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The Key Benefits of Criminal Background Checks

Criminal Background Checks

Sadly, one of the most common ways companies experience significant loss is through employee theft and dishonesty. Performing comprehensive background checks will help to reduce the likelihood of this type of behaviour.

While businesses have no federal mandate to conduct criminal background checks, it’s generally considered a best practice across industries. Here are some key benefits of incorporating this step into your hiring process:


A thorough employee criminal background check can identify candidates with criminal convictions that would pose a safety risk to your workplace. Whether it’s for jobs that involve working with children or vulnerable populations or positions that require the use of a company vehicle, hiring individuals who have been convicted of crimes like armed robbery, aggravated assault, and drug trafficking is not something any business wants to face.

Conducting a background check can also help you avoid hiring dishonest candidates. Employee fraud results in 5% of total revenue loss for large companies and 30% for small businesses, so it’s not worth the risk of hiring a candidate who might be dishonest.

A comprehensive background check typically includes felony and misdemeanour convictions, pending criminal cases, civil judgments, records of arrest that didn’t result in a conviction, and expunged or sealed records. It can also include employer references, a valuable way to gain more context on how the candidate works and their work ethic. However, it’s important to be aware of anti-discrimination laws limiting when and how criminal information can be used during hiring. Partnering with a CRA committed to running FCRA-compliant checks can ensure you follow best practices.


The most obvious benefit of criminal background checks is that they can help companies avoid hiring people with a history of dangerous behaviour, which could endanger their employees and customers. For example, if an employee has a history of drug abuse, they may be more likely to have a workplace accident that can result in serious injury or even death. Likewise, if an employee has been convicted of financial misconduct like fraud or embezzlement, they could risk the company’s finances and reputation.

Background checks can also help businesses comply with industry regulations, as many industries have strict rules about who they can hire. For example, it’s usually illegal for employers to hire anyone who is a registered sex offender, and this information can easily be discovered by conducting a background check.

Finally, criminal background checks can help businesses avoid legal liability by preventing negligent hiring lawsuits. For example, if an employer fails to conduct background checks and then hires someone with a history of criminal activity or other red flags, the business can be held liable for the employee’s actions. By making background checks a standard part of the hiring process, businesses can protect themselves from negligent hiring claims and other legal complications.

Legal Compliance

Regardless of your industry, a background check gives you the peace of mind that you’re hiring people who are up to the task. For example, if you have employees handling cash or trade secrets, you’ll want to ensure they don’t have dishonesty-related convictions.

A background check can also help reduce your risk of workplace violence. A comprehensive criminal background check will reveal past incidents, such as petty assaults and threats, that may indicate future behaviour that could put your team or customers at risk.

As an added benefit, a background check helps your company comply with federal and state hiring laws. For instance, it’s against the law to consider a job applicant’s arrest records over seven years old or sealed or expunged convictions during the pre-employment screening. A reputable CRA, like Reliable Background Screening, is committed to running FCRA-compliant background checks so that you can be confident your hiring decisions are legal and made according to all applicable laws.

As a business owner, you’re responsible for the safety of your employees, customers, and vendors. A thorough background check can help protect you from negligent hiring and negligent retention claims that could cost your organization time, money, and reputation. Conducting a background check at the same stage of your hiring process ensures consistency for every candidate.


The cost of hiring the wrong employee can be staggering. A single bad hire can damage your reputation, customer relationships, and company morale, causing a decline in sales. It can also lead to legal complications, such as negligence or fraud cases.

Criminal background checks are one of the most effective ways to ensure you hire quality employees. A reputable CRA can search municipal, state, and county records to find misdemeanours and felonies in a job applicant’s past. In addition, they can conduct social searches, alias verifications, and nationwide searches to ensure that all relevant records are found.

Depending on the nature of your business, you may need to check criminal records more thoroughly for certain positions. For example, if your employees can access cash and sensitive financial information, screening for dishonesty, fraud, and theft convictions is essential. The same goes for positions that involve working with children or vulnerable populations.

Some industries are required by law to conduct thorough criminal background checks. These include regulated industries, such as healthcare and financial services, or those that work with vulnerable individuals. Moreover, performing best-practice background checks will help you avoid legal liability under negligent hiring or retention laws.

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