Criminal Background Checks: Save the Reputation of Your Company

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Have you been considering conducting criminal background checks as part of your recruiting and hiring process for potential employees, but you’re not quite sure how to go about it?

If you’re a recruiter or manager who is responsible for assessing and/or hiring employees, it’s on your shoulders to ensure that anyone you bring in is not only an excellent fit for the position but is a safe person to bring on board.

You should know the facts about whether or not your potential hire is a threat to your business assets, especially your most important asset of all: other employees.

Protecting your employees and company reputation by ordering a comprehensive criminal records search before your new hires sign on the dotted line is much simpler than you might think. 

How common is workplace crime?

Workplace crime is more common than you think. Common workplace criminal activity includes things like property theft, fraud, and sexual harassment. If you are lucky enough to have not been exposed to workplace crime, consider the following statistics:

  • According to the S. Department of Justice, about 650,000 people are released from prison annually.
  • According to the S. Department of Labor, there are some 2 million reports of workplace violence in the U.S. each year.
  • Employee theft is on the rise. At least 35% of thefts are by people at the managerial level, and the average amount of money being stolen is reportedly about $175,000.

(Infographic via 

Why should you do a criminal background check?

Criminal background checks for employment reasons will protect your business from all kinds of risks—including becoming the target of third-party liability claims. Conducting criminal records searches lets your employees know that you care about their safety and facilitates trust between team members—and when people trust each other, morale and productivity tend to be much higher.

However, failing to do so can result in legal accusations such as negligent hiring should an employee act unlawfully on the job. You are responsible for hiring the right people, so if a lawsuit occurs as a result of an employee having their safety violated, you could be liable.

A criminal record background check can help your organization:

  • Learn more about the overall character and integrity of the applicant
  • Save thousands of dollars in possible legal fees
  • Confirm professional and educational details about the applicant
  • Facilitate loyalty between the applicant and hiring organization
  • Learn about a person’s past and current situations
  • Keep the integrity and trust of your current employees 

What types of industries use background checks?

Managers and recruiters from any industry can request criminal background checks so long as they comply with Federal regulations regarding permission of obtaining information.

Industries likely to use criminal records check include:

  • Educational organizations
  • Staffing firms
  • Health care
  • Finance
  • Insurance
  • Transportation
  • Retail
  • Industries that require highly specialized licensing
  • Industries that engage with the public on a highly personal level 

What could show up on a background or records check?

As far as criminal history goes, it is more common than you might think to find misdemeanors on a person’s record. However, for the most part, if the person was not convicted of a crime committed seven years ago or more, it most likely will not show up on the check.

Record checks are often used to confirm the accuracy of information on an employment application or resume. Things that show up beside criminal activities include driving records, other forms of fraud, drug testing, licensing verification, past employment and past education. You can also conduct specialized reviews depending on your industry.

Criminal background checks specifically are important for employers to undertake because they should be checking for heavy criminal activity such as assault and fraud.

What are the different types of searches that happen during a criminal record check?

You can perform the types of searches most relevant to your company’s needs. Some examples include:

  • County-level search.This uses criminal records at the county court level.
  • State criminal search.For the most part, states have criminal information on hand for this purpose.
  • Nationwide criminal search.This covers multiple states, so it is useful for obtaining records from a wide variety of sources in one convenient database.
  • Federal search.Federal crimes include things like drug trafficking or bank robbery.
  • International search.These types of searches are useful for reviewing job applicants previously living overseas.
  • Sex offender registry search.It is a sad but true fact that sex offenders are out there, but they are. This is an important part of the search that can help protect your employees from sex offenses and other violent acts.
  • Most wanted search.It is a rarity that someone would be nationally “wanted” while applying for a job, but the thing is that you just never know. And it’s not worth it to take the risk of having a criminal of this caliber in the midst of your colleagues and customers.
  • Global terrorist search.In today’s climate, it’s worth checking a person’s background to see whether or not they may be on any terrorist lists.

I would like to conduct a background check on an applicant. Where do I start?

Finding the right employee can be a challenging process, and doing a criminal background check is an excellent way to help ensure you are hiring the most trustworthy and reliable people.

Don’t take the risk of hiring a criminal!

About the author

Emma Epps is one of the managers for Trusted Employees – service, which provides businesses, non-profits, and volunteer organizations with a tailored and compliant approach to background screening.


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