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how to get a background check for employment

Are you devising a background check policy for your business or deciding who to hire as a contractor? A criminal background check is a common component of any personnel decision. In official employment capacities and less formal arrangements alike (such as hiring a babysitter), it is standard for criminal history records checks to form part of the decision-making process. Read on to learn how to get a background check in these situations and others.

Criminal Background Checks on Friends, Neighbors, and Dates

At Blinkx, one of our services is the ability to run a background check on friends, neighbors, or colleagues. This search, which is made possible thanks to a partnership with Peoplefinders, can yield criminal records, public record information, contact details, and other facts about the people in your life. However, an important caveat to note here is that this background check service is not intended for professional situations. 

For example, imagine you’ve recently met someone through an online dating platform and want to learn more about them. You have every right to use a Peoplefinders check to do an informal background check in this situation. Simply type in their name and location to activate a record request. 

On the other hand, if a personnel decision is at stake, you will need to comply with relevant legislation with your background checks. Perhaps you’re hiring an employee for an open position at your business. Maybe you’re thinking about promoting a worker from within, vetting other existing employees randomly for retention purposes. Perhaps you’re screening a potential babysitter. All these situations qualify as more formal personnel decisions, and the Peoplefinders search is not the appropriate background check for those searches.

Criminal Background Checks for Employment

So, how do you get a criminal background check if you need to conduct a more formal employment-related process? 

First, as you start considering how to use background checks for critical hiring decisions, remember that legal standards and regulations will influence your process. If you plan to use criminal background check information, you should review the legal stipulations and guidelines of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

For instance, the FCRA requires that you notify candidates before looking into their backgrounds. This notification must be provided in writing, and the candidate must give their written consent before you can proceed. There are even strict guidelines about how these disclosures and consent forms must be presented. Make sure that you’re following these requirements to the letter to avoid legal trouble.

The EEOC, meanwhile, instructs employers to conduct background checks consistently for all candidates. For instance, you cannot run a background check on a minority applicant if you did not also run one for a candidate who was Caucasian.

Finding Your Criminal Background Check Source

At Blinkx, we provide a variety of background check products intended to help employers learn more about their prospective employees. We also maintain a Learning Center where you can read about different facets of background checks. Our content explores a range of topics, including legal compliance, different types of background checks, and background check laws that vary from one part of the country to the next. All Learning Center content is freely accessible to all.

Our site is meant to be intuitive, and we hope you find it to be a helpful resource as you figure out your background check needs and obligations. You can expect a simple, user-friendly process, whether you require county criminal background checks, employment verifications, or driving record checks. If you have questions about the background checks we provide, please contact us directly.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is social media background verification? Some companies use social media checks to learn more about their candidates’ day-to-day lives. Experts say these checks are a legal slippery slope, as they can reveal information about a person that employers aren’t allowed to consider in hiring decisions. Details revealed on social accounts – such as sexual orientation or political leanings – can compromise a hiring manager’s ability to be objective and fair.
  • How can I find out if someone ran a background check on me? Employers are legally required to notify you in formal hiring situations before looking into your background. There is no way to know if someone is searching your public records in less formal cases like online dating.
  • Are there any free background checks? While free background check services exist, they typically utilize outdated and incomplete databases. Thorough background checks are more involved and can even require in-person visits to county courthouses. These steps cost money, hence the price tag on most reputable background checks. 
  • How can you pass a criminal background check? Even having a criminal record does not necessarily equate to a “failed” background check. A growing number of employers are willing to hire convicted felons. The best way to “pass” a background check is to show that you are qualified for the job and that your past doesn’t define you.
  • What do companies check for in a background check? In addition to criminal history records, background checks can look at employment history, education, professional licenses and credentials, driving records, credit history, and more.
    Is a credit check part of a background check? 
  • Some employers do include a credit history check as part of the hiring process. These checks are particularly common in the world of finance. However, there has been a legislative push in some parts of the country to ban credit history checks for jobs. Given that many people live with substantial student loan debt or medical-related debt, the growing consensus is that poor credit should not be a barrier to employment.