4 Ideas for Do-it-Yourself Background Checks on Potential Employees

diy background check
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If you run a small business, you may be thinking that background checks on potential employees aren’t really all that necessary. After all, background checks can in some cases be very expensive, especially if you are beginning to hire several employees at once for your business. Yes, background checks do have their place in business, sometimes the cost can be prohibitive. The good news is that you can still perform an effective “DIY” background check without spending a dime. Here are a few tricks of the trade.

1. Google the potential candidate, and spend time parsing the search results.

Of course, pretty much every employer worth his salt will Google an employee before hiring them. But the main mistake that many employers make in relation to Google is that they don’t really look at the search results with a critical eye. For one, be sure that the results you get actually correspond to the employer in question. Googling someone with a unique name will be much easier than Googling someone with a name like Jane Smith. Also, don’t just look for the negatives. Look for evidence that the employee in question understands also the importance of having a good and involved reputation online, not just an “not bad” reputation from not engaging with the Internet. I usually overlook anything negative that shows up during the candidate’s college years, just because (as you and I both know) what happens in college should stay in college. Of course, this doesn’t count major or serious crimes.

2. Call former employers. Talk to several people from the candidate’s former workplace, not just the boss.

Calling former employers is absolutely essential in finding out more about a person’s work history and how they performed. But I usually dig a little bit deeper, since when you call an employer, the person you talk to is either a top boss or HR manager (who may have had little day-to-day contact with their former employee). I ask to speak to supervisors and even co-workers to get a better idea about the candidate’s ability to work with others.

3. Call listed references and ask specific, tough questions.

Many employers think that references are utterly irrelevant, just because any job candidate who lists a reference will only list references who will speak highly of them. While this is true to a certain extent, I do think that if you ask the right kinds of questions, you’ll get very specific and telling answers. Don’t ask yes or no questions. Ask for details about the person’s character and work ethic. Ask for examples in the form of anecdotes, which typically can’t be faked.

4. Use online tools to search public records of the job candidate in question.

There are several ways to search through public records on your own without resorting to purchasing the services of a background check company. Searchsystems.net is one site which allows users to search through multiple types of public records for free, including court records and criminal records.

Of course, any background check, whether it’s one you do yourself or one you purchase, will take time to process. But if you put in the time and energy, you’ll be more likely to recruit a solid workforce for your small business. Good luck!

About the Author: A Houston-based writer, Jane Smith blogs about the importance and difference a thorough employment background check can make. For more information feel free to contact her at janesmith161@gmail.com.