What do Human Resources Managers Need to Know About Conducting Employment Background Checks?

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what-do-human-resources-managers-need-to-know-about-conducting-employment-background-checksEmployment background checks are an essential step for organizations to take when considering prospective candidates for positions. In many cases, human resources managers conduct these checks of various areas of a job candidates professional and personal lives in order to make a determination on which candidate will be best suited for employment.

Verification of Application Information

At the very start of the process for performing background checks on applicants, a human resource specialist or manager will often begin with the verification of information. A thorough check of an applicant’s background can help make determinations for the accuracy of everything listed on a resume. For jobs requiring a specific level of education, verifying a high school diploma, GED, or college-level degree or certificate is often the first step in the review of information included on an application or resume.

Additional verification might also be conducted to verify information given by a candidate for previous positions. Information that is often checked includes verification of employment, length of employment, position, promotions, and starting and ending salary amounts. With increasing guidelines and restrictions placed on the type of information a previous employer is able to provide, many human resources managers will also rely on references to gain insight about a prospective employee.


Human resources managers are also likely to get in touch with any references given by a candidate. This often includes professional references, including previous supervisors, co-workers, instructors, or coordinators. Personal reference checks also offer additional insight into the character traits of prospective candidates, often giving human resources managers a more well-rounded overview of who a candidate is in terms of strengths and weaknesses.

Physical Exams and Drug Screening

A physical examination might also be required as part of the employment background check process. This is most common in positions where there is a lot of physical activity. Some examples include law enforcement, nature guides, and athletic program coordinators.

Additionally, the majority of employers will require for all candidates to complete a drug screen. Human resources managers should consider whether or not a blood test or a hair sample test is most appropriate. This might also be dependent on position. A more accurate but more expensive hair test, for example, might be more appropriate for schools, medical care facilities, and government offices.

Criminal and Financial Background Checks

A criminal background checks and financial background checks are also helpful for human resources professionals to conduct in the employment process. Human resources managers and specialists should carefully consider whether or not a criminal background check is necessary based on the nature of the position and organization requirements and guidelines. Additional information on the use of criminal background checks can be found at the Society for Human Resource Management.

A financial background check can also offer insight about a potential employee, giving clues as to a person’s reliability or previous work history. It is also often a requirement to conduct this check when a candidate will be handling financial transactions from cashier jobs to accounting positions.

Human resources professionals are able to learn about applicants candidates through a number of different verification procedures. With the right combination of employment background checks, positions can be filled with the most well-suited candidates.

See also:  What is a Human Resources Generalist?