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Background Check Do's and Don'ts

Top10.com Staff
Background Check Do's and Don'ts
Background checks are growing in popularity, and for good reason. They're a fast and convenient way for people to learn real facts about others without having to do much 'dirty work'.

And there's so much information that can be accessed via background checks, including:

  • Workers’ compensation
  • Bankruptcies
  • Medical records
  • School records
  • Military service

But there are guidelines and regulations for background checks that are intended to keep the process fair.

The problem is that background checks are broad. They cull a spectrum of information. This is actually necessary in today’s security conscious age. In regards to criminal records, the EEOC looks to target companies that exclude applicants with a criminal act in their past, regardless of how much time has passed since the incident or what the charge. In fact they are actively working with many communities to remove the, "Have you ever been convicted of a crime/felony?” box from applications.

Here are some Do's and Dont's to help you find the most accurate information:

Don't focus on one single act. Look for Consistency.

Pattern has to be given consideration when conducting a background check. A single act, good or bad, is not the most efficient way for measuring a person’s character or ability. Looking at consistency in patterns of behavior is a sensible way to make decisions about people and their potential.

Don't just look for the negative. See the person as a whole.

In that regard, a background check should not be utilized solely to find the negative. In general, people see background checks as a threat, a means for pinpointing embarrassing and harmful information. They need to be balanced and fair so a well informed decision can be made. It’s best to look for continued patterns of mistakes and mishaps, not single instances. People are inherently good and deserving of a second chance, and should be given one if they can reasonably explain a spot in their record.

Do use a professional background check service.

A professional service is likely the best way to process a background check. They can do a far better job. They can perform the service without bias in an accurate and efficient manner. They can also ensure that no one sees information that could be a violation of state or federal laws. On top of that, a broad – and legal – check can only be performed by a licensed firm. The Internet doesn’t have everything and everything isn’t necessarily public accessible.

Knowing what you’re getting into is understandable. It in a lot of ways, it’s become a necessity for assuring safety and protocol. As long as they are obtained and utilized fairly, background check services have a reason to be here.

Top10.com Staff
Top10.com's editorial staff is a professional team of editors and writers with dozens of years of experience covering consumer, financial and business products and services.

Note: Some or all background search services featured on this site are not subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 USC 1681 et seq., ("FCRA") In order to make decisions about consumer credit, employment, insurance, tenant screening, or any other purpose that would require FCRA compliance, make sure you choose the appropriate service for you. Be advised that only consumer reporting agencies may provide consumer reports. This is applicable, but not limited to, a background search, credit background check, criminal background check, and/or driving record.