The Value of Criminal Background Checks

When you need to fill a position there is a lot of work and time involved from the writing of the job posting to reading resumes, to conducting interviews, to the final hiring choice. During the later stages of the hiring process running a background check to verify a potential hire’s claims and stated background is not just common it is also smart. There are several types of background checks a company can perform and one of the most important is a national criminal history check.

A national criminal history check searches thousands of jurisdictions for state and local crimes. The crimes reported range from misdemeanors to more severe felonies. In addition, such a check will also tell you about any existing criminal or court issues that are still ongoing, past incarcerations, warrants, and other legal concerns.

Why a National Criminal History Check is Important

  • Review of a Candidate’s Personal Record: when you are considering hiring an applicant there are many factors and sources of information you will consider and verify. These include a candidate’s work history, educational background, professional licensing, and references if applicable. A candidate’s criminal record can also be of importance especially in certain industries. In several states and jurisdictions, direct questions about an applicant’s criminal record cannot be listed on a job application. However, a criminal background check will provide information about an applicant’s legal matters allowing you to have all the relevant information in your decision-making process.
  • Consideration For Existing Employees: when you hire a new employee you need to know if they will be a good fit with your existing staff, teams, and management structure. Verifying any criminal occurrences (or lack thereof) can verify for you if there could be any possible conflict between a new hire and your existing staff and company structure. In some cases, this could range from discomfort or simply personality conflicts.
  • Protect Your Company’s Reputation: a company’s reputation is very valuable and a good reputation takes years to build, and it cannot be bought. Your company likely deals with outside parties, be it customers or other businesses daily. A criminal history check can tell you if a new hire’s past actions point to possible issues when dealing with your company’s traditional clients.
  • Necessary For Certain Industries: there are certain industries where a criminal record can make a potential hire unsuitable for a position. Industries with such barriers to entry include certain government positions, the finance industry, and the banking industry. Naturally, the nature of the crime does come into play as an unrelated incident may not be a deal-breaker however, financial fraud is a large red flag for a position that has access to cash or company accounts.

Final Thoughts

When your company needs to fill a position this requires an investment of company time, money, and takes your current employees (often management) away from existing tasks to assist in the hiring process. Hiring the right person is critical as the costs for employee turnover are high, and you want to ensure whoever you hire will be a good fit and hopefully spend a decent amount of time with your company providing quality work. Now an applicant having past criminal activity or a criminal record is not always a sign they should not be hired. The nature of the crimes, the industry you’re in, and the person themselves are all very important factors as many people with criminal records have gone on to reform and become positive figures in both their personal and professional lives. The choice ultimately lies with your company and its hiring procedures; a national criminal background check allows you to make a fully informed and factually correct choice.