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What Information is Needed for a Background Check

Background checks are essential for the security of any business. Dozens of industries require federal and state mandates for candidate history. As a hiring manager, you must ensure the information to complete a background check is accurate. Which raises the question, what information is needed for a background check? 

Here’s a quick read covering everything you need to know about getting the info for background checks.

What Information Do I Need from Candidates to Do a Background Check?

You’ll need a candidate’s personally identifying information to do a background check. That includes the following:

  • Full legal name
  • Social security number
  • Current and past addresses
  • License number
  • Professional licenses and education certification 
  • Birthday
  • Job History

Remember that you’ll need security measures to prevent a candidate’s personal info from being stolen. You may be liable if a candidate’s private info is stolen from your records. Integrating background check APIs is one of the easiest ways to add a security layer. You can run various background checks with a candidate’s info. 

How to Conduct a Background Check

Now that you have the information, here’s how to conduct a background check.

Understand the Laws

Federal mandates like the Fair Credit Reporting Act or FCRA and Fair Chance Hiring practices impact background checks. For example, under fair chance hiring, employers can’t search criminal records until an official offer has been made. The FCRA requirements mean that you have to supply a candidate with the history you pulled and let them know what in their history was the reason your company didn’t extend a job offer. This is just the tip of the iceberg. A savvy hiring manager will consult with their legal department to understand if hiring laws impact your industry. 

Pulling background checks without understanding the law may result in your company landing in legal trouble. Do your research and ensure your background check process is well within compliance. 

Get Consent

Getting permission from your candidate to have their background check run is essential. It’s worth noting that background check consent forms must be on a separate form with clearly stated point and purpose. For example, you can’t combine the job application and background check consent form onto one screen/paper. Just remember, getting consent is a time for clear language. Creating a background check consent form is best done by a legal department. You can find forms online, but we wouldn’t recommend them.

Collect Personal Information

Once you understand the laws and have gotten consent, it’s time to collect a candidate’s personal information. If you have a background check API, the info will automatically be ready to send to your provider. 

Use FCRA Compliant Background Check Services

FCRA violations can cost up to $1,000 per occurrence and can open a business up to additional costs and punitive damage if it’s proven that a company’s willful negligence in FCRA compliance negatively impacted a candidate. That means FCRA violations drain resources, tie you up in legal limbo, and tarnish your business reputation.

Partner with a trusted provider like KarmaCheck to ensure an FCRA violation nightmare doesn’t become a reality.

Review Results

Focus on relevant information when you review background check results. If you’re hiring for a role that doesn’t involve driving, then it’s probably not the end of the world if your candidate has a few speeding tickets in the past. With all the information in a complete background check, getting caught up on data you don’t need is easy. Discuss with other hiring managers and department heads to determine the most relevant information.

Give Candidates a Chance to Explain

Not every candidate has a squeaky-clean past, and you may find that your perfect candidate did some imperfect things. Reading what happened in their past is sometimes different from knowing the truth. Let your candidates explain why the red flag in their history is there and why it won’t affect their employment. It could be because they were young, had a hard time, or made a one-time mistake. Plus, giving your potential employee a chance to explain their red flag will likely improve candidate hiring experience – an important metric for finding the right fit for the role. 

Just remember that there are certain things that you legally cannot ask a potential employee. That includes but isn’t limited to asking them about their current drug use, age and genetics, healthcare needs and history, etc.

Make a Decision

The time to make a decision is here, and with the data you’ve obtained from a reliable, FCRA-compliant background check, you can make an informed decision. Additionally, it’s a good idea to save other qualified candidates on file just in case your first hire doesn’t work out or if you plan to hire additional people in the same role. Even though you may need to do another background check in the future, you’ll already have a clear overview of who the person is and how their goals align with your company.

How KarmaCheck Can Help

KarmaCheck provides businesses with the information they can use to make smart hiring decisions, stay compliant, and build a cutting-edge workforce. We offer every type of background check your business needs and with fast turnaround times that you can rely on. Reach out today to explore your options!


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