Pre-Employment Background Screening: What Hiring Managers Need to Know

Background screening helps employers find information about a candidate beyond what they share on the job application.

Key Points:

  • Most pre-employment background checks go through the same documents, but depending on the job, employers can add a variety of different screenings as well.
  • There are multiple reasons why employers conduct background checks, the most common being safety. 
  • Choosing a background screening provider can better your candidate experience and reduce the risk of losing candidates from a complicated background check.

What is Background Screening?

Background screening, also known as a pre-employment screening, is the process of properly vetting job candidates, usually by using third-party professional background screening providers. These providers will use public records, credit bureaus, previous employers, and other sources to gather necessary information during the hiring process.  

What is Included in a Pre-Employment Background Screening?

A typical background screening may include a criminal record check, verification of past employment, education history, and professional licenses. But, depending on the employer and job requirements, you may also request additional screenings, including:

  • Drug screening
  • Social security number trace
  • FBI fingerprint 
  • Sex offender registry 
  • Driver’s license verification
  • Credit report check 
  • Professional reference check 
  • Office of foreign asset control
  • Healthcare sanctions report

What to include in a pre-employment background check will depend on your organization and the types of jobs you are hiring for. Typical background checks in Pennsylvania will search for information as far back as 7 years and take about 5 to 7 days to complete, but timelines may vary by state. 

Why Should You Conduct a Pre-Employment Background Check?

Background screening helps employers find information about a candidate beyond what they share on the job application. They allow organizations to get a better picture of the candidate and help ensure they are hiring the quality people for the position. Background screenings can also:

1. Ensure safety and compliance

Background screenings help avoid legal harm like:

  • Sexual harassment and workplace violence
  • Reputational issues
  • Financial loss
  • Negligent behavior

If an employer doesn’t conduct a thorough background check on a candidate and the candidate ends up causing a problem in the workplace, this can turn into a negligence claim. For example, if a candidate has a history of harming other employees in the office, but an employer hadn’t conducted a proper background screening, the organization is at risk for a lawsuit. 

2. Confirm hiring decisions

Verifying information provided by new hires regarding education history, previous employment, or other required qualifications through a background check will confirm your new employee’s reliability and honesty.

3. Avoid rehiring costs

The costs of hiring new employees can be expensive. Taking the time to confirm your hiring decision and verify the information provided can help ensure you’re gaining a long-time employee, limiting those costs. Background screening also protects against the cost of lawsuits as well as theft and fraud. 

An HRIS system can help you manage the hiring process and all of your HR needs in one place. With SentricHR, you can conduct pre-employment checks and rescreens without ever leaving the system.

To learn more about SentricHR and our partnership with Verified First, speak with one of our product experts today! 


The Sentric Team

The Sentric Team

At Sentric, we help businesses make people management easier with industry-leading technology and standout support.

Sentric HR & Payroll Insights

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