What Is a Criminal Background Check? 15 Jun 2018


If you’re trying to fill a position at your company, then you probably have a lot of questions about background checks. You might wonder, what kind of background check am I legally required to perform for this position? What kind of background check is most common in my industry? What kind of background check does my company usually use? What kind of background check should I conduct to keep my employees safe?

One thing that can help you understand background checks and how they fit into pre-employment screening is learning the specific terms related to them. Let’s look at one of the most common background checks and how it can keep your employees safe and ensure a good culture fit. The criminal background check.

What Exactly Is a Criminal Background Check and How Does It Fit into Pre-Employment Screening?

Simply put, a criminal background check is a check that searches for criminal misconduct. It may show a single misdemeanor or a more serious form of a convicted felony.

But, a criminal background check isn’t the same as a general background check. Criminal background checks only show crimes that an applicant may have committed. They won’t verify things like their educational background or their employment history.

There are special criminal background checks that are only for certain types of crimes. For example, state criminal background checks only check for crimes that the applicant committed in a certain state.

Depending on the type of background check you use and the laws of the specific states involved, you can expect to see the applicant’s:

  • Name and known aliases
  • Charges or convictions
  • Prison terms
  • Presence on any sex offender registries

These types of background checks usually get their information from court records, police reports, and other resources. This allows you to get a complete picture of your applicant’s background.

How Is a Criminal Background Check Done?

A criminal background check starts with the applicant giving you the information and consent needed to run a background check. After the right forms are filled out and depending on what type of search you purchase, the company you hire will check the applicant against criminal records in their local county, the states the applicant has lived in, federal and international records/warrants, and the sex offender registry.

Depending on the type of background check you’ve chosen, it may also include the person’s driving record and their past litigation record, such as if they have been involved in a lawsuit against a previous employer. Some states have laws that regulate the information you can obtain from them for a criminal background check. This explains why you may be able to obtain certain information from one state’s record, but not from another state’s record.

Why Run a Criminal Background Check?

You may be wondering why a criminal background check is necessary if you’re already running a general background check on an applicant. It’s because a standard background check will be incomplete without the criminal component. It won’t focus on criminal infractions as it would if a criminal background check were included.

If you only run a regular background check, you could be unaware of serious crimes and violations that an applicant committed. This could put your employees in danger and may also get your company into legal trouble depending on your industry. You may also be breaking the law as some state and federal laws require criminal background checks on people in certain professions. It is very important, therefore, that you have a criminal background check done on people you are thinking of hiring.

Where Can I Find a Reliable Company to Perform a Criminal Background Check?

How can I find a reliable company to perform a criminal background check in Minnesota?

There are lots of options for running A criminal background check on an applicant. As a rule, places that offer unreasonably fast background checks are most likely cutting corners and may not do as thorough a job as you need.

At Trusted Employees, we offer a number of different criminal background checks including federal, state, and international criminal background checks. We can also help you decide what kind of criminal background check you need for your situation and create a custom plan that fits your individual needs. Feel free to contact us with any questions you have about our services. Happy hiring.