Behind the Scenes of Background and Reference Checks

Posted · Add Comment

When a candidate applies for a position, their potential employer may engage a background check company to help them ensure that the candidate is the best person for the job.

Background checks including reference checks will vary from employer to employer, and from one background screening provider to another, so for simplicity’s sake, let’s take a look at background and reference check scenarios that employers commonly request from a full-service background check firm.

Once an employer has requested a background and a reference check from a third-party provider, that agency may begin by initiating verification’s of employment history, education and credentials checks, if requested by the employer, as well as simultaneously contacting references the candidate has provided.

When requested for candidates working in certain positions, the employer may also ask the agency to provide a report detailing the candidate’s credit history.

Employment History Verification

Using phone or email to directly contact the previous employer, or by using the employer’s designated automated verification service, the agency may verify these facts:

  • Start and end dates of employment
  • Position / job title
  • Salary (when requested by the employer and provided by the company)

Usually the firm will confirm as many employers as required per its customers’ package settings and will document the name and title of the person who supplied the employment information.

The researcher who verified the employment may note the verification with a comment.

The background screening provider may utilize a proprietary database as well as online research to contact an employer.

If the candidate has supplied a contact number, the background check company may use this number if it can authenticate it is a valid business line.

Throughout the process, the verifier will attempt to contact the employer at different times each day.

If the agency needs more info, it may reach out to the candidate and may ask for other means of employment validation, including W2’s or paycheck stubs.

Employment information typically is verified for employment history over the last seven years, but the background check company can attempt to verify further back if necessary.

Education and Credential Verification

While the employment check is occurring, a separate team may simultaneously verify the candidate’s education history.

This component is important to employers as it contains the most-commonly falsified information by candidates on resumes and job applications.

Educational institutions high school and above may be contacted to validate:

  • Name of school
  • Dates of attendance
  • Major area of study
  • Diploma, degree or credential awarded
  • Date awarded

The agency may contact the candidate to obtain necessary documentation (usually a copy of their degree or certificate) that will either provide additional information to continue the investigation and be provided to the school for authentication.

Professional Reference Checks

The background check provider may offer a professional reference check service based on the contact information for colleagues and coworkers listed on the application.

Interviewers handling reference check questions can contact individuals to get an assessment of the candidate’s capabilities and work record in accordance with client’s guidelines.

Typical questions may include:

  • What was the working relationship you had with this person? Length of time worked with?
  • How would you describe their interpersonal skills?
  • What would you say motivated the individual most?
  • What would you say are their strongest attributes?
  • Would you rehire/recommend for rehire?

Verification’s are a critical component of the background check process.

Third-party background check providers attempt to deliver speed, and must ensure accuracy to make the experience – for candidate and employer alike – the best experience possible.

The Basics of Background Checks in the United States [Infographic]
The Basics of Background Checks in the United States [Infographic]
The Basics of Background Checks in the United States [Infographic]

Most employers conduct some sort of background check before hiring a new employee.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to prospective employees, but sometimes it is if they’ve never been through a verification before.

For some candidates, this can be a daunting stage of the job seeking process and they may have a lot of questions.

To help answer some basic questions and ease candidates’ minds, we’ve put together this infographic as a tool for you to share with them.

Download Now

Lewis Lustman

Lewis Lustman is a content marketer who enjoys developing materials that engage, inform, challenge, and hopefully entertain my audience. Lewis is a former journalist for Los Angeles Magazine and the Los Angeles Times, and has worked for a number of leading advertising, marketing, technology, and PR firms over the years. Interested in a topic that he hasn't yet tackled? Drop him a line in the comments section!

More Posts

Follow Me:
Twitter

Comments

comments


The HireRight Blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be comprehensive, and is not a substitute for and should not be construed as legal advice. HireRight does not warrant any statements in the HireRight Blog. Any statutes or laws cited herein should be read in their entirety. You should direct to your own experienced legal counsel questions involving your organization’s compliance with or interpretation or application of laws or regulations and any additional legal requirements that may apply.