How To Do A Background Check On Someone

As a small business owner, hiring the right employee can be a boon for your company.  But, a sub-par employee can throw a wrench into the gears and grind your team’s productivity to a halt. The risk of a bad hire can be reduced by running a background check beforehand. To run a background, the screener needs to understand and abide by the laws first of all. Then gain explicit consent from the applicant to proceed.  From there, the screener collects pertinent personal information from the job applicant to run the check.  Finally, check the results thoroughly.  


Growing your business requires top-tier talent you can rely on. You need to feel truly confident when filling new roles and vacant positions. One of the best ways to protect your business and grow your team is by running online background checks during the hiring process.

Understanding how to do a background check can help you mitigate substantial risks.

Your top job candidate just completed the interview and you think that they are a perfect fit for the role. You can’t wait to offer them a job. How can you become more certain you’ve just met your next potential superstar? Go with what your gut tells you? Do another Google search to puzzle together some nuggets about a person’s background?

Instead, help protect your business, support your team and save your reputation by running a compliant, online background check.

Even if a candidate looks perfect on paper, it’s crucial that you take the time and consider doing a background check on someone to ensure that you’re hiring a good employee. There are many kinds of background checks. And the right one for your business depends on your industry and your organization’s needs.

In general, background checks can give you

  • Information on any relevant criminal past
  • Insight about credit history
  • Ability to verify identity
  • Rundown of past employment
  • And more

Armed with this information, you can better understand if your applicant is the right fit for your company. If you want to learn more about how to run a background check on someone, what information you’ll find, and how much background checks cost, we’ve got you covered.

For a more in-depth look at how to run a background check on someone, keep reading below.

Remember that this material is intended to provide you with helpful information and is not to be relied upon to make decisions, nor is this material intended to be or construed as legal advice. You are encouraged to consult your legal counsel for advice on your specific business operations and responsibilities under applicable law. Trademarks used in this material are the property of their respective owners and no affiliation or endorsement is implied.

What Is a Background Check?

A background check is commonly used by employers to make sure that a potential employee is suited for a position. These background checks provide critical information about a job applicant that must be evaluated in order to help employers determine if they are a good fit for their organization.

There are many aspects that can be part of a background check including:

  • Identity verification
  • Criminal history
  • Credit checks
  • Motor vehicle reports
  • Professional licenses
  • Education completed
  • Previous employment

Most employers conduct pre-employment screening on new hires before they are scheduled to start. This is a standard business practice that can help you make a fully informed hiring decision, reduce risk in the workplace, and verify candidate claims – all of which help to improve the quality of your hire. While it takes time, effort and money to conduct these checks, it is well worth it as onboarding a bad hire can to turn out to be costly mistake.

How Do You Do a Background Check on Someone?

The good news is, running a criminal record check is simple. While there are different types, the process is relatively the same.

5 steps on how to run a background check on someone

1. Understand the laws

Before you run a background check on your own, make sure you become familiar with laws that affect you. In addition to the federal government, each state has its own regulations on employee screening. Adhering to these rules is important for business owners.

The Fair Credit Report Act (FCRA) generally requires employers to perform background checks that are accurate, transparent, and fair to consumers. To learn more about your responsibilities, check out this blog post about FCRA compliance for background checks and see how ShareAble for Hires provides FCRA-compliant employee screening reports. It is recommended that you consult legal counsel to help ensure you review and are compliant with laws applicable to you and your business.

2. Gain consent

You generally must receive the candidate’s express permission before running a background check. Some companies do this by having job candidates sign an agreement that gives permission for background checks to be completed.

Instead of going through all the paperwork, many small businesses use ShareAble for Hires to automate the process of getting permission from your applicant.

ShareAble for Hires empowers applicants to:

3. Collecting personal information

In addition to getting consent to run a background check on someone, you might need to collect certain personal information such as first and last name, Social Security Number, physical address, phone number, etc.

With ShareAble, all you need is an email address. The applicant is contacted. They answer a few questions to verify their identity. They consent to sharing their information. And you receive reports—all in just minutes.

4. Run the background check

Some employers opt to take the DIY approach to employee background checks. Free online people search databases can retrieve information on applicants, but the data may not be reliable (or legal) to help with hiring decisions.

It’s important to use a background check provider that provides compliant reports on-demand. One of the quickest and easiest ways to run a reliable background check is to use TransUnion’s ShareAble for Hires. Get credit, criminal and Identity check reports within minutes so you can hire on the spot.

5. Review the results

Part of knowing how to do a background check means knowing what red flags to look for. For example, it’s important to understand how to spot resume fraud because a surprising number of applicants embellish their resumes to get hired. Take your time to thoroughly review the results of any background checks you run to make sure you’re not missing anything. After a while, you’ll develop a process that makes it easy to figure out if people are being honest on their resumes.

What Information Shows Up on a Background Check?

1. Identity and Social Security Verification

Verifying the identity of job applicants is one of the most important parts of running a background check before you hire an employee.

Generally when a background check is run, official databases are scanned to see if the number is valid, belongs to your applicant, or has been used in the past. Online identity checks offer valuable insight that can save you from hiring the wrong employee.

2. Credit Report

Information contained on credit reports can help further evaluate candidate level of responsibility, trustworthiness and dependability. Credit reports can be particularly important if you’re hiring employees who are going to handle money, accessing sensitive financial data or developing budgets. An employment credit check gives you a look at things like number of tradelines, derogatory credit accounts, credit inquiries, and other information. The credit report is broken out into sections to help appraise overall financial health and evaluate factors such as: payment history, debt-level and monthly financial obligations.

Note: Pre-employment credit reports generally DO NOT include a credit score. For more information on why a credit score is not included in a credit report for employment screening, click here.

3. Criminal Records

Checking for any relevant criminal history is a crucial part of background checks. There could be types of offenses that indicate that a person is not a fit for the role or is a safety risk. Criminal background checks for employment may show criminal offenses at the county, state, and federal level. Various offenses which may be reported include:

Shareable For Hires searches state and national criminal databases, most-wanted lists, National Sex Offender Public Registry and federal watch lists.

How Long Does a Background Check Take

Traditional background checks can take several days or even weeks to receive results. You might have to fill out an application to become a customer, or speak to a salesperson just to get started. The application alone can take hours or days to be approved. Worse yet, your application might be rejected, excluding you from getting access to screening tools at all. You could lose out on that star candidate due to process slowness or report delivery delays.

ShareAble For Hires is different. It puts your small businesses on the screening fast-track, and gives you:

When you are ready to screen, ShareAble is ready to expedite the process by delivering nearly instant background information, credit history, and identification reports.

How Much Does a Background Check Cost?

As a business owner, it’s important to understand how expenses like background checks affect your bottom line. ShareAble for Hires offers low-cost background checks, so your small business can hire with confidence without hurting your budget.

It’s free to sign-up to establish your account. Pricing is straight forward—there are three convenient screening packages to choose from, and you only pay when you screen.

Run a Background Check on Someone With ShareAble for Hires

Hiring the right people is arguably the most important component of running a successful business. background checks can help prevent risks such internal theft, property negligence and dangerous behaviors.

Run an online background check on employees and get reports in minutes. If you’re not taking advantage of fast, convenient background checks, give it a try.

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This content, except as otherwise indicated or stated on this site, is the property of TransUnion Rental Screening Solutions, Inc. This content is for educational purposes and for convenience only. Trademarks used are the property of their respective owners, and no endorsement or affiliation is implied. The information presented in this content is “as is” without warranties of any kind, and specifically is not represented to be complete and does not constitute legal advice, and is subject to change without notice. You are encouraged to check these terms from time to time for changes, and by accessing this site you agree to these terms and all terms listed. Laws and regulations may vary by state and locality. Consult your own counsel if you have legal questions related to your rental property practices and processes.