5 Background Check Red Flags You’re Probably Missing

Authored By W.Barry Nixon, SHRM- CMP

The benefits of performing in-depth background checks for both employment and legal purposes are no secret. From criminal records searches, educational credential verification, employment history, professional licenses, credit reports and civil litigation searches, these standard sweeps can raise a red flag for potential problems with candidates for hire. But not all aspects of the background check are created equal. Many, detailed below, are not as easy to discover and could potentially cause the most harm to unassuming employers.

1. Secret companies and conflicts of interest

Although it is easier now than ever to kick start a side business in an attempt to earn some extra money, be weary of conflicts of interest or fraud. Companies should consider trying out an investigative database performed by legal research providers.

2. Shell companies used to backstop employment history

When a resume lists self-employment – especially for a short period of time – it is important to verify the information using state business records and collect copies of 1099s. History has revealed individuals who have been let go by an employer or even served time in jail listing business ownership until employment or release, respectively.

3. Unverified military career with extraordinary claims

While it is important to respect those who serve the country, it could save your business trouble later to verify military experience that has been listed on a resume. With a seven-year scope automatically subject to verification, it never hurts to go back further when military involvement has been strikingly described.

4. Recently issued social security number

Recently issued social security numbers should raise a red flag for potential employers, especially for potential senior employees. This simple way to cover up a former life can easily be investigated with the free SSN validator offered to registered users by the Social Security Administration.

5. Inappropriate behavior on internet message boards and social media sites

The Internet is a wealth of information to further investigate a potential hire’s background information. Use of social media sites and message boards are an easy way to learn the truth about candidates. This free search should include sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, but also some deeper dives into a person’s background like searching for an email address that may lead to personal interests, reverse phone number look up and other places where internet footprints may be left behind.

A typical background check can reveal important information about potential hires, but it never hurts to dig a little deeper to ensure the candidate is exactly who he or she says he is.

Post By Barry Nixon (66 Posts)

W. Barry NIxon, SHRM-CMP is the founder of PreemploymentDirectory.com, the publisher of The Background Buzz, The Global Background Screener, The Annual Background Screening Industry Resource Guide and In Search of Excellence in Background Screening: Insights from Accredited Background Screening Firms. He is co-author of Background Investigations: Managing Hiring Risk from an HR and Security Perspective, a recognized background screening expert and serves as an International Ambassador for the National Association for Professional Background Screeners.