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The Importance of Background Checks

It is estimated that around 80 percent of employers perform a criminal background check, while 30 percent conduct some kind of credit check. An entire background check can cover just about any aspect of an applicant’s life including driving record, bankruptcy, credit score and drug test records, as well as their criminal record. Larger companies are more likely to perform this check, but just about any size company considers the average $50 fee to be well worth it.

One reason why employee background checks are important is that not all job applicants are truthful, either at their interview, on their resume or on their application form. An estimated 40% of the information on resumes is untrue, misrepresented or exaggerated and of course, if you are an employer looking for a particular skill or experience, you want the successful applicant to have that skill. Valuable time and money may then be wasted through training or rehiring. Most applicants want their resume to be as impressive as possible, and there is perhaps a fine line between having it accurate and having it embellished or fabricated.

There are other reasons to conduct a check into an applicant’s background. If your company routinely deals with large sums of money or confidential or personal information, you want to be sure that the employee you hire is both honest and discreet. Many employers understandably do not want to employ somebody with a criminal record – hence that often dreaded question on job application forms. Of course, if one of the job duties involves working with children, you do not want to hire somebody with a criminal record or a child abuse record. In addition, whether it is fair or not, statistically a person who has financial problems or a poor credit score is more likely to let their personal situation adversely affect their performance. No company likes high employee turnover and most employers consider a background check essential in determining whether an employee is more or less likely to quit.

The importance of employee background checks cannot be overestimated. Whereas not all applicants like the idea of a background check, to an employer needs to know the right hiring decision has been made and that the person chosen is truthful, reliable and experienced. Ultimately, the success of any company, large or small, largely depends on the people working for it and for this reason; background checks are probably here to stay.

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