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The 4 Essential Components of a Background Check

Interviews may not be enough to provide a complete picture of a new employee or potential recruit. Employers often need to conduct a background check…

The 4 Essential Components of a Background Check

ARTICLE BY: Elise Anderson

Just interviewing a job candidate is not enough to provide a complete picture of a new employee or potential recruit. Employers should be conducting a background check on potential hires to be sure they have the right person for the job and their company. By not running a background check, you’ll have an incomplete picture of who you’re hiring.

Here are some essential components of the background check process:

1. Criminal Records Checks

Checking for criminal records is the most critical component of the background screening process. Criminal record checks are used when a company needs to know about criminal records or actions such as violent crimes, embezzlement, or felony convictions. Additionally, a thorough background check could be the only thing separating a great hire from a poor one.

Depending on the industry or nature of the job there may be restrictions prohibiting a corporation from hiring someone with a criminal record if the crime is relevant to the role. By running a criminal record check, this information can be uncovered.

2. Employment Verifications

When making a hiring decision, it’s critical to know your candidate is qualified for the job. The last thing you want is to hire someone who has lied about their work history and is underqualified for the position. Verifying your candidate’s previous employment history protects against this from happening. The verifications also assist in distinguishing the skills of all potential candidates, allowing the organization to narrow down the options of candidates with the skills and expertise it requires or desires.

3. Credit Checks

Checking credit history is often an important part of the background screening process, depending on the nature of the position. Typically, credit checks are only run if the candidates’ financial accountability should be examined closely. Examples include if the job requires managing or handling the company’s assets or having access to sensitive data.

It’s also worth noting that credit checks for financing and employment purposes are two separate things. For example, a credit check detects financial irresponsibility or significant financial distress trends. However, a few late payments or a high credit usually won’t influence a hiring decision.

4. Reference Checks

Criminal background checks and credit checks focus on candidates’ personal lives. However, reference checks emphasize their work behavior. Reference checks are routinely used to examine candidates for entry-level to CEO positions. There’s nothing like talking to a previous boss to find out how a candidate is. Do they work hard? What are their problem-solving skills? How did they perform at their previous job? Do they act with integrity? The responses may reveal the candidate’s successes and shortcomings.

Employers often make mistakes by using the same reference check questionnaire format for every position. Each job demands a unique skill set; thus, reference check questions should reflect that. In addition, queries should be open-ended and relevant to the job position.

Employers can obtain more from reference checks by using an experienced background screening company, like Alliance 2020. This is usually less expensive than doing reference checks in-house when job disturbance and reference check time are considered.

To learn more about the background screening process and its components call (425) 271-8065 ext. 3 or email

Alliance 2020, Inc.
Corporate Headquarters
304 Main Ave S, Ste 101
Renton WA 98057

Mailing: PO Box 4248
Renton WA 98057


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