A lot of people think that a professional background check can only be completed on new employees. However, there are numerous functions in which current members of staff may also have to agree to have their background checked numerous times. It all depends on the company they work for and the role they have.

What Can Be Checked?

On existing employees, it is common for companies to complete a regular criminal background check. This is particularly important for those who work with vulnerable individuals. Employers, and particularly those in the financial industry, may also complete a credit record check regularly.

What Human Resources (HR) Looks for

The HR officer is responsible for:

  • Determining which elements of a background check must be completed.
  • Creating statements inside offers of employment that make it clear that the offer is subject to the passing of a background check, and that further background checks may be completed at a later stage.
  • That no final offer of employment will be made until the results of the background checks have been received and checked.
  • That licenses and educational information will be verified as well, usually within 30 days of having made an employment offer.
  • Which elements of someone’s criminal history will be check, which usually includes criminal history, violent offenses, and sexual offences.

A prospective employee, and existing employee, must ensure that HR always has up to date details of their name, date of birth, address, and Social Security Number. HR has the responsibility of keeping staff members informed on the progress of their check. Once the checks have been returned, they must inform their management team and the individual about the results, and appropriate action must then be taken. In case of a clean check, there is usually no further action. In the case of issues being flagged up, more steps may need to be taken.

Why Repeat Checks Are Needed

One of the key areas of concern, is that of sexual and violent offenses. Some say that someone with a clear background check is not necessarily someone who has not committed any offenses, but rather someone who has not yet done so, or who simply hasn’t been caught. Although this may seem distrustful towards individuals who have done nothing wrong, and in exact opposition to the “innocent until proven guilty” concept, the reality is also that there are certain jobs in which service users should be protected.

Examples of this includes jobs that involved working in direct contact with children or the disabled. Jobs in schools, hospitals, leisure centers, nursing homes, and other such locations, for instance, are all used by people who are classed as “vulnerable” and who should be protected against eventualities. And while this is perhaps an invasion of privacy, the vast majority of people in those professions gladly agree to having their background checked regularly. That said, it is important that the employer is open and honest about that and that permission for checks is given.