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Background screening - why it matters and how to get it right

Jun 15, 2016 Philip Burgess

It's always important to know who you're getting into business with. Actually, that doesn't go far enough - it's essential to know who you're getting into business with. That's only way to protect yourself and your organization.

This doesn't just apply to business partnerships, either. It's just as important to have this insight and awareness when it comes to hiring new employees, renting apartments to new tenants and so on.

To this end, you need to use the right services and tools - namely, background screening solutions. But not all background screening offerings are equally viable, and so you need to know how to make the right choice.

Why background screening solutions matter
First things first: Just how important are background screenings in the types of scenarios listed above?

"You always want to have too much information at your disposal."

To a large extent, this will vary on a case-by-case basis. But it's fair to say that, as a general rule, you always want to have too much information at your disposal, and you never want to have too little. As an employer or landlord, you don't need to necessarily act upon the background information you've obtained. If you don't conduct the background screening with effective tools, though, then you won't have that luxury. Consequently, you may end up giving a position or apartment to an individual who isn't a good match or, worse, is actually a threat to you or your organization.

Getting background screenings right
So with that established, how can you make sure you're using the best background check solutions available?

There are three keys to keep in mind:

The type of risk
What potential threat or problem are you looking to address? For example, are you worried that the individual may have a less reliable financial history than he or she has indicated? Or are you concerned that applicants may not actually be who they say they are?

The type of check
Once you've identified the risk factors you're concerned about, you can start to determine which background screening checks would be most useful.

Say you're a landlord and you want to make sure your tenants all have excellent rental histories. In that case, you're going to want to conduct a background check that will search for evictions, suits, liens and judgments involving the applicant.

Alternatively, if you're more concerned about verifying identities for potential employees, then you'll probably want to look at DMV records, as driver license information is excellent for reducing fraud potential.

You need to know what kind of background checks to conduct.

The solution itself
Last, but not least, you need to make sure you've chosen the right background check solution provider to ensure the results are reliable and comprehensive. To this end, you should look for a vendor that has an established and long-standing reputation, as we emphasized in this previous blog. Additionally, that partner must have the ability to not only access the data in question, but also analyze it intelligently.

By following these steps, you'll be able to make the best decisions for new employees, new tenants and beyond.