Employment Background Check

Definition

The term employment background check refers to a review of an individual's educational, criminal, financial, and workplace records.  A background check is usually conducted by the company's human resources department; verifying the information provided on a job application or found on a resume.

Explanation

Employers will typically conduct a background check as part of their employee hiring process.  Normally, an offer of employment is made conditionally; the individual may have to pass a background check, and possibly a drug screening, before the offer is considered firm.

The objective of a background check is to verify the information provided on the company's job application or appearing on the candidate's resume.  The information reviewed as part of this process may include:

  • Identity:  Social Security numbers, college and / or high school transcripts, vehicle registration, driver license, military records, and mailing address.
  • Police Documents:  driving records, criminal cases, convictions, arrest records, and sex offender lists.
  • Financial Records:  wages, tax liens (7-year limit), civil suits (7-year limit), worker's compensation, bankruptcy proceedings (10-year limit), collection activities (7-year limit) and property ownership.
  • Work History:  prior employers, and job references.

Companies may also search social media sites for insights into the job candidate's character.  The extent of the background check typically depends on the employer's policy as well as the job opening.  For example, a criminal check may be required by state or federal law when working around children, the disabled, or elderly persons.

Related Terms

applicant pool, pre-employment drug testing, workplace drug testing, non-disclosure agreementemployment eligibilityemployment credit checkemployment applicationpre-employment test, employee eligibility form