Avoid Common Background Check Mistakes During The Hiring Process

Hiring new employees is a big, risky investment in your company. Investopedia reports that recruiting costs can be as high as $3,500, and training costs run organizations over $1,000 per employee per year. One study conducted by the Harvard Business School estimated that mid-level employees don’t provide companies with ROI on hiring costs until at least the six-month mark, making it critical for companies to hire the right people the first time. One way to ensure you hit the mark in hiring decisions is to avoid common background check mistakes.

Don’t Forgo Comprehensive Background Checks

Not doing a background check — or not taking the time to run a complete background check — is one of the most common reasons employers end up hiring people that don’t work out. A comprehensive background check not only checks for problems in criminal or credit reports, but it lets you gage whether someone will blend with company culture. It also lets you verify that the person truly has the skills required to do the job. A complete background check should include criminal and civil reports, but might also include both business and personal reference checks and a review of the applicant’s online and social media presence.

Don’t Rely on Computers Alone

Organizations increasingly rely on automated tools to streamline hiring processes and combat the expense of recruiting. Online application systems have replaced paper resume processes in many organizations — even small businesses are asking for resumes via email and using filters on career and networking sites to find possible candidates. Integrating technology into your hiring processes is a great idea, but don’t rely on computers alone for background checks. Computers can quickly mine data from numerous resources, but a human should always review the data and make a final decision. Human intervention might also be required to call references or review social media, because computers are not capable of making qualitative decisions about abstract ideas.

Don’t Ignore Legal Requirements

Employers are allowed to review a lot of information about potential candidates, including credit reports and criminal records. Under limited circumstances, employers might be able to review military, school and workers’ compensation records. Some information is a matter of public record, which means employers can access that data without permission from or notifying the candidate. Other records, such as credit reports, are not public record and employers must have written consent before requesting the information. State laws vary regarding what you can request and how you must inform the candidate; ignoring legal requirements can cause both civil and criminal legal issues for you and your company.

Don’t Take a Hard Stance on All Issues

You can’t take the human out of human resources. When working through the hiring process, understand that people are human — someone who made a mistake in the past might still be right for your position. While you have to draw the line at certain issues, especially in niches such as finance or health care, know that taking too hard of a stance on all issues could limit your hiring pool unnecessarily and make it harder — and more expensive — to find a qualified applicant.

Background checks are only one piece of the hiring process, but they are critical to the success of both your business and the people you hire. Take time to do comprehensive background checks so you can save money by hiring right the first time.


Christian Moore is the COO at Global Verification Network. Christian obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Saint Bonaventure University, located in New York and his Masters of Business Administration degree from Holy Family University in Philadelphia. He has more then 20 years of investigative and business experience with competencies including surveillance, competitive intelligence, pre-employment and course-of-employment background screening.