What's In a Background Check & Which Type is Best for Your Business?

September 7 2022
6 min read

In addition to being fast and accurate, a good background check will be customized to meet the needs of your organization and industry. That may beg the question: What screenings make up a background check, and which type of screening is best by industry? This article will provide some in-depth answers. First, we’ll look at the various screening tools available to you as part of a background check and the information they can reveal. Next, we’ll provide an overview of the types of screenings by industry, to help you determine which is right for you.

If you have more questions, Orange Tree’s dedicated support team would be glad to help. Schedule a free consultation today.

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Your Screening Options in a Background Check

A background check can include any of the following information and screening options:

  • Criminal Background Checks, in the form of national, federal, state, and county searches, can catch and flag felony or misdemeanor convictions, previous incarcerations, and pending criminal cases. Misdemeanors include crimes such as assault, shoplifting, and petty theft. Felonies are crimes such as murder, rape, and arson, and the sentences are longer.

    Criminal background checks are a must in almost every hiring process, but they are especially important for certain employers. (Find out which in the “Types of Background Checks by Industry” section below.)

  • Drug Testing such as urine, hair, and oral fluid testing can help determine whether a candidate may have a substance abuse problem. This could impair their performance and, depending on the job, jeopardize workplace safety and put others in harm’s way.

  • Employment Verifications help an employer verify the information in the résumé or application that they may have relied on to ensure the candidate is qualified for the position. In addition, they can identify discrepancies in the résumé or application such as gaps in a candidate’s work history. These checks can also confirm whether information about past and current positions and employers is reliable.

  • Education Verifications serve to confirm whether a candidate has accurately reported their degree, school, graduation date, field of study, and dates of attendance.

  • Professional License Verifications can corroborate whether a prospective employee has the appropriate credentials and licenses needed to work in a particular job or profession. Like criminal background checks, verification of state and/or nationally issued licenses is especially important in certain industries. Professional License Verification may be relevant to a job that requires certain professional credentials in order to be eligible for the position.

  • Professional Reference Verifications help to shed light on a candidate’s capabilities and performance history. Outreach to a former boss or colleague who may be listed as a reference can also provide helpful information about a candidate’s work ethic, experience, personality, and character traits.

  • A Social Media Screening can help further reduce employee risks like workplace violence, insider threats, and fraud. It can also give employers a better read on whether a new hire will be a good fit with their culture. With the help of cutting-edge technology, we can extract and analyze memes and posts for red flags that could indicate a drug problem, history of bullying, violence, self-harm, or other potential problems for employers.

  • A Consumer Credit Report can turn up revealing data about a candidate’s financial history and habits, including past and current trade accounts and lines of credit, as well as bankruptcy, accounts in collection, and some information about employment history. A pattern of fiscal responsibility may be relevant to the job you are looking to fill.

  • Driving History Checks can show whether a candidate has had traffic violations or DUIs on their record within the last three years. Information verified includes confirmation of the state issued, license number, license type, and the current status of the license. Driving History information may be relevant to a job that requires the employee to drive on behalf of the employer.

For more information about the above screenings and what they reveal, check out our blog about what a background check shows.

Types of Background Checks by Industry

The information collected in a background check should depend on an organization’s policies and the requirements of their industry or the specific position they are filling. Here are some general examples of how background checks might differ from one industry to another:

  • Healthcare– The healthcare industry usually must comply with rigorous state and federal laws that govern patient care and privacy including employee prescreening requirements and programs. The typical background check will therefore include an employment, education, and professional license check. These credentials and certifications are especially important when you’re looking to fill medical or clinical positions according to state and national requirements. An extensive criminal background check is also especially important if you’re hiring home health aides, caregivers, and individuals who will have contact with vulnerable populations.

  • Higher Education – Private colleges and universities have the dual concern of safety and reputation. They want to be a safe place for students, faculty, and staff, and to that end, can benefit from a criminal history and sometimes a social media screening. Institutions of higher education rely on the verified credentials of their faculty, so education and employment verifications, as well as reference checks and in some cases professional license verifications, are typical.

  • Manufacturing and Industrial – Workplace safety is a #1 priority for employers in this industry. The candidates you are hiring may be operating heavy equipment or dangerous machinery, so a criminal history, drug testing, employment verifications, and reference checks can help ensure you’re hiring someone responsible who will put safety first.

  • Retail – One of the biggest challenges that employers in the retail industry face is employee theft. By some estimates, it costs retailers as much as $50 billion annually, so a criminal check to help identify incidents of shoplifting or other theft is imperative. So is drug testing, to rule out the prospect of stealing to fund a drug or alcohol habit. Employment verifications are also recommended to help mitigate the problem of high turnover among retail employees.

  • Technology – This industry consists of many different business sectors, from computer science and information technology to aerospace, robotics, and telecommunications to others. After a criminal background check, the most important consideration is a candidate’s qualifications and whether they can perform well in a demanding job. Their education, employment, and professional reference verifications can help you make this determination.

  • Transportation – Like healthcare, the trucking and transportation industry is heavily regulated, in this case by the Department of Transportation and its sub-agencies, with requirements for drivers of commercial vehicles and individuals in other safety-sensitive positions. A regulated background check should comprise a drug and alcohol screening, past employment verification, driving history, and in some cases medical and physical exams. A criminal check is also necessary to ensure that the person who will be transporting your goods or working in a safety-sensitive position is trustworthy.

Which Background Check Is Right for You?

The above list is by no means exhaustive, but it helps to illustrate that there is no “one-size-fits-all” background check. The best background check will meet your specific needs. At Orange Tree, we offer a wide array of screening services to help you do that; and, because we can seamlessly integrate our technology with any ATS platform, you’ll get personalized results quickly and efficiently.

Wondering which background check is right for you? Schedule a meeting with our experts to learn more about how we can help.

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