Especially for entrepreneurs operating a small firm, it is essential to conduct pre-employment background screenings on all potential job candidates in order to weed out applicants that are unfit, dishonest or even dangerous. Owners who fail to do this could run into some major bumps down the road.


However, there are a number of misconceptions surrounding employment screening background checks. Many employers believe they can simply go off of their "gut instinct," trusting their intuition rather than what a candidate's documents say. According to Employment Screening Resources, employers should hold true to the phrase notion, "trust but verify," and use a combination of their gut feelings regarding a candidate and a person's background check when making a final hiring decision.

Additionally, it is essential that all background checks remain consistent across the board, regardless of whether businesses are filling a managerial role or hiring a new janitor.

"Leaving holes in your protocol could potentially give rise to a discrimination case, if it is found out you neglected to hire a candidate due to his or her background check, and there is not a standard in place for doing such checks equally," Kate Rogers wrote for Fox Small Business Center.

Likewise, before conducting a background check, an employer is legally required to inform a job applicant what actions will be taken.

When conducting a search, be sure to check for mistakes. Identity theft is not uncommon, and someone could easily come up with an adverse report when their record is in fact clear - or vice versa. Be sure to check for a criminal record at the county court level and confirm any records with the applicant. Additionally, if an applicant turns up with a poor credit check, it may be a wise choice to discuss the matter with them to determine if the report does in fact refer to them and is up-to-date. Before making any hasty decisions on a candidate that may otherwise be suitable for a position, be sure to allow him or her to explain their financial situation.

Finally, steer clear of any inexpensive databases offering to conduct the services for you. In these cases, you will get what you pay for: poor results.