidate’s criminal history, verification of employment and education, driving records, and any other relevant information collected during the process.


Understanding what background checks look for is essential for employers aiming to maintain high standards of safety, integrity, and compliance in their hiring practices. These checks are an invaluable tool in identifying potential red flags and ensuring candidates meet the organization’s standards.

For those in search of a reliable, comprehensive, and efficient background screening provider, EDIFY Background Screening stands ready to assist. With our commitment to adherence to the FCRA, local, and state laws, and our advanced technology, we are well-equipped to conduct thorough background investigations affordably.

We encourage prospective clients to reach out to EDIFY Background Screening at 336-283-0237 or visit our website at www.edifyscreening.com to learn more about how we can support your hiring process with our expert background screening services. Let us help you make informed, confident hiring decisions.

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