Nowadays, background checks are really easy to do. There are a number of online services that can complete them for you quickly and relatively inexpensively. This is a good final step before actually sending over the job offer. But what typically goes into a background check? And what are the things that you should really care about? 

Keep in mind that no one actually fails a background check. At least, a candidate won’t receive a “passing” or “failing” grade from a third party. Rather, you’ll get a report back, and you’ll need to decide if it meets your company’s standards. 

Educational & Professional History

While this isn’t part of most standard background checks, it is arguably more important than the rest of the factors on this list. Are the universities and degrees that the candidate listed accurate? You’ll typically need to call the stated institutions to double check. This information should be a primary concern because 1) it will show you if a candidate is a dishonest person, and 2) ensure that he or she has the experience and qualifications that they say they do. 

Driving Record

Many background checks will include whether an individual has an active license, as well as any accumulated points, accidents, or DUIs. This could be important information if the open job requires him or her to transport others on a regular basis. If driving doesn’t pertain to the position, however, any flags can probably just be overlooked. 

Criminal Background 

Take into consideration the nature of the crime (violent or nonviolent), when it was committed (ten months or ten years ago), and whether or not the individual was actually convicted. In situations where something does come up, the majority of companies opt to give candidates a chance to explain themselves. If there is a crime, but it’s not directly related to your industry or the type of work that the applicant would be doing, sometimes it’s best to just turn a blind eye. 

Drug Test

This is essential if you are looking to hire someone that is going to be working around and distributing medications. That being said, more and more companies are taking an increasingly lax policy on marijuana, as it is becoming legalized in areas across the United States. Again, it really depends on the particular position that you are hiring for.  

Credit Score 

A credit report will provide information like whether or not the candidate paid their bills on time, what their credit score is, if they have a lot of debt, etc. Knowing how responsible someone is with their finances can definitely give you some insight into what type of person he or she is, but there could also be other factors at play. For example, someone might be in debt because of bad shopping habits, or because of familial medical bills. This is really only something that you should pay attention to if it directly applies to the open position.   

When in Doubt, Go with Your Gut 

If there is a candidate that you are very excited about, and you see a red flag come up on his or her background check, consider asking them about it before you write them off. Remember, everyone has a past, and that isn’t always indicative of their future. You don’t want to miss out on an excellent hire because you were too near sighted to see someone’s true potential.