Having a clean record is always important.

But these days, employment screenings are not just a matter of checking criminal history or even previous employers. What we’ve noticed at GroupOne Background Screening is employers want no surprises and no costly “bad hires.”

In today’s business market, nearly three-quarters of employers say they perform a background check on new employees, according to a survey from CareerBuilder. But a criminal check is just one of the many details covered during a background check. Here are six facts you may not know.

1. Checking criminal history
What employers look for in a background check depends on the job. Some examples:
• Anyone working with children will be screened through sex offender registries;
• Credit histories will be checked for potential hires handling finances;
• If the job requires driving a vehicle, we will be asked to look into speeding tickets and accidents.

Higher-level jobs or positions requiring specialized training necessitate a more thorough screening. Executive positions are almost always subject to more stringent testing than, for example, minimum-wage employees. For instance, hospitals will confirm a doctor has received certification in their specialty.

2. Some background checks can take over a week
On average, background checks take between 24-72 business hours. But there are many reasons why a check can take well over a week.

A common misconception we’ve noticed at GroupOne is that background checks are performed through a single, central database. This is sometimes true for simple screenings, but more thorough checks will require combing through multiple sources for information.

The access of criminal records varies by state and in some cases, even county to county in a single state. As a result, GroupOne may have to go to a courthouse to complete this part of the job, potentially making the process take longer.

3. Former employer went bust?
Our background screeners are used to dead ends like these. If the company closed, we can look up who owned the business that closed, cross check the property address, use the White Pages and call them at home to ask about a candidate.

The same goes for schools. Colleges that have closed are required to make student records accessible and will often allocate funds for another institution to maintain them.

4. Social media could be a deal-breaker
Potential employees should always be careful about their online “footprint.” We’ve learned that a person’s Facebook page has been the deciding factor when it comes to a job offer on multiple occasions. GroupOne would always recommend for people to think twice before posting certain pics or “liking” certain groups.

GroupOne also recommends for employers to think twice about including Social Media results in a background screening. Scanning Facebook and Google never counts as due diligence of a traditional background check. In fact, doing so is actually looked down upon by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) because it can reveal discriminatory information such as sexual orientation or religion.

5. Lying on resumes
Candidates who “pad” their resumes are not alone. Some surveys found that as many as 40% of resumes contain a lie or misrepresentation. The potential repercussions of “fudging” a resume should be obvious. It can almost always cost an applicant the job.

If a potential candidate has a criminal record, in this day and age there’s really no need to worry. Across the country, 30 states and more than 200 cities and counting have approved “ban-the-box” policies that prevent employers from asking about criminal histories before making a job offer.

The EEOC says that a criminal record alone is not reason enough to withhold employment. Employers should consider what crime was committed, how long ago it occurred, whether the sentence was completed and whether it relates to the nature of the job.

6. Records can be inaccurate
Information in databases can be wrong and no one is more frustrated by this than our team at GroupOne. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires employers give candidates an opportunity to correct or clarify information pulled in a background check if those details may result in them not receiving an offer.

Potential employees aren’t the only ones adversely affected by bad information gathered through a background check. A CareerBuilder survey noted that 29% of firms say situations like these have led to a bad hire, never a good thing.

For information about background checks performed at GroupOne, please do not hesitate to contact us.