The Importance of Background Checks During the Interview Process

HR Resource
September 28, 2012 — 3,058 views  
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Background checks are important for many reasons. Employers must safeguard company assets by ensuring the integrity of employees. Employers can maintain a positive reputation and build trust within the company. 

Additionally, on-boarding and training is a costly and time consuming process. A thorough background check helps to ensure the best person is hired. Discrepancies in job applications and resumes are highlighted during a background check before a job offer is accepted. Background checks can help to illuminate the values that are important to the company’s success.

A thorough background check is essential to verify information a job applicant provides on the resume and application form. Verification ensures the information is accurate and could prevent a potential applicant from falsifying information. A human resource representative should have an interview candidate sign a waiver granting permission to check information. 

The type of information verified may depend on the position. Typically, employers should check information regarding former employers, personal and professional references, education credentials and court records. Some employers also check the credit rating of applicants, especially if the position is within the financial sector.

Other employers might require pre-employment drug testing. This is especially true if the job requires operating heavy machinery. Drug testing is also part of the background check process when the employer participates in drug-free workplace programs.

The advent of social media has introduced additional forms of background checks. Employers might decide to peruse social networking sites to determine the character of job applicants.

Gathering information during a background check helps employers make informed hiring decisions. Background checks are a cost-effective way to improve the selection process. Relying solely on instinct could result in hiring a job applicant who is unqualified. The company will lose money by hiring the wrong person; additional costs are required to begin the recruitment process anew. 

While employers need to know who they are hiring, background checks cannot violate federal and state laws. Most laws only permit checks that are relevant to the position for which the job applicant is applying.

The job market is flooded with talented – and not so talented – applicants. Many companies become inundated with resumes for open positions. Further, most applicants will gloss over previous work experience and put their best foot forward during an interview. 

This overshadows potential problems if a job offer is made and accepted. Companies can avoid hiring setbacks with a thorough background check before making an offer. Organization of standard procedures for conducting background checks can help to streamline the hiring process.

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