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4 Tips for Conducting an Employee Background Check

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4 Tips for Conducting an Employee Background Check

Hiring the right employee is a critical step in building a successful and reliable workforce. While a well-crafted resume and a stellar interview can provide valuable insights, they often do not reveal the complete picture. Conducting thorough employee background checks is essential to ensure you make informed hiring decisions and minimize potential risks. Here are four valuable tips to help you navigate the process effectively.

1. Utilize Behavioural Interviews:

When assessing potential candidates, it’s essential to dig deeper than the surface-level responses you might receive in a traditional interview. Behavioural interviews, characterized by questions like “Tell me about a time when…” rather than hypothetical “What would you do if…” inquiries, can provide valuable insights into a candidate’s past experiences and actions.

These interviews allow candidates to share real-life examples of how they handled situations in previous roles, giving you a glimpse into their problem-solving skills, decision-making abilities, and interpersonal dynamics. Behavioural interviews also provide an excellent opportunity to cross-verify a candidate’s narrative with references, ensuring consistency and reliability.

2. Scrutinize Their Social Media Presence:

In today’s interconnected world, an individual’s online presence can reveal valuable information about their character and suitability for a role. Employers should be vigilant about two critical aspects of a candidate’s social media footprint:

Inappropriate Behaviour: Candidates should refrain from engaging in online behaviours, such as posting compromising photos, sharing controversial opinions, or participating in offensive discussions that could harm their company’s reputation.

Negative Comments: Criticizing past or current employers on social media platforms is a red flag. Such behaviour indicates potential issues with professionalism and workplace etiquette.

Encourage candidates to maintain separate professional and personal social media accounts, ensuring that nothing damaging remains hidden from your scrutiny.

3. Comprehensive Criminal Record Checks:

In many industries, particularly those involving vulnerable populations, conducting criminal record checks is not just a best practice; it’s a legal requirement. Even if a candidate assures you of a clean record, it’s essential to go the extra mile to verify this information.

In sectors where employees work with vulnerable individuals, such as teaching, healthcare, or social work, candidates must obtain an approved vulnerable sector check. This thorough process includes an exhaustive criminal record search. Only candidates with clean records are eligible to work with vulnerable individuals. Request that candidates present the results of this check during the interview process.

4. Verify Specialized Degrees and Qualifications:

For positions that require specialized degrees or certifications, such as teaching, law, or specialized technical roles, employers have the right to request transcripts or other proof of qualifications. This step helps ensure that the candidate possesses the necessary credentials to excel in the role.

Additionally, specialized jobs often come with placements, assessments, portfolios, or digital profiles. Employers may request access to these materials to assess the candidate’s qualifications comprehensively. Candidates who have recently completed specialty programs usually have a portfolio of work, along with transcripts and potential references from professors, to demonstrate their qualifications.

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Reference Checks:

One of the most reliable ways to gain insight into a candidate’s qualifications and suitability for a role is by conducting thorough reference checks. Contacting previous employers or supervisors listed on the candidate’s resume can provide valuable information about their work ethic, reliability, and interpersonal skills.

During reference checks, inquire about the candidate’s job responsibilities, performance, and any notable accomplishments. Ask about their ability to work within a team, handle challenges, and adapt to changing situations. This step can help confirm the accuracy of the information provided by the candidate and give you a well-rounded perspective on their professional history.

Evaluate Soft Skills:

While technical skills and qualifications are important, soft skills like communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and adaptability are equally crucial for success in most roles. Consider incorporating assessments or situational judgment tests during the hiring process to evaluate these skills objectively.

These assessments can provide valuable insights into a candidate’s ability to handle workplace scenarios, collaborate with colleagues, and navigate common challenges. Soft skills assessments can help you identify candidates who not only have the right qualifications but also possess the interpersonal and problem-solving skills needed to thrive in your organization.

Consider Industry-Specific Checks:

In certain industries, specialized background checks may be necessary. For example, in finance or positions involving fiduciary responsibilities, conducting credit checks to assess a candidate’s financial history and responsibility may be relevant. Similarly, roles that require driving may necessitate a review of the candidate’s driving record.

Tailoring your background check process to the specific requirements of the role and industry can help you make more informed hiring decisions and ensure compliance with industry regulations.


Conducting a comprehensive employee background check is a multi-faceted process that involves evaluating a candidate’s qualifications, behaviour, online presence, and references. By incorporating these additional steps, such as reference checks, soft skills assessments, and industry-specific checks, you can enhance the depth and accuracy of your background screening process.

Remember that investing time and effort into a thorough background check is an investment in your organization’s success. It not only helps you avoid costly hiring mistakes but also ensures that you bring on board employees who align with your company’s values, culture, and long-term goals. Prioritizing these tips can contribute to a more robust and reliable hiring process that benefits your company’s growth and reputation.

Ready to Enhance Your Background Check Process?

At The Smith Investigation Agency Inc., we specialize in conducting comprehensive background checks with a quick turnaround and flat-rate pricing. Our experienced team can help you make well-informed hiring decisions and ensure your organization’s success. Don’t leave your hiring process to chance—call us today for a free consultation and take the first step towards building a reliable and trustworthy workforce.

About the Author

Whitney Joy Smith

Whitney Joy Smith is a prominent figure in the field of private investigation and security, serving as the founder and CEO of The Smith Investigation Agency Inc., Smith Security Inc., and Training Centre Canada, as well as a sitting politician.

With a remarkable journey that began in the early 2000s, Whitney's professional background as a private investigator is underscored by her unwavering dedication to the role. Born in Canada and having spent her early years between Canada and the United States, Whitney possesses a unique perspective shaped by her experiences in both countries. This background equips her with an in-depth understanding of the intricacies of private investigative laws, regulations, and operational standards in North America.

Throughout her career, Whitney has garnered numerous industry awards and accolades. She takes great pride in working closely with her continually expanding agency, striving to elevate industry standards, maintain compliance, and effectively meet the diverse investigative needs of clients.

Whitney actively engages in various membership, committee, board and support roles, demonstrating her commitment to the industry and professional community. She is affiliated with all local chambers, associations and more.

Whitney's wealth of experience is not limited to her professional achievements; her thought-provoking articles have been featured in publications ranging from Readers Digest, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, and Mens Health to Business News Daily. She constantly seeks to redefine standards and push the boundaries of excellence within the private investigative and security fields.

To discover more about Whitney Joy Smith and the dedicated team at The Smith Investigation Agency Inc., visit our website to learn more.