With more people looking for jobs today, there is a major problem presenting itself for employers. Employees who are applying for jobs are lying about important aspects of their lives. In most cases, the truth may be a disqualifying factor. To avoid the hassle of hiring an unfit employee, it’s important to conduct a background check.

According to the ADP’s 2009 Hiring Index:

  • 46% of the 1.7 million applicants reviewed had discrepancies in their resume’s employment, credentials, education or reference checks sections.
  • 37% of applicants had discrepancies traffic violations or convictions.
  • 6% of applications had discrepancies in criminal records

While not all applicants lie about convictions, others may fabricate details that make them look more appealing, which is commonly called resume padding. It’s important to be able to identify both omissions and lies.

Understanding What Is In a Background Check

Not all background checks are the same, in fact there are hundreds of online services that advertise cheap and fast background checks. But these checks often are found to haveEmployer’s Background Check limited data. Due to this, it is best to use state resources.

How To Perform a Background Check

Usually, the office of the Highway Patrol is the best place to begin a search. Some jobs require a prospective employee to manage a budget and handle money. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to request a credit check also. It’s important to have the applicant’s:

  • SSN
  • Date of Birth
  • Any last names or aliases they’ve used in the past 10 years

Be sure to have the applicant’s approval before performing a background check. Social media sites can also be beneficial when researching a potential employee. Though people may make fictitious profiles and claims on social media sites, so this information shouldn’t replace what is available on a background check. Only in certain cases will these discrepancies raise a red flag against a potential employee.

Be specific in what information you decide to verify with a background check or credit check, and only perform those checks when there is a direct correlation with job duties. If an applicant will be caring for individuals, it’s important to verify that they don’t have any past charges of abuse, assault or neglect. Always use common sense to determine which bits of information need to be verified.

Employer Reference Considerations

Verifying employment and inquiring about an applicant’s work ethic with a previous employer is important. Look up the number using a reliable source to verify the number. Although it isn’t common, sometimes applicants provide erroneous phone numbers that may not belong to the previous employer they listed. Instead, they’ll supply the number to a friend. Once on the call, be sure to ask pointed and concise questions to the applicant’s previous employer. The following questions are good examples:

  • What are the application’s strengths?
  • How does the applicant deal with stress and conflict?
  • In what ways could the applicant improve?
  • How do the applicant’s skills with other team members rank?

The best time to perform a background check is after extending an offer for employment. It’s always a good idea to state upfront in the job posting that a background check will be performed for qualified applicants. This is usually effective in discouraging applicants from lying on their application. The most important thing to remember is to always obtain an applicant’s written permission before ordering a background or credit check for them. This applies to all industries, not just insurance.