Advantages and disadvantages of a background check?

Pros for Employers

  • Background checks reveal lies in resumes or CV and fill in the 'blanks' at interviews. This helps the job selection process and ensures employment of only legitimate and honest candidates with no criminal history.
  • Carrying out thorough background checks protects an employer against possible, future lawsuits.
  • Globalization has made it easier for people to leave behind their former lives and identities, and carry on, afresh, in another town, state or even country, erasing any stains on their character as they go. Records and data are scattered and do not always link up. It is pretty, futile, relying on the information supplied by an applicant for a job. A criminal is very unlikely to reveal a true picture of their past lives.

Cons for Employers

  • Background checks are expensive in terms of money and time and for this reason, many employers fail to carry out thorough checks.
  • Many companies have faced litigation for not performing pre-employment, background checks. Wal-Mart were once, involved in a negligence lawsuit. They have since revised their company policy and now perform stringent background checks on all potential employees.
  • Failure to deal with private information or data in a responsible manner can result in penalties for the employer. Fines for fraudulent activity and misplacing or losing personal data are heavy.

Pros for Employees

  • Employers have a duty to provide a safe place of work for their employees. It is, therefore, the responsibility of an employer, to vet potential employees before given them a job.
  • A company must perform background checks, whilst at the same time, adhering to codes of practice outlined by the regulations surrounding data protection.
  • Cons for Employees

  • Some people feel that background checks are an invasion of personal liberty.
  • Background checks can reveal details, which you would rather not disclose to a potential employer.
  • Penalties can be incurred for falsification or disclosure of information presented when applying for a job.
  • A person may miss promotion due to one mistake made during their youth, regardless of their present day integrity, work experience or qualifications.
  • In today's environment of terrorism, security checks are becoming more important and therefore, more common. As employers tighten up their belts, it may soon be a thing of the past to be able to get a job without, first passing stringent security checks.
  • Employers may also find themselves being more forthcoming when it comes to providing references for former employees, in the fear that they may sued for not revealing the truth about a bad employee. References may become quite, detailed and even incriminating to the employee.
  • Following current trends, the need for total honesty will increase as the more thorough the background check, the more likely it is for lies and omissions, to show up.
  • The personal information, accessible by a company or person doing an individual's background review, is very sensitive stuff and it could be very damning if it were to get into the wrong hands.
  • As companies carry out more extensive background checks, the results are becoming more crucial to a person's livelihood.
  • Errors made by research companies, performing background checks, can be costly and damning to a potential employee. (See below).