Answer

What do employers look for in a background check?

Employers can look for a variety of things in a background check including but not limited to education/employment verification, SSN/i9 checks, or prior federal, state, or county convictions. Although employers can customize their background check policies, depending on the industry or state laws, they have to abide by certain practices to maintain compliance.

Background checks often include a criminal history search at a minimum. However, depending upon the nature of the job, for persons in more sensitive, high-level positions or those dealing with vulnerable populations, it may also include investigation of credit reports, sanctions checks, sex offender checks, and/or driving history.

Background checks also may include verification of previous employment, education, professional licenses, and personal or professional references.

DISA accesses a database that consists of more than 180 million criminal record files, which have been compiled from a variety of sources, including local law enforcement, statewide criminal record repositories, departments of corrections, state parole and probation records, local public records sources, etc. to identify pointer data to be verified at the source. DISA also uses data sources to compile counties where a person may have lived. The database file may uncover multiple states/jurisdictions where the applicant had no previous address history. These products serve as a pointer used to determine the jurisdictions in which an individual has lived, worked, or attended school for purposes of criminal history ordering.

With the legalization of marijuana across many states, cities such as San Francisco have implemented conviction expunging policies (Proposition 64) which remove misdemeanors and non-violent charges related to marijuana. Policies like these aim to get previous convictions reduced or reclassified to lesser offenses, with some convictions being dismissed altogether. This means that charges that are expunged will not appear on background checks. Employers need to implement a comprehensive background check process that will navigate individual state and city regulations. When employers use cheaper instant background checks, information can be incorrect or outdated, which could lead to potential lawsuits or liability in the workplace.

In addition, employers should consider services, such as social security number validity, criminal history for federal, county, and state, employment verification, etc., to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information.