The Advantages of Pre-Employment Background Checks

by Kristine Tucker

Pre-employment background checks are advantageous to employers because they often reveal criminal activity that might otherwise have been missed. A background check also helps an employer analyze an applicant's history based on information that doesn't usually surface on a resume or in a job interview. Conducting a pre-employment background check enables a hiring manager to screen out questionable candidates before investing time or money in interviews, training or personal reference checks.

Criminal Record

Pre-employment background checks are designed to detail a job applicant's criminal past. Even if the offenses are relatively small, such as unpaid parking tickets, the violations usually show up in the check. Employers can eliminate candidates with a criminal past if they're concerned the violations could negatively affect the company, clients or co-workers. According to Forbes, job applicants must sign official release forms, receive information about their rights and be notified of the results of their background checks.


A pre-employment background check is advantageous because it reveals whether an applicant has been honest on his resume and job application. According to "Inc." magazine, employers run background checks to verify previous employment, education, Division of Motor Vehicle violations and federal or county violations. A thorough investigation helps an employer determine whether an applicant is honest about her career and academic accomplishments. It also shows if an applicant has demonstrated integrity in her financial and civic duties. In some cases companies hire a professional background-check company to verify an applicant's education and employment records.

Questionable Claims

The U.S. Small Business Administration encourages employers to run pre-employment background checks to determine if an applicant has unfavorable marks on his credit report, medical conditions that might limit his ability to perform on the job, or workers' compensation claims. Once again, applicants must sign release forms for an employer to run a credit check or review past medical records. Workers' compensation appeals are public record.

Social Networks

Employers can conduct their own pre-employment background check by reviewing an applicant's social networking sites. A potential job candidate who has inappropriate pictures plastered all over his web page or makes distasteful comments on his or other people's social networking sites might be a potential hiring risk. Even though an employer's review of social networking sites isn't an official background check, it provides valuable insight into how an employee can conduct himself on the job. Employers can compare employment dates and titles for discrepancies and learn about a candidate’s communication skills and level of professionalism.

About the Author

As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.

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