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What are Pre-Employment Background Checks and Why are They Important?

You can lower the chances of making a bad hire by conducting background checks before you make employment offers to candidates. It will reveal any details the person may have hidden or been dishonest about during the interview process, so your company only invests in honourable people.

Hiring new talent is a big investment for a company. The hope is that they will be with the company for a long time and continue to deliver excellent work that positively impacts the business.

Unfortunately, poor hires do occur. In the best-case situation, you swiftly realise your mistake and the person moves on before causing serious injury. In the worst-case scenario, they fail to complete the task, impair workplace morale, or cause other major issues for your business. Either way, you’ll have to resolve a difficult situation and go through all the effort of rehiring for the role.

You can save yourself from making a bad hire by conducting background checks of the candidates before you make them an employment offer. This will give you all the details of the candidates, even if they were trying to hide something or being dishonest in disclosing all details during the interview.

What is covered in a pre-employment background check?

A standard background check collects information about a person based on their name, birthday, and social security number from public and commercial databases. A reputable background check company can search all relevant databases and produce an easy-to-understand report on the applicant for the employer to peruse.

In most cases, a pre-employment background check covers the following areas:

Identity verification | Confirm the applicant has provided an accurate name and social security number and is a citizen or has a legal right to work in the country.

Criminal history | Find out if the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime, is currently on probation, has outstanding warrants, or is listed on a sex offender registry or government watchlist.

Employment history | See what companies the applicant was employed with and for how long so you can verify they provided an accurate work history.

Education background | Similar to employment history, verify the accuracy of the universities and degrees on the candidate’s resume.

Government-issued licenses | Confirm the applicant is licensed for the job if you’re hiring for a role that requires a government-issued credential (i.e. a CPA license, teaching credential or medical license).

Motor vehicle records | Find out if the applicant has been involved in any accidents or received citations if you’re hiring for a role that requires driving.

Credit check | Learn if the applicant is financially responsible. This is especially important if they’ll be managing a budget or will have access to company funds.

A pre-employment background check confirms that the candidate is trustworthy and has no criminal history. By contacting their prior employers and personal references, as well as maybe researching their public social media sites, you can supplement a basic report. You’ll be more certain that you’re employing the correct person if you have more information.

Why are pre-employment background checks important?

It’s evident that hiring good individuals is important, but why are pre-employment background checks necessary? Let’s look at all of the benefits that conducting due diligence on a candidate can provide to a hiring business:

Verify the candidate is qualified | When applying for jobs, some people unintentionally exaggerate their professional experience or education. If you don’t verify their background, you can end up hiring someone who isn’t qualified.

Perform a character check | It’s a symptom of dishonesty if someone exaggerates their background even a little. Verify that an applicant’s résumé is 100 percent accurate to ensure that your organisation only hires people with good character.

Keep your workplace safe | It goes without saying that protecting your employees, customers, and company as a whole is important. Background checks protect you from hiring anyone harmful or untrustworthy.

Reduce your company’s liability | Your company can lower insurance costs and avoid unnecessary lawsuits by only hiring people who clear a pre-employment screening.

Avoid bad hires | Hiring the incorrect person is both costly and inconvenient. Making the minimal effort to complete a background check before hiring someone will help you avoid major issues in the future.

The Two Sides of Pre-employment Background Checks

Pre-employment background checks can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, having more information about possible job candidates during the hiring process can provide the perception of a safer, more dependable employee.

Results without context, on the other hand, can lead to uneven hiring decisions if we don’t check our unconscious prejudice at the door.

Even with the greatest of intentions, obtaining the desired results necessitates flawless execution and a great deal of patience.


The best way to learn about the potential employees and their background is by completing a pre-employment screening properly and efficiently by using the services of experts like Shergroup. We understand the difficulties the employers face in gathering information, and shortlisting candidates as per several federal and state rules on top of this if they have to go through another process to screen the candidates it will be a lot for them to manage. This is where we come in with our employee background check service that adheres to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and state regulations so hiring companies can be certain they’re completely compliant.

For UK based employers, it’s important to check for the employee’s right to work in the UK before signing an agreement. We make sure we cover that and everything around it for you. Additional employment searches including DBS searches can be made – ask our friendly Business Solutions Advisors for a specific type of search. Lastly, conducting these checks cannot be used to denigrate or discriminate against candidates on any grounds, and we, the Shergroupies, strictly observe this rule.

Contact us to know more.

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Last updated | 19 July 2023

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