Background Check Red Flags

A pre-employment background check is a vital resource for any employer; either reinforcing or contradicting the idea of who you’re really hiring. No matter what, it’s information that you’ll need. However, for many employers, it’s a resource they rush through while processing (or skim through during the results) hoping for quick reinforcement of that idea, no contradictions. After all, contradictions mean more work; even finding a new candidate if necessary.

To keep things simple – if you’re looking for a quick guide on the proper way to conduct a background check, or review the info you get back, just keep reading. We’ve outlined six common background check red flags that should give any employer pause – not just about who you’re hiring, but about how you’re collecting your information.

Red Flag #1 – Name Gaming

Make sure the name you see on the background check is the correct name of your candidate. Jobs have been wrongly lost & lawsuits have been rightly won over this crucial point. Before running the check yourself, or submitting the applicant’s info to your background check service, make sure everything looks the same as it does on the applicant’s ID. You don’t want to pull up someone else’s criminal history. On the flip-side, you also don’t want to be fooled by a very convincing con artist.

Another closely related point – make sure you’re running a background check on all iterations of your candidate’s name. Provide space in your forms for them to note any name changes; especially if it’s a name they went by professionally. This includes any names used before marriage, before a gender transition, or even as stage names. If you’re running the background check yourself, this could take a lot of time to cross-reference, but the entire background check is less effective if it’s not complete.

Red Flag #2 – No Educated Guesses

Verify that all the education listed on an applicant’s resume is correct, including the specific degrees they list, and the years they say they attended. If a candidate’s education can’t be verified for whatever reason, that’s not a great harbinger for the rest of the resume. It might be tempting to skip checking their education history, but it’s actually the perfect place to start.

Red Flag #3 – Bad Dates

If your job involves any certifications, make sure your candidate’s required credentials are all up-to-date (it also goes without saying that you should verify they’re real to begin with). Liability could fall on your company for hiring a technician, doctor, educator, or even a server or bartender who’s not up to date on all federal, state, local or simply industry-specific certifications. Research what licenses are needed from any hire thoroughly, then verify that those licenses are current.

Red Flag #4 – Mind The Gaps

Are there gaps in their work history? If so, hopefully the candidate has already explained them, but if not, asking for details never hurt anyone. On the contrary – if your prospective employee has something to hide, then it’s in the best interests of your company to uncover it.

The explanation for a gap might be as simple as unemployment, which is especially easy to understand in a post-Covid landscape. Other explanations can complicate things: perhaps your candidate had disciplinary action taken against them at a hidden job, or were altogether let go because of unprofessional behavior. Maybe they worked a job they now simply want to hide for other reasons. Whatever the case, their past behavior affects your current work atmosphere, so make sure you have the full story.

Red Flag #5 – Questionable Drive

If your background check is allowed to include DMV records where you work, don’t ignore what they could potentially retrieve. You may not think much of driving history (unless your job involves driving, of course) but those records can be quite revealing. For example – a candidate with 5 seatbelt tickets might not be someone you want to trust with high levels of responsibility.

Red Flag #6 – Surprise, It Could Belong To You

Well, not so much you the person but you the employer, running this very background check. As we mentioned when discussing running the correct name, you shouldn’t run a thing – or even ask for certain information – before knowing all applicable legal guidelines. Liability varies state by state, as well as locally, so it’s crucial to have trusted legal counsel guiding you.

In case you weren’t aware, it’s also crucial to let your candidate know what information you’ll be collecting from them ahead of time, along with sharing your findings. They have a right to challenge anything you retrieve, and if you violate those rights, you could find yourself in a very sticky legal situation.

Background Check Red Flags: The Bottom Line

If keeping track of all this feels daunting, it probably should. Background checks can be an arduous, intensive process & verifying their results requires patience, focus and lots of time. For a faster & more reliable method, contact PeopleG2. Our award-winning team of experts knows all the legal ins-and-outs of your process, and can give you the best advice in the industry.

On top of that, our background check process is swift and conveniently delivered to you mobily. We even integrate our software with all the country’s top applicant tracking systems, making the experience as seamless as possible. Reach out today, and let PeopleG2 spot all the background check red flags for you, so you can focus on the candidates themselves, and on making your team the very best that it can be.

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