What does a background check show for pre-employment screening?

  •  08/23/2018
  • By Andrea Collatz
  •  Criminal Background , Employer

Every hire offers a new opportunity for productivity, but every person added to your team also presents a business risk. Performing background checks during pre-employment screening can help confirm your hiring decision and keep your business profitable and productive.

What does a background check show for employment?

What shows up on a background check depends on what which type of search you order, since there are several different sets of records and data to pull from. Generally speaking, a background check for employment may show identity verification, employment verification, credit history, driver’s history, criminal records, education confirmation, and more.

Employers gather a wealth of information in order to evaluate a candidate’s character and help protect against the wrong hire. Read on to learn the various types of background checks for employment, what they may show, and why they matter.

What does a background check consist of?

Although there are many different types of background checks, employers are usually concerned with the top three searches. The most common pre-employment searches include:

1. Identity and Social Security Verification

  • By searching extensive databases such as the Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records, a background check for employment can show whether or not a Social Security number is valid, who it belongs to, and if it’s been used in the past.
social security verification 

Identification verification may also be used to verify an address, which can be cross-referenced to the information provided by a job applicant to detect inaccuracies.

2. Credit Report

  • Credit reports are prepared by credit bureaus who collect information from a variety of sources. For example, credit card companies and financial institutions furnish data to credit bureaus, who in turn maintain records on consumers.

Although credit reporting agencies do not necessarily have identical information, the general categories of information that show on a background check include:

  • Identifying Information
    Credit bureaus can provide identifying information such as name, date of birth, and address.
  • Credit Inquiries
credit inquires on loans 
  • Credit reports contain a list of past credit inquiries, identifying retailers, financial institutions, and other lenders have requested a consumer’s credit report..

    • Tradelines
      Tradelines show accounts established with lenders. It could include of the date the account was opened, the type of account opened (mortgage, auto loan, credit card, etc.), the loan amount or credit limit, the account’s current balance, and the borrower’s payment history.

    • Public Records
      Credit reports may show previous bankruptcies.

    Credit reports can reveal many potential warning signs in an applicant, especially if your new hire will regularly be handling money. High levels of debt or excessive spending on assets could indicate financial irresponsibility.

    3. Criminal Records

    • If an employer knows—or should have known—about an employee’s relevant criminal background, they may face negligent hiring claims if the employee is accused of further wrongdoing. What shows up on a background check for employment may help safeguard business owners by revealing histories of criminal convictions.

    Criminal background checks for employment may show criminal offenses at the county, state, and federal level. Various offenses which may be reported include:

    • Current pending charges
    • Misdemeanor convictions
    • Felony convictions
    • Acquitted charges
    • Dismissed charges

    Employers should take caution when evaluating what shows up on this form of background check for employment.

    Depending on the type of job employers are hiring for, they might require additional information from their candidates and ask for more information on their background check for employment. Further searches include options such as motor vehicle and driving records, employment history, education verification, reference checks, and drug screening.

    Why does it matter what a background check shows?

    The consequences of making the wrong hire are staggering. According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, almost 27 percent of U.S. employers said that just one bad hire has cost their company more than $50,000
27% of employers stated that a bad hire cost the company more than $50K27% OF EMPLOYERS STATED THAT THE WRONG HIRE COST THE COMPANY MORE THAN $50K

The U.S. Department of Labor supports this claim; according to their reports, the cost of the wrong hire can add up to at least 30 percent of the individual’s first-year earnings. Depending on the position’s salary rate, this can easily exceed tens of thousands of dollars. Why are these costs so extensive? Termination expenses. You may be required to pay additional healthcare expenses and, in some cases, face litigation expenses should your ex-employee choose to take legal action. Having to replace a bad hire can also be expensive; you’ll likely need to provide training courses, employment testing, orientation services, and more.

  • So how do modern business owners get a more complete picture of their job applicants to avoid a bad hire? With pre-employment screening.

    There are several different methods employers may use for pre-employment screening, and what shows up on a background check will vary depending on which service is chosen:

  1. A traditional background check company may provide a wealth of information including military records and license verification. Although they may be thorough, these packaged services are usually costly and time consuming, forcing small business owners to pay for exhaustive background checks that may not be necessary.

  2. Online people searches are a do-it-yourself form of background checks that show public information obtained online. Employers may type a job candidate’s name into a search engine and check for results on business pages or social media sites. While these searches are usually free, such types of background checks consist of information that may be unreliable, out of date, or out of context.

  3. Instead of asking yourself “How long does it take for a background check?” or figuring out how to do a background check online by yourself, turn to quick and easy screening solutions offered by ShareAble for Hires.

ShareAble for Hires offers reliable, trustworthy, and comprehensive pre-employment screening that can help ensure you have a more complete picture of your job applicant. Through criminal reports, credit history, and identity verification, you can confirm your hiring decision and ensure your applicant meets your criteria.


Know Your Applicant’s Background with a Criminal History Check

Keeping your business safe should be priority, and running criminal background checks on job applicants can protect your company, employees, and customers.

TransUnion data shows that nearly 1 in 4 reports contain a criminal record.  If you’re hiring for a position that requires direct contact with the public or handling cash, sensitive financial data, or sensitive personal information, it can be especially important to check your applicant’s criminal report.

ShareAble for Hires scours 300 million national and state criminal records. Our criminal reports glean information from Most Wanted databases, the Sex Offender Public Registry, and criminal databases from 43 states.

Because there are many legal regulations regarding the use of criminal reports while hiring, it’s important you conduct a background screening process that follows federal and state laws.  ShareAble for Hires criminal reports offer FCRA-regulated data, providing you with the relevant criminal history information needed to effectively screen potential employees. 

employment criminal check information 

When you use ShareAble for Hires for background checks, you’ll receive a criminal history report that includes search results from:

  1. 300 million criminal records
  2. Felony and misdemeanor criminal records from state and local jurisdictions in 43 states
  3. Most Wanted databases
  4. National Sex Offender Public Registry
  5. Records from federal agencies, including:
    • a. the Drug Enforcement Administration
    • b. the FBI
    • c. Homeland Security
    • d. the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives,
    • e. S. Marshals, the U.S. Secret Service, and the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control
employee credit history background check 

Get a Picture of Your Applicant’s Financial Situation with a Credit Report

Why should you consider a job candidate’s credit report? Bad credit isn’t enough reason to dismiss a candidate, but the financial patterns and habits shown in their credit history might better indicate a candidate’s fitness. Getting a more complete picture of your applicant’s financial background can help you better determine the risk. You may decide to have stronger financial criteria for applicants who will be regularly handling money, and a credit report can be useful in determining the financial trustworthiness of your applicant.

Employers often use credit history to gauge a job applicant’s level of responsibility, but good money habits can also be important to specific categories of companies and positions. Does the position in question involve the handling of money? Will your hire have access to the company’s sensitive financial information? Knowing whether a candidate manages their finances responsibly can help you determine if they’ll handle your company’s finances responsibly as well. 

ShareAble for Hires draws its credit reports from TransUnion, a trusted, reliable credit reporting agency with over 40 years of experience.

When you use ShareAble for Hires for pre-employment background checks, you receive a credit report that include:

  1. Recent employment history*
  2. Verification of name, address, and social security number
  3. A summary of active accounts and credit lines
  4. Any debts incurred, including credit card debt, mortgage and car payments, and student loans
  5. Payment history

 *Not all employment history may be available or contained within a credit report.

Identity Verification Confirms Your Applicant is Who They Say They Are

Identity theft reached an all-time high in 2016. New data from Javelin Strategy & Research shows an estimated 15.4 million consumers were impacted by some type of identity theft. That means almost 1 in 16 U.S adults were victims of identity theft in the past year alone.

What does this mean for your business? As an employer, you should be confident that you know exactly who you’re hiring. To ensure job applicants are straightforward and forthcoming with their histories, it’s essential to verify their identity.

ShareAble for Hires offers built-in identity verification with each screening package so you know your applicant is who they say they are.  Applicants enter their information into the system and answer a series of personal questions to confirm their identity and grant consent to screening. 

Background check with built-in identity verification  

The process is done entirely online so you can screen whenever it’s most convenient for you. All applications and reports are kept on your employer dashboard so you can manage and refer to applications in once place.


Finding an honest, responsible and trustworthy employee is no simple task, but ShareAble for Hires makes it easier. Make faster, better-informed hiring decisions with ShareAble for Hires pre-employment screening services.  With criminal reports, credit histories, and identity verification delivered to you in minutes, you’ll have the information you need to support your hiring decision.

Senior Marketing Analyst, TransUnion ShareAble

Andrea Collatz

She focuses on topics that empower small business owners through data, insights and industry best practices.


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