Exploring the Benefits of Conducting Criminal Background Checks in the Hiring Process

exploring the benefits of conducting criminal background checks in the hiring process

Conducting criminal background checks as part of your hiring process ensures you’re not hiring someone with a disqualifying criminal past. It also helps prevent negligent hiring lawsuits if a new hire harms employees or company property.

Thorough background checks search national and local records to identify misdemeanor and felony convictions and pending or dismissed charges. They also check civil court records for information like restraining orders, judgments, and liens.

Legal Compliance

Conducting thorough criminal background checks in the hiring process is a non-negotiable for companies committed to employee safety. By screening out candidates with serious convictions, businesses can avoid employees who threaten their customers or colleagues. This also helps minimize financial malfeasance risks, like theft and fraud.

A criminal background check usually includes a person’s felony and misdemeanor conviction records, court orders, pending criminal cases, prison records, domestic terror watch list status, and expunged or sealed convictions. This type of screening is essential for safety-sensitive positions and work involving the vulnerable population. Additionally, some states and cities have laws that require employers to screen out applicants with a criminal history.

Employers often conduct thorough background checks on potential hires, with a critical component being the review of criminal history records, helping them make informed decisions about the suitability of candidates for specific roles.

Hiring a candidate with a serious criminal record can put your company at risk of negligent hiring lawsuits, which could cost you millions in fines and penalties. Performing background checks is a safe and effective way to prevent such lawsuits by ensuring that you are selecting the best and most qualified candidates for your business.

In addition to running criminal background checks, you should consider conducting reference and social media checks to ensure your new hire is the perfect fit for your team. These checks can help you understand a candidate’s work ethic and how others perceive them, which helps avoid unconscious biases. You can also consider incorporating pre-employment drug tests into your background check process to identify candidates with dangerously high levels of drugs in their systems.


A thorough criminal background check is essential for any business to prioritize its employees’ safety. It also helps employers avoid legal liability, which can arise when they negligently hire someone who later harms employees, customers, or the company itself.

A comprehensive background check includes a state, county, and local records search. This allows the company to verify an applicant’s identity and address and dig deeper into their criminal history. It can also include a search of sexual offender registries, which helps prevent companies from hiring people with a history of violent or inappropriate behavior.

Criminal checks can also include verifications of the education and professional credentials claimed by candidates on their resumes. This is important because false information can lead to costly mistakes, damaging a business’s reputation and credibility.

Another critical benefit of a comprehensive background check is that it can help prevent employee dishonesty. This severe problem costs businesses millions of dollars in lost revenue and can damage a brand’s reputation in the community. A criminal background check before hiring can help weed out applicants with a history of dishonesty or other crimes related to trust and financial integrity. This can be especially crucial for positions involving interacting with vulnerable people, such as senior living or healthcare positions.


A business’s reputation is at stake when making hiring decisions. Adding comprehensive criminal background checks to the hiring process can help prevent bad hires from harming the company’s brand and image. For example, an employee who commits financial misconduct such as embezzlement and fraud can cost the company a lot of money. Additionally, employees with violent or dishonest pasts can cause damage to the business’s public standing and its customers.

Performing thorough checks also helps protect companies from negligent hiring lawsuits. Companies are morally and legally obligated to guarantee a safe work environment for their employees, and criminal background checks can reveal whether or not a candidate has a history of reckless behavior, substance abuse, dishonesty, or even violence that would be problematic for the business.

Additionally, partnering with a background screening service provider that offers best practices like searching at the county and state levels, ensuring a comprehensive search of records including felony, misdemeanor, and sealed convictions, pending criminal cases, prison records, domestic terror watch list, and arrests that did not result in a conviction can prove that the employer exercised reasonable care in the hiring process. In addition, conducting a check before making an offer of employment can mitigate the risk of a costly mistake that could hurt the company’s reputation and bottom line.

Bottom Line

As your employees are the face of your company, hiring an individual with a criminal record can have many negative impacts. It can cause damage to your reputation as a brand, hurt employee morale, and even lead to loss of business or customers. In the worst-case scenario, it can also result in costly negligent hiring lawsuits.

A thorough background check can help to prevent these issues, as it will uncover any potential red flags that might indicate a problem with an applicant’s ability to perform their role effectively. This includes verifying employment history, checking educational credentials, and ensuring accurate information on resumes and applications.

Additionally, a background check will reveal financial stability by highlighting any financial issues such as bankruptcies, liens, or collection accounts that may impact an employee’s ability to fulfill their obligations. Lastly, it will show any discrepancies between an applicant’s claimed qualifications and actual work experience.

A criminal background check can be an excellent asset for your business, but conducting it correctly and within the law’s guidelines is essential. While some employers wait to conduct background checks until they have made a conditional job offer, this can be risky as it violates Human Rights Local Law 4 and could lead to legal complications. A better option is to carry out non-criminal background checks, such as verification of education, identity, and employment, before making an offer of employment.