Background Checks

Checking into the background of potential employees is an important part of the hiring process. This includes a thorough review of an applicant’s resume or application, checking of references, educational degrees, certifications and with increasing frequency a detailed employment screening that includes criminal background and credit history report.


References are still important and should certainly continue to be checked. The most important reference has and always will be the prospective employee’s current supervisor. Much can be learned about work ethic and job performance from this reference, which can aid in your hiring decision. A problem with references is they are likely to exclusively focus on the positive. Not surprisingly, this is how most people select their references. People want references that are familiar with their good traits and performance and are willing to talk about the potential employee out of friendship, loyalty or courtesy. One or two questions of a reference check should also provide an opportunity for the reference to critically evaluate the individual. Examples of this type of questioning include having the reference describe the candidate’s biggest fault or having the reference explain what type of work environments or situations frustrates the candidate the most. Finally, you should ask the reference if they would rehire the candidate if given the chance. 

Criminal Background Check

Information obtained in criminal background checks can be used to prevent a city from hiring individuals who could present safety risks to fellow employees. These types of checks can also discover convictions for crimes such as embezzlement or other work related criminal convictions that could be a sign of the type of employee they would be if hired. In addition, driving records can be researched which may provide important information about the driving history of employees who might operate city vehicles and equipment. For employees who handle transactions or have access to financial accounts, a credit history report can be an important screening tool. There are very specific regulations regarding the use of credit reports for employment screenings, so it is important to understand these issues before making decisions based on the reports.

When compared to the cost of missing funds, stolen property or damaged equipment, criminal background checks and credit history reports can be a sound investment in hiring the highest quality staff for any organization. Reports that just include criminal and credit information tend to cost under $100 and can vary depending on the type and location of searches. 

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