Background checking is becoming more and more standard. However, the way background checks are conducted continues to evolve. There are of course stand-by institutions that can be used to perform thorough background checks, but, a few other methods are becoming common as well.

We hope this little guide either helps you with your current process or breaks the ice on the topic if you’re new to background checks. As well as some insights on what to keep an eye out for.

How to Background Check

There are several methods and styles managers are using today. We’ve chosen to just highlight a few things we feel are especially notable.

Keep in mind, a “background check” can consist of all kinds of things. When you follow up and do some research on a potential hire’s resume, this is just a different part of the background check process.

Beyond that, you’ll probably find you want to start with a combination of the following services and methods.

Background Check Services

Employers have been using different third-party services for decades. A google search will return a variety of different qualified services to use. Whatever service you use, make sure they are FCRA Compliant. This means the company is up-to-snuff with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.

The FCRA is a piece of US legislation that insures the data in question is being used fairly, accurately and privately.

Social Media

Employers checking potential hire’s social media accounts is also growing in popularity. You are limited to what is publicly viewable, but this can give some insight into what type of person your potential hire is.

Be Consistent

Whatever your final strategy ends up being; be consistent. Follow the same rules for everyone. Something else you may want to consider is running background checks on contract employees.

The way the market is working, more and more people are depending on contract labor. Several years ago, it was relatively unheard of to run checks on people not immediately tied to a company. However, depending on what type of service or product you offer, these contracted people can be an extension of your brand. This practice is becoming a bit more common.

What to Watch For

As you hire more and more people you’ll develop your own list of red flags. This is another section that could be expanded on. But, we’ve decided to cherry-pick what we feel like is one of the most important things to keep watch on.


We aren’t nitpicking over one minor discrepancy. What can really bother us are multiple glaring inconsistencies when we follow-up on references and a few key areas.


Employment history is one of the easiest areas for an employer to follow-up on. It’s worth checking too, more and more people are at least stretching the truth on their resumes.

It’s up to you to decide how you deal with any of these issues.


Fact-checking a skillset is pretty tricky at best and almost impossible at worst. If a potential hire is saying they have a certain skill; ask for an example if possible. If this takes a little extra effort to facilitate, it will be worth it.

What you don’t want is someone who is incompetent or severely lacking in an area they said they had down.


Following up on a prospect’s education background can be difficult if you’re attempting this yourself. Luckily, many of the higher-quality background checking services can do this rather easily.

If you feel like this sounds a little paranoid or over-the-top; 85% of employers featured in a study found deceiving information on resumes using third-party services.

Some of these background check companies can go much further, returning all kinds of data. This is one of the easiest and most hands-off ways of getting a nice clear view of who it is you’re considering.

With all of this in mind, when you’re hiring someone new, you have enough to worry about already.

If the work you’re doing or hiring for is especially sensitive, complicated, or skill-reliant; you might want to look into using a third-party screening company. It’ll take a tremendous weight of your shoulders and give you the most data possible.

If you feel confident in your own abilities, that’s fine too. Find what works best for your company and be consistent!

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