What Triggers a Red Flag on a Background Check

Background checks play a crucial role in the hiring process as they provide a means to verify the information provided by candidates. While recruiters hope for transparency, red flags can sometimes emerge during background checks. These flags may indicate potential concerns in an applicant’s history, requiring further investigation by the employer.

In this article, we will delve into the common causes of red flags on background checks and offer insights on how to safeguard your business from hiring the wrong individuals.

8 Telltale Red Flags Found in Background Checks

Certain indicators discovered during background checks can have significant implications for your company if you decide to proceed with hiring a candidate. Here are some common red flags to watch out for and the reasons behind their significance.

1. Inaccurate Information

Trustworthiness, honesty, and reliability are essential traits in any candidate. While interviews and reference checks provide some insight, relying solely on these methods may not be enough. Background checks offer a critical layer of protection against misrepresentation.

If a background screening reveals inconsistent employment or educational information compared to what the candidate provided, it raises a red flag. People generally lie either because they feel unqualified for the role or are attempting to conceal something. Even if the candidate possesses other positive traits, their dishonesty speaks volumes about their character. Pause and contemplate if this is someone you want representing your organization before proceeding with the hiring process.

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2. Employment History Gaps

Exercise caution when encountering significant gaps in a candidate’s employment history. These gaps may indicate an inability to maintain steady employment, which could impact their reliability within your company. As a business, you want staff members who can commit to long-term engagement.

Additionally, background checks may uncover undisclosed places of employment that don’t appear on the resume. While this is often due to irrelevant past jobs, it may also signal negative incidents at previous workplaces.

3. Short Tenure at Companies

Frequent job changes, reflected as sporadic and short periods of employment at various companies, may raise concerns about a candidate’s dependability, similar to prolonged employment gaps. While there may be valid reasons for these short stints, such as seasonal work or internships, it’s essential to inquire about the trend in their job history. It’s possible that the candidate had to relocate due to family emergencies or faced workplace conflicts like harassment.

However, if they lack acceptable explanations, it may not be in your best interest to hire them.

4. Criminal Records

Not all criminal records automatically disqualify candidates from employment, especially if they have taken appropriate legal measures to address past mistakes. However, specific types of criminal backgrounds may pose risks to your organization.

For instance, an accounting firm would likely be cautious about hiring someone with a history of fraud or embezzlement. Similarly, individuals with theft-related convictions should not be entrusted with inventory management, and those with violent charges should not work with vulnerable populations. Identifying job-related convictions can help mitigate your company’s liability in the event of workplace incidents.

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5. Dubious Credit History

Around 16% of employers incorporate credit reports into their screening process. Contrary to popular belief, companies do not seek credit scores but rather other relevant information contained in these reports.

Credit history provides insights into a person’s financial life, including past employment, affiliated educational institutions, and more. While financial well-being may not be a priority for every job, it can be crucial for certain positions. For instance, hiring an accountant who struggles with personal finances would raise concerns.

6. Negative References

Checking references is a standard part of the screening process. While minor issues or conflicts with past employers might not be alarming, recurring problems across multiple references should be noted. Long-standing habits are difficult to break, so if a candidate consistently exhibited negative behavior in previous roles, it’s important to consider whether they will behave differently in your company.

7. Failed Drug Screening

Although drug tests are not mandatory for most jobs, some industries still require them, especially when safety considerations are paramount. For roles involving heavy machinery or safety-sensitive positions, failing a drug test is a significant red flag that recruiters should not ignore.

8. Refusal to Undergo Background Checks

Before conducting a background check, explicit consent from the applicant is necessary. If an individual refuses to participate, it may indicate their awareness of potentially damaging information that they wish to keep hidden.

In Conclusion

Research indicates that 78% of job seekers have admitted to lying during the hiring process or considering doing so. While embellishing credentials and skills on resumes is not uncommon, certain lies can have detrimental consequences for your business.

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Don’t let deceptive candidates deceive you. If you wish to enhance your company’s background check and screening procedures, 5 WS is here to assist you. Trustworthy, reliable hiring practices are vital to building a successful team and protecting your business.

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