How a Background Check Can Protect Small Businesses From Costly Mistakes

When most people think about background checks, they may rationalize them as only needed for big businesses that have departments dedicated to verifying different aspects of organizational dealings such as contracts, business partners, and potential hires. Others will ponder the costs of performing them and may not consider it as a possibility for their situation or scenario. Nevertheless, background checks can help protect a business from making mistakes. Furthermore, the cost of such an action is minimal when compared to the high cost of repercussions arising from hiring the wrong person or bringing in a business partner that possibly hid some important facts.

Why check?

Countless stories of businesses hiring individuals who have been fired, sued, and prosecuted for committing crimes including sexual offenses, forgery, theft, credit card fraud, defrauding the elder, and others are much too common. Imagine hiring someone who knowingly embezzled money from previous employers, crossed state lines, and now has your company insight. Unfortunately, this scenario is not as uncommon as one might think.

When such a case plays out, the cost of conducting a background check ends up being minimal compared to the possible damages that can result from such a nightmare hire. The fact is that business owners owe it to themselves, their shareholders, partners, and honest employees to ensure that they understand who they are hiring and who they are doing business with.

What to Check For?

There are very inexpensive background checks readily available online. However, what exactly are you paying for? While low prices may tempt anyone, understand that these types of providers are most likely using national databases that have major gaps in their checks given that states may not participate in such databases. Given the information from the example above, if someone crosses state lines, these offenses may not show up in the search. Therefore, make sure to understand what the service that you are paying for includes in terms of records. A comprehensive background check, although at a higher price, will provide a deeper search that can include social security number verification, county and state criminal records, sex offender lists, address and employment verification, alias searches, driving records, drug screening, international searches, credit checks, and even reference list interviews.

How to select a provider

There are multiple factors in selecting a quality service provider including price, service style, compliance, offer, quality, and technology. Some companies, such as those with backgrounds in private investigations, can go as far as conducting an asset search that is perfect for businesses involved in litigations or bankruptcies. The selection depends greatly on needs and budget. However, do not let money alone determine a provider. Instead, look for quality and transparency. Ask for the type of results that the company provides and see how willing the company is to adjust the screening style based on your specific needs.

Whoever you select should fall in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and must be accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). Keep in mind that the level of risk in the hire should determine the level of depth of the investigation. Hiring a low-level employee, although important, is less risky than hiring a Chief Information Officer (CIO). Therefore, the more access that an employee will have should automatically warrant a more comprehensive background check. Ultimately, it is best for businesses to take their time and do their due diligence to ensure that the right person, with the verified credentials, and the needed ethical background is welcomed to your team.