Articles

The Background Process – Article 3: What information is most important

What information is most important to include in a Background Check or
Background Investigation?

Background Check or Background Investigation? – The Differences and Criteria to Determine Which to Use

The use of background screening, specifically in the selection and hiring process, has significantly increased over the last decade. The primary purpose of background screening is to obtain information from which business leaders and employers can make informed decisions in the best interests of their organization, thereby mitigating risk. Mainly used in the selection and hiring process, background screening is also valuable in vetting tenants, vendors, and any time decision makers require additional information to inform their decision making process. The third article in this series examines the differences between a Background Check and a Background Investigation.
Selecting a potential employee or making any business decision, a vital component of the process, must be identifying and assessing available information. The hiring process often involves confirming information provided by a candidate concerning their competencies, technical skills,
education/certification, and experience. For certain positions, identifying and obtaining other relevant information, specifically information related to a candidate’s soft skills and character will be just as, if not more, important. While a potential hire may possess significant experience and technical skill, if there are character deficiencies, such as a candidate not being trustworthy, dependable, or lacking interpersonal ability or communication skills, are they really the best candidate to be selected?

Defining and understanding common terms when discussing background screening is important. The terms ‘background screening,’ ‘background process,’ and ‘background,’ can all be used interchangeably to refer to the general process. The terms ‘background check’ and ‘background investigation’ denote the two levels of background screening and are not synonymous. Understanding the differences and determining what degree of background screening to use for what position is vital to ensuring the best candidate is selected, and the potential of organizational risk reduced.

A background check is the process by which information provided by a candidate is verified and other publicly available information is obtained. For example, confirming a candidate worked for a previous employer and their dates of employment would be elements of a background check, as would confirming professional certification with a governing body, and if a candidate possesses a valid driver’s license. A background check includes the identification and confirmation of information publicly available or provided by a candidate, without qualitative context or assessment.

A background investigation includes all the elements of a background check. It requires the identification, receipt, and assessment of supplemental information. The supplemental information will provide context to the factual information so a qualitative assessment of a candidate’s knowledge, skills, and abilities can be determined by decision makers. A background investigation is more comprehensive, probing, and in-depth than a background check. A background investigation requires a proactive posture to identifying, obtaining, and assessing all pertinent information related to a candidate.

A determination of whether a background check or background investigation should be conducted depends on specific factors. As noted in our second article, the general rule is the more significant the duties and responsibilities of the position are to the overall success of the organization or employer, the more justification exists for a background investigation to be conducted and the affirmative responsibility to do so.

To determine whether a background check or background investigation should be conducted for a position, a tenant, or vendor, the following questions should be asked and answered. If the answer to any of the questions is in the affirmative, a background investigation should be conducted due to the importance of the position to organizational success and the potential risk if the wrong person or entity is selected. The questions to be asked include the following:

  • Are the duties and responsibilities of the position pivotal to the financial success of the business or employer?
  • Do the duties and responsibilities of the position require interaction with the public, specifically children, persons of minor age, or the elderly?
  • Do the duties and responsibilities of the position require the supervision, management, or oversight of other employees?
  • Do the duties and responsibilities of the position require the use of weapons, machinery, or tools which require advanced training, certification, licensing, or education?
  • Do the duties and responsibilities of the position result in the employee being in a position representing the business or employer to the public?
  • Do the duties and responsibilities of the position result in a fiduciary duty on behalf of the employee?
  • Do the duties and responsibilities of the position require the employee to be entrusted with or have access to specific business knowledge or systems which if shared or corrupted, would negatively impact the business or employer?

Understanding the importance of background screening, the differences between a background check and background investigation, and the factors to determine what level of background screening to use, the next question to be addressed is who should conduct the background screening. Our next article in the series: The Background Process – Who Should Conduct the Background Screening or Background Investigation explores this topic.

Big and small businesses alike recognize the value of doing background screenings, and The Aggeris Group maintains the ability to do full Background Investigations, Internal Investigations, and Insider Threats  on all of your prospective employees and/or partners.
Kevin James Kline, COO
The Aggeris Group

kevin@theaggerisgroup.com
www.theaggerisgroup.com

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