Background checks are a valuable tool for businesses and individuals. Companies that offer this type of service gather information about a person whom you are interested in and send you a report of it.
Many often use these services for personal use to know more about their neighbors or household staff like nannies or to find lost family members or friends. For this type of background check, you don’t need the permission of the person in question.
For businesses, it is a different story — the person in question needs to give permission for you to conduct a background check, preferably in writing. They also have the right to know what information the report includes and give them a chance to explain anything that may hinder you from hiring them. You also must let them know, in advance, which company you use to conduct the background check.
In addition to the two most common types of background checks, there are also:
- References. This is the most common type of background check used by employers but is also popular in the car rental industry. Run this check to know more about a person’s personality, get feedback from their family and friends, and even find out what previous coworkers and teachers of the person have to say about them;
- Education and employment. See if the information a person presents on their resume is true and complete;
- Criminal records. - Find out a person’s criminal history including active warrants, arrest information as well and if a person is a convicted felon;
- Credit check. Find out the financial history of a person — mostly used by banks, credit card, rental car, and insurance companies;
- Identity. Check to see if the person is who they say they are;
- Civil records. These shows data about civil cases in which a person have been involved;
- Driving history. Get a person’s driving record — if they have been involved in accidents and if their driver’s license has been suspended.
Background checks have become ever more popular over the past few years. Almost all personal data is a matter of public record and is available either for free or at a very small cost from local institutions. However, for one person to check every state or county’s records to collect all of the information would take a considerable amount of time. Thus, companies offering background checks aggregate this data for you so you only need to make a single request. However, this means that information more than 10 or 20 years old likely won’t be included because it has not been digitalized.
To pay attention
Pretty much every company offering background checks will claim that their reports are entirely complete, but this isn’t always true. Information that is more than ten years old may not be included. You also will not be able to get certain information without the individual’s permission. So be aware while you may found out some useful information, you may end up not having all the information available.
You should also make sure to pay attention to the company’s payment plans. Most of these services offer subscriptions, though this may not be a great deal for you if you don’t need to conduct background checks often. If that is the case, consider paying per request.