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4 Mistakes Employers Make when Running Background Checks

December 19, 2017

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Background checks allow employers to know prospective employees in-depth before they hire them. There are many platforms available to conduct a background check, offering different options for checking a person’s public records. There are a lot of sites nowadays that may offer a background check free trial and also, getting an online background check can be quick and easy when going through the right service.

Unfortunately, many employers end up making mistakes, either by negligence or ignorance, that could hinder them from finding a suitable candidate. In this article, we’re going to expose some of the most common mistakes employers make when performing a background check.

Background Checks: 4 Mistakes Employers Make | A laptop computer sitting on top of a table

Bad Timing

Too many employers make the mistake of running a background check right after the first interview. This doesn’t really allow you to know the employee’s skills, aptitudes, and personality. A blemish on a criminal record might put you off, but they don’t tell the full story. You should wait until the end of the interviewing process before you decide to run the background check. This will allow you to know the candidate more in-depth and see if their aptitudes trump their criminal history.

Solely Relying on National Databases

“National” criminal databases are often nothing but glorified scams. It’s still surprising to see how many employers trust these services as the primary and only source for information. You should get information from as many sources as you can, including California White Pages if you live in the state of California. The more sources you have, the more the chances you’ll be able to catch something one database may have missed.

Background Checks: 4 Mistakes Employers Make

Not Thinking of Employment Laws

As an employer, there are some laws that you need to respect concerning background checks. Before you perform a background check, you have to understand the laws surrounding them in your state. You should also know on which grounds you can reject a candidate.

You cannot systematically reject a prospective employee for any and every issue. If you do find a blemish on their criminal record, you can only reject the candidate if you feel the offense could interfere with their work. If their offense is in no way related to their ability to perform, then you have no choice by law but to consider them.

Please note that you are also obligated by law to tell any candidate that you will perform a background check on them and get explicit permission. You also have to tell them for which reason you will do so. If your company handles lots of money or works with children, then a background check has to be performed to make sure you don’t pick an inappropriate candidate.

Mistaken Identity

You’d be surprised to know how many times employees end up mistaking the background check of a candidate with another. This could cause many issues and lead you to hire the wrong candidate for the job. Some applicants may also provide bad information, so be on the lookout for that.


As you can see, there is much more to the background screening process than simply entering someone’s name in a database. Whatever you do, make sure that you do not commit any of the mistakes above if you want to get a clear picture of who you’re hiring.

Background Checks: 4 Mistakes Employers Make | A laptop computer sitting on top of a table

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