Are you an employer flipping through applications preparing to make a new hire for your current job opening? If so, not only will you need to look at the details on the papers; where they’ve previously worked, for how long, previous job titles and duties, references listed etc., but you will also need to do an accurate and thorough background check.
It may seem like an easy task; just give your background screening company your applicant’s name, date of birth, and social security number and let them do the rest! Unfortunately, it’s not that easy and if you really want your results to be accurate, then you should properly prepare for your request to be sent. First, you should always get a copy of your applicant’s state ID, drivers license, SSN card, or any other form of legal documentation. This will show their full, legal name which is very important! Don’t think that because he put “Bill” on his application that that’s how it should be ran for his criminal background. If you dig deeper, his legal name is most likely “William”. Or maybe “Anne” is actually “Henrietta’s” middle name and she chooses to go by it instead. She even puts it on her professional paperwork such as job applications. If you search “Bill” instead of “William” or “Anne” instead of “Henrietta” there is a large chance you will not get the results that you need for your applicant. This is a common mistake that employers unknowingly make on a regular basis. Most criminal court searches are based on name and DOB. Court records are public information and they do not list SSN’s for security reasons.
Secondly, do not guess! If you are unable to obtain legal forms from your applicant per company policy and cannot read the application clearly, contact him/her for the information that you need. You may still only be taking their word for it, but at least you have gone that extra step in assuring your screening process will be as accurate as possible. Another huge mistake in the background screening process is when employers guess that the DOB for example, says “01/18/1959” when it is actually “01/13/1959”. This is also true for the spelling of the applicant’s name. Just because it is close doesn’t mean it will get caught. If this person has a record, it will be under their correct date of birth and spelling of their name, not what you may have guessed it to be.
So as an employer making important decisions on hiring, please keep these details in mind. These simple, avoidable mistakes could result in you hiring a felon who does not belong in your executive opening.