For over two decades, we have been out in the business world evaluating people – assessing their past, determining their present and contemplating their next step of progress and, as yet, unrealized potential.  Background screening is one key tool we use to do this.   When we look at the past, we piece together a puzzle that helps us understand where someone has been.

Many small business and privately held organizations use the “bare minimum” – a social security number and a multi-state and state criminal record search.   Today’s standards call for a dramatic change in approach as organizations consider how to take their screening to the next level.

The following are three easy but key steps organizations should take to stop missing a part of the picture they are trying to find when they are looking at an individual:

 1.  Civil Records (federal and state court)

Civil records offer a look at patterns that can sometimes indicate an underlying criminal behavior.   Many times, a person engaged in criminal behavior first has a series of civil actions brought against them.  A temporary restraining order issued in civil court underlies an act of aggression and overreaching behaviors.  An action of replevins in civil court underlies an act of theft of property.  By looking at the history of an individual in the civil courts, you can identify underlying behavior patterns which could have an impact on your selection of them.

In short, civil records – both at the state court level and federal court level – are just one part of a whole picture and when tied together with other indicators, you can assess much about an individual.

2.  Expanded Criminal Records (federal and traffic)

Many organizations today look at state court criminal records but they omit the federal criminal record searches and traffic reports from consideration.   Yet, these reports can offer a wider lens into the past of an individual.  Driving at excessive speed, running stop signs at high speeds are indicators of aggressive, risk taking behaviors.   Criminal conduct that flows across state lines will appear at the federal rather than the state level.

 3.  Employment Verifications, Checks and References

Verifying previous employment by contacting a previous employer (to confirm hire date, termination date, position, salary, former supervisor, etc.) is only one step you can take to verify current or previous employment.

Actually comparing what an applicant tells you was their previous employment history against their reported income on file with the social security administration is a great next step (Employment History or what PeopleFacts calls a “SSNCheck”).   This will help you identify gaps in employment or unreported previous employers.   “Cash only” positions or non-W2 income typically will not show up in an SSN Check.

When it comes to tracking down the past, making sure you are using all the tools available makes a big difference.   If you are interested in finding out more about tools that are available and at your fingertips, contact our PeopleFacts by calling 1.800.600.8999 or email to: today.