Why You Should Background Check for Freelancers

For many companies, background checks have become common practice when hiring full-time and even part-time employees. From criminal history checks, to driving record searches and even drug screenings, there’s a host of options for employers looking to protect company assets, prevent future legal issues, and ensure a harmonious workplace for everyone there.

However, freelancers rarely receive the same scrutiny from employers when it comes to hiring time. The reasons for this may vary, but tend to always come back to budgetary concerns. The prevailing wisdom is that running a background check on an employee who may only be around for a short while isn’t worth it, financially. But the fact is, when it comes to freelancers, not running a background check may prove far more costly in the long run.

Different Employees, Same Liability

Just because an employee only works with you on a temporary basis doesn’t mean that you’ll be any less liable when they’re working for you, in the event that anything unforeseen transpires. You can still also be held accountable for their actions in the office – particularly actions against other employees, full-time or otherwise.

Protect the company from liability by making sure everyone working for you has been properly vetted. If an encounter between employees results in harassment or outright violence and assault, and the freelancer involved turns out to have a criminal history, you could easily be held responsible for their actions in court.

By running a full and complete background check on the freelancers working for you, you can mitigate these risks and take strides toward protecting yourself. A future lawsuit against the company will be a lot more expensive than conducting a simple background check right now.

Access to Information

Many freelancers share the same access to sensitive company data that full-time employees have. Even in cases where that access is limited by comparison, freelancers may still be able to obtain company secrets and classified information – or simply gain access to valuable behind-the-scenes practices that would be of interest to your competitors.

Liability would once again fall firmly in the employer’s camp. The messy fallout from company secrets leaking could easily be mitigated by running a background check on the freelancer in question before ever hiring them. It’s an easy step that protects company secrets, and protects the hiring manager (or HR department) in equal measure.

What Kind of Background Check Should Be Conducted?

The short answer here is: probably all the same screenings you’d run for other employees. But hiring freelancers comes with very specific risks. A criminal background check is obviously the place to start, across the board with all hires. But when it comes to hiring freelancers, some background checks that might otherwise be skipped over could be of quick and easy assistance:

  • Criminal Background Checks – As with all of your other employees, a criminal background check is common sense. Particularly in the case of individuals who may not have a recent history of full-time employment, more than one search may be required. People G2 offers criminal background checks at the county, state, and national level, to better protect against individuals who may have moved around recently. We also offer 50-state sex offender searches, along with a specialized search for federal crime offenses, which are especially relevant in cases of sensitive financial information.
  • Identity Checks – When it comes to jobs acquired through identity theft, freelance positions are more likely to be targeted, thanks to their often temporary nature, and often less-scrutinized onboarding process. Running an identity check is a quick and easy way to weed out doubts and ensure the person you’re hiring is exactly who they say they are.
  • Social Media Screening – There’s no faster way to get the full story on a candidate than to check their social media history. If they have a record of posting sensitive information from other jobs, or are actively engaged in any activities that could be a potential liability while working for you, a social media screening will reveal all.

To Conclude

While freelancers often escape the full depth of a typical pre-employment screening, they’re still your employees, and still your responsibility. On top of that, the semi-temporary nature of the job may also attract many candidates who simply are not who they say they are – including those involved with flat-out identity theft.

Protect your company, your assets and most importantly – your other employees, by treating them much the same as you would any other candidate. If that involves any number of background checks, then screening them is a no-brainer. Just make sure whatever background check you’re running is done with total transparency, and in full accord with state, federal and local laws.

People G2’s team of experts is on hand to guide you through the process. We know which background checks are most useful when hiring freelancers, and even more importantly – we always know what information is legal to obtain amongst constantly-shifting rules and regulations. Reach out today to learn more, and make sure everyone in your office is on the same page – no matter how long they’re working for you.

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