6 Steps on How to Do a Background Check for an Employee


When it comes to advancing your business, you are going to need only the absolute best. This comes down to the services you offer as well as the image you are trying to convey to the public. Both of these aspects coincide with one crucial factor: hiring the right staff.

In today’s day and age, each of us has a profile that is bound to be discovered if given enough investigation. If you believe you have found the right staffer to fill your ranks, follow these steps on how to do a background check on an employee:

1. Work Within The Legal Parameters

Although you are given what may initially be assumed as free reign to conduct a background check on an employee, that isn’t always the case. There are multiple ways in which a background check can be mismanaged, which can eventually come back to haunt you if the rules aren’t followed.

If you have any doubt on how to proceed, you should always double check with your legal team to see which routes you are allowed to use as an employer. Background check laws vary depending on region or in congruence with job-specific laws, so you’ll want to be as up-to-date on them as you can.

2. Be As Thorough As Possible

Given the digital era we currently live in, it is rather straightforward to simply give anyone a Google search. From there, you are bound to come across specific things that may or may not play a factor in hiring a potential worker. For example, employers would opt to do a routine check of a prospective hire’s social media handles.

If they happen to be riddled with negative overtones, such as sustained use of profanity, then it should be taken into consideration. Worse yet, if their accounts have discriminatory remarks in some form, this could be an automatic disqualification unless reasonable explanations are given when asked.

3. Look For Positives

Doing a background check on an employee involves looking for something that may work against a potential hire. However, it’s important to use the tools at your disposal as an employer to also look for the positives as well. Has the potential employee pointed you towards their volunteering efforts in their community? This can definitely work for them in the long run when considering what they may be doing during gaps in employment.

Do their discussed skills match up with their portfolio? Make sure to compliment them on their ancillary work next time you speak to them. The more you foster a genuine interaction with your potential employees, the more comfortable they’ll be in the company if hired.

4. Consistency

One of the main duties as an employer is to employ consistency across virtually every area that your job requires. The same goes for conducting a professional background screening. You’ll want to treat every applicant as fairly as possible, and not just give special consideration to those who appear to be superficially fit for the job.

Each potential employee should have the same level of forethought granted to them, with the same investigations ran as well. Failing to do so can mean so much more than perceived nepotism; prospective workers can use this as a legal basis for discrimination if warranted.

5. Use Their References

References shouldn’t just be a standard part of the application process for no reason. As an employer, you should always make an effort to contact former employers of the worker you are considering hiring. This should be done to find out not just the positive and negative things about their time spent at the respective business, but to learn more about how they operate.

Work habits, how they work with others and their contributions to the overall goals of the company are just some of the behaviours you should also consider when hiring a potential employee.

6. Communicate

If something does crop up that does warrant discussion with your potential worker, don’t just outright shut them out of the hiring process. A good manager will seek to discuss a superficial infraction with their prospective employee.

This means keeping lines of communication open at all stages of the procedure and ensuring you are as upfront with them as they are with you. There is nothing more damaging than mistaking what may be a minor transgression for something that you believe is more significant. These are individuals that will potentially be a part of the team. You’ll want to give them the benefit of the doubt before jumping to unfavourable conclusions.

Respect is a two-way street. You want to ensure that each prospective employee is given the respect they deserve when you are conducting a background check on them. As an employer, you want what’s best for your company. When conducting a screening test, however, it’s critical that you always represent that company by giving every applicant a fair and ethical treatment.