It is now increasingly common for employers to complete a background check on potential applicants. Sometimes, they use free background checks for this, although they are not legally allowed to base their employment decisions on sources that haven’t been pre-approved. Most of the time, however, they will use a free check and then opt for a paid service if something does come up. At the same time, there continue to be a lot of employers who don’t truly understand what the checks are about.
What Are Free Background Checks for Pre-Employment?
By completing a background check, an employer will be able to determine whether a candidate is who they say they are. There is nothing stopping someone from lying on their resume or even during the interview, after all. However, when a background check is completed, an employer has the chance to find out whether or not that individual will be a good addition to the company.
Why Conduct a Background Check?
The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) has recently completed a study that demonstrated that around 50% of applications contain at least some inaccuracies, such as on past employment details and educational background. While, at times, these are simple mistakes or even white lies, there are times where they can be very serious. Hence, there are numerous reasons as to why an employer should consider a background check, including:
- Everybody lies on their resume. While that is perhaps a sweeping generalization, it is certainly true that people will try to paint themselves in an as positive light as possible. Sometimes, this means omitting or embellishing some of the information on the resume.
- Sometimes, people’s criminal past makes them unsuitable for the job. Someone who has been convicted of bank fraud, for instance, should not be offered a position to work directly with money again. Not every crime means automatic denial of work, however.
- Completing background checks is important for the protection of customers, employees, and the business as a whole. Sometimes, employers are potentially dangerous. Violent criminals, arsonists, sex offenders, and so on may all pose a serious risk to the public, including a business’ customers and employees. Employers have a responsibility to create a safe working and consuming environment and a criminal background check in particular is an essential element of that.
- Doing so keeps the business drug free. It is increasingly common for employers to also request drug screening tests for prospective employees. They will have to indicate whether they are currently taking any prescription medication as directed. Other things may also come up on a drug screening, however, which are not acceptable in the workplace. Alternatively, they may test positive for prescription drugs that they did not list in their resume.
These are just four reasons why employers will and should conduct background checks on prospective applicants. It ensures the safety of all involved, including the applicants themselves. Meanwhile, individuals may also consider these checks for their own protection.