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What Does a Background Check Show

Choices choices. As a hiring manager, the most crucial choice you make is choosing the right candidate. It’s not a stretch to say that hiring managers help shape the future of their organization in a big way. But, take a breather and understand there’s a resource to make your job easier—background checks. Up to 82% of companies use background checks to foster a safe environment, improve retention rates, and more. And yet, despite all the benefits of background checks, we still get asked the same question. “What does a background check show?” 

Here’s every type of background check and how to leverage them within your organization. 

Types of Background Checks

Each of the six main types of background checks serves specific functions. And only some businesses utilize all six. However, getting as much information as possible is good practice before hiring. Believe us when we say your gut feeling can only go so far. Back up your instincts with data to support your decision. For example, a cab company or any organization with business vehicles should consider a Motor Vehicle Record. That includes smaller operations like food delivery and rideshare startups. 

Plus, there are tons of industries where background checks are government mandated. That means running the proper background checks helps protect your organization from lawsuits. That’s no small benefit considering tons of big-name companies have faced multimillion-dollar lawsuits from cutting corners on background checks. 

What Shows Up On a Background Check

The best answer to what shows up on a background check? Everything. The second best answer? Everything any hiring manager needs to make an informed choice. Here’s the breakdown.

Personal Information

Personal information is a broad term that includes everything from old addresses, social security numbers, phone numbers, date of birth, etc. 

Criminal Records

Chances are that if you’re googling what criminal backgrounds show, you have one, or you’re a hiring manager asking the right questions. The fact is criminal records show the last seven years on average of a person’s criminal history. Some states, jobs, and individual organizations do searches beyond the seven-year average. The data will be in the criminal record if a candidate has brushed arms with the law. That includes but isn’t limited to felonies, fraud, misdemeanors, and more.

Employment History

Employment history is a big deal, which is why people seem more likely to stretch the truth in this section. As an employer, you must get the truth. Run an employment history check to find out places they’ve worked and length of employment. However, employment histories don’t show why candidates left their previous jobs. Combining employment history with references is a good idea to better understand a candidate’s work ethic and efficiency. 


Whoever said the best things in life are free has clearly never had to earn a degree. Education history ensures the candidate you’re hiring is qualified to earn their paycheck. Education background checks show degrees, certifications, licenses, and more. It’s worth noting that an education check is government mandated in tons of industries. Considering how often hiring laws change, getting ahead of the curve and making education checks a standard in your organization may be a good idea. 

Civil Records

Civil records help paint a picture of a person’s life. These records include court disputes, marriages, divorces, etc. Businesses that hire contractors will be happy to learn that civil records also include contract disputes. Your favorite candidate may have a background of not finishing tasks or taking clients to court. Skip the headache. Check the civil records. 

Driving History

Driving history is more than a couple of speeding tickets. It also includes suspensions, DUIs, and accidents. Basically, everything you’ll want to know before letting the new hire drive the company van. Even if your business doesn’t have company vehicles, consider how often an employee may miss work due to court dates brought on by driving charges. Hit the brakes on hiring before checking the candidate’s driving history. 

Identity Verification

In a world of deep fakes, identity verification is becoming increasingly important. An ID check is standard across the board in countless industries, and for a good reason. ID verifications support the data gained from other background checks and give you a little peace of mind that your candidate is who they say. 

Credit History

Credit History includes current score, past debts, bankruptcies, and more. Sure, no candidate must have an 800 to qualify for a job. But, when weighed with other checks, a credit score can help reveal how a person handles responsibility and, in the case of cash-heavy businesses, how much money may mean to them. We can’t recommend a credit history check for every business. But trust us, when it matters, it really matters. Keep credit checks in your back pocket for future hiring decisions. 


References are the ultimate character check on a candidate. The best hiring managers collect a few different options. It’s not a red flag for beginner-level roles to have little to no references. But for high-stakes leadership roles requiring years of experience, not having at least a few people speaking on your behalf is a total red flag. Remember, combine references with the data from employment history to get the whole picture.

Social Media Profiles

When someone’s off the clock, they can do whatever they want. Unless that puts your organization in a bad light, use social media to ensure you don’t draw any bad press to your brand.

How KarmaCheck Supports You

At KarmaCheck, we provide you with trusted data in a quick, reliable turnaround time. The right choice is the informed choice. Get the information you need with KarmaCheck. Contact us today.


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