what can be uncovered in an employment background checkWhat can be revealed in an employment background check?

An employment background check can reveal some critical information about an applicant that is about to work in your company.  A typical employment background check will be focused on uncovering criminal records belonging to the applicant.

Criminal records are what most people think of when they think of a pre-employment background check.

However, criminal record are really just the starting point for employment background checks.  A thorough background check will also involve a Social Security Number (SSN) trace to reveal the states and counties that the applicant has resided in.  This directs the background screening researcher to be sure to look at county level criminal and or civil records in those counties.

A driving record search conducted through the DMV in the state where the applicant maintains a license is also part of many employment background checks.  The driving record will pull up any and all accidents, violations and convictions that occurred anywhere in the state where the license is maintained and in states that cross report records.  As an example a violation for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) that occurred in Arizona would show on the driving record of an applicant possessing a California Drivers License.

Pre-employment background checks can also tell a potential employer if the applicant has been honest about prior work history. Employment verifications play a critical role in the background screening process.  It is very common for applicants to lie or exaggerate when it comes to their work history.

Education verifications are another component of an employment background check that helps to gauge the credibility and credentials of the applicant.

There are numerous other searches and databases that can be searched in the course of an employment background check that will uncover information about the credibility of the applicant that are mentioned below;

  • Sex Offender Registry
  • OFAC (Office of Foreign Asset Control)
  • Healthcare Sanctions / Fraud
  • Wants & Warrants
  • Professional License Verifications
  • Patriot Act Watch List
  • Denied Person List
  • OIG (Office of Inspector General)
  • General Services Administration Excluded Parties System List
  • National Security & Terrorism Watch Lists
  • Federal Criminal Searches
  • Federal Civil Searches
  • Bankruptcy, Judgments, Liens
  • Credit Report


There are tons and tons of searches that can be conducted that will reveal information about an applicant.  As an employer it is vital that you set up customized employment background screening packages that are in compliance with state and federal (FCRA) rules. Also, you want to be sure that you employment background checks are comprehensive enough to meet compliance requirements, but not so in depth that they become cost prohibitive and take weeks and weeks to complete

If you have any suggestions or questions, please let me know.