Individual Background Checks

Individual background checks use a person’s name, date of birth and Social Security number to retrieve information from public records. Common insights retrieved include criminal record, credit history and education verification.


Criminal records may show past misdemeanor and felony convictions as well as pending charges. State laws dictate how far back this search can go.

Employment History Verification

Employment history verification is an important part of a background check that can help confirm the work experience listed in a candidate’s resume. It helps prevent candidates from embellishing their resumes with false information and ensures that the experience they claim to have is relevant for a specific position.

During an employment verification, the company that performs the background check will verify things like the name and location of each employer, job titles, dates of employment, and salary earned during a particular period of time. The employment verification also reveals the reason the candidate left each job, which is important to know in cases where termination was not voluntary.

An employment verification is the first step in a comprehensive background check, which can include additional elements like criminal record search, education verification, MVR, and credit report. A background check will also show any felony or misdemeanor convictions and any pending charges that could affect a candidate’s ability to perform their job duties.

There are a few different types of employment verifications, with some being easier than others to complete. For example, when an employer uses a 3rd party service to verify employment—such as Equifax’s Work Number solution—the results will generally be returned in under one business day. On the other hand, a more in-depth employment verification will often take longer as a result of needing to reach out to former employers by phone or email and having to manually verify employment.

Criminal Record Search

A criminal background check looks at a person’s criminal history, including arrest and conviction records. It typically includes information like the nature of the crime, the date and location of the crime, and any relevant sentencing information. These checks are often run by employers, but they can also be conducted by individuals or even private citizens.

It may include information like a sex offender registry search, which inspects state, federal, and international sex offender registries. It may also include a watchlist search, which checks the person against domestic and international terrorist and other government watch lists, such as INTERPOL’s Most Wanted list, the European terrorism list, and the US no-fly list. It may also include a drug test result, if an employer has requested it.

If the person has had a crime expunged or sealed, it will not show up on a background check. This can save the candidate time and money because they will not have to disclose the crime on employment, housing, or education applications. However, it will not protect them from being charged or prosecuted for a later crime, as law enforcement and courts may consider expunged convictions when making decisions about new cases.

A background check can also provide information about a person’s public record, such as any outstanding warrants they have or lawsuits filed against them. This is especially important for people who work in fields that require a high level of trust, such as law enforcement or financial services.

Credit Report

A credit report checks an individual’s public records with national credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). It includes a person’s payment history, bankruptcies, foreclosures, court judgments, and current debt. It also lists other people and businesses who have requested their credit report in the past two years, known as inquiries. Inquiries can be voluntary or involuntary, and the requesting party must provide a 100-word explanation to the credit bureau for negative information that appears on their report.

A professional qualifications check checks an applicant’s employment history, education and training, professional memberships, and other relevant information. A professional background check can help employers make a more informed decision about a candidate’s fit for their company.

An education verification check is a way to confirm a person’s academic credentials. It is important for HR teams and hiring managers to verify that an individual graduated from a particular high school or college, attained a specific GPA or degree, and obtained listed certifications. About 39% of job applicants lie about their educational backgrounds, so conducting an education verification is critical to avoid making a poor hire.

Drug Test

Drug testing is often required for jobs in regulated industries, or for some government and military positions. It is also a common practice for employers who are concerned about work productivity and safety.

Pre-employment workplace drug screening typically involves a urine test. It can also involve hair, sweat or saliva samples. In addition to the urinalysis, additional confirmatory tests can be performed on a portion of the sample using a more precise technique called gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS).

Saliva drug screening is a less invasive method that uses a mouth swab. It is a good option for testing recent drug use, but it cannot survey long-term use like other specimen types can.

Although no type of drug test is 100% accurate, false positives are less likely than false negatives-provided strict collection and handling procedures are followed. Using a qualified laboratory and Medical Review Officer (MRO) to interpret results helps to prevent inaccurate testing.

The MRO is a licensed physician who receives laboratory results and has knowledge of substance abuse disorders and federal drug-testing regulations. They can also help determine whether a worker’s illness or medications may affect the test results.

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