How Important Is It to Perform a Background Check Before Hiring Someone?

Updated October 6, 2023

When you’re hiring someone new, you don’t just want to hope for the best when it comes to their appropriateness for the job. You want to know this is someone you can trust with your reputation and your business’s livelihood. A background check is a reliable, responsible way to get a good read on someone new for lots of reasons.

But how important is it to perform a background check? Is insisting on one just par for the course when it comes to screening your potential candidates, or is it overkill? Here’s a closer look at everything you need to know to make a good decision.

Background Check Before Hiring

How Beneficial Are Background Checks?

These days, thorough screening is an increasingly common way to make sure someone’s as truthful as they should be when applying for employment. The job market’s more competitive than ever. Many people are desperate to find work, and desperation often means folks aren’t as forthright as they should be. Plus, even honest people sometimes lie on resumes or exaggerate accomplishments to better appeal to would-be employers.

A national background check lets you hire with confidence every time. Not only will you be able to confirm what you’re told about a person’s background, but you’ll be in the know as to whether someone has a criminal record you should know about. Background checks make it easier to make sure your entire team complies with essential regulations and laws, as well.

What Are the Biggest Advantages of a Background Check?

There’s no such thing as “too careful” when it comes to your hiring decisions, so no. A background check is not overkill. It’s an intelligent step in any thorough, responsible hiring process, so it’s to your benefit to start performing them as a rule. Here are some of the most significant advantages of doing so.

Higher Quality Hires

No business owner needs to be told how tough it is to fill a staff with qualified people. Background checks streamline the process by making it easier to tell when someone’s genuinely suitable and worth hiring.

Lower Employee Turnover

The more you know about someone before you hire them, the better your chances of making a smart decision that will work for both of you over the long haul. After all, an interview can only tell you so much. A background check can fill in the blanks and help you be crystal clear before you make someone a job offer.

Safer Work Environment

Violence is a genuine threat in today’s world, and background checks can help you keep your business secure and safe. Such assessments can expose red flag behavioral patterns, sketchy personal histories, past struggles with substance abuse, and other issues that can contribute to an unsafe or less secure working environment.

Better Peace of Mind

Every business owner and hiring manager worries about making the best possible decisions they can make when bringing new staff on board. Even experienced folks with great instincts can make a mistake now and then. Making background checks a part of your process can help you rest easier at night and feel more confident in your hiring decisions.

When Should You Run a Background Check?

Of course, knowing that you should run a background check on a new employee is one thing. Knowing when to run it is another. Ultimately, the timeframe is up to you. Still, most business owners elect to run the check after extending a conditional job offer to a candidate but before finalizing their hiring decision.

Running your check at that point in your process helps you keep things as cost-effective as possible. It also makes for a more positive application experience for your candidates. Be transparent about the fact that your company runs checks and the fact that job offers discussed are conditional upon the checks’ results.

And don’t worry about the check holding up your hiring process when you’re desperate to fill a position. Turnaround times vary depending on the type of information being investigated but often take no longer than a business day or two. Ask the party performing the check for more details about their process and typical timeframe.

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