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Red Flags in Employee Background Checks

February 10, 2017

Every savvy business owner knows that employees can make or break a company. Hiring the best and most qualified employees is critical to the success of your business, but even the most exhaustive of interview processes may not tell you all you need to know about a potential new hire. A thorough background check complements the interview process by letting employers know about much more than just state-specific criminal records. Employers may expand the scope of their investigation to include searches of national criminal databases, watch lists, education verification, employment history verification, and more.

It’s as important to know where to look for this information as it is to know what it reveals. The following are some common red flags that an employee background check may uncover.

Criminal history

A job applicant’s criminal history can play a crucial role in a hiring decision. For some employers a clean record is absolutely required. Other employers can learn from the record to ascertain the applicant’s arrest record and conviction history including important dates, the nature of the charges, and the penalties imposed. Employers may make their ultimate decisions directly from a review of the records or question the application further in connection with this important indicator of employee fitness.


A job applicant’s resume can tell employers a great deal about eligibility and suitability for the position, but such information may need to be verified. A background check may reveal inconsistencies between information provided on the resume and the individual’s actual history. Such inconsistent statements may reveal either that the candidate is in fact unqualified for the position, or that the applicant is dishonest about their accomplishments; or both. Having all the information needed independently verified allows employers to review potential clerical errors versus deliberate misstatements, question the candidate as to their motivations for making the statements, and ultimately make the most informed decision about their hire.

Other red flags

Poor credit history is not an automatic disqualifier for most positions, but it may give some employers cause for concern. Credit card debt, bankruptcy filings, liens, and civil judgments may be cause for alarm in certain industries or positions.

A review of a candidate’s social media platforms is increasingly becoming a more popular, commonplace method for employers to utilize in their background checks. Personal information in the form of photos, shared political platforms, and other public statements may weigh heavily depending on the position sought and the hiring company.

Maryland Security Professionals is a leading security firm that conducts cost-effective and comprehensive employee background checks for business owners. Call today to learn more about how we can put our resources to work for you in your next important hiring decision.

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