What Is a Background Check?

A background check refers to the verification of information about a person before they are hired, in order to validate veracity and accuracy.

What Are the Different Types of Background Checks?

The different types of background checks include:

  • Criminal record
  • Education
  • Professional experience
  • Credit history
  • Identity
  • Social media verification
  • References from former employers

What Are the Most Common Background Checks?

The most common background checks are criminal records, educational background and professional experience.

An employer can request access to this information to confirm that an employee does not represent a risk to the company.

What Information Can an Employer Access During a Background Check?

A background check gives an employer access to a wealth of information to suit their needs. The employer must first obtain the candidate’s agreement before proceeding.

Once the candidate’s agreement has been obtained, the employer can contact organizations or individuals to validate the information required.

For example, the employer may contact a former employer to confirm the work experience described by a candidate. They can also access criminal records or validate credit with banking institutions.

How Long Does an Employee Background Check Take?

An employee background check can take varying amounts of time, depending on the information required. Typically, background checks take 3 to 5 business days to complete, due to the time required to contact the various organizations or resource persons.

Does a Background Check Give Access to a Candidate’s Education?

The content of a background check depends on an organization’s objectives. For example, if a company wishes to verify that the candidate’s education is valid, it will need to request access to documents that prove the candidate’s education, such as an official diploma or transcript.

How Many Years Does a Background Check Go Back?

Most background checks go back 7 to 10 years in a candidate’s life. For example, criminal record checks typically include the last 10 years of a candidate’s life, while professional experience checks generally go back as far as 7 years.

The number of years that can be included in a background check may be governed by legislation in some countries. Employers must therefore ensure that they comply with the relevant legislation when carrying out a background check.

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