How Entry Level and Management Position Background Checks Differ

(Last Updated On: March 27, 2024)

Article written by Sarah Trusilo


Throughout the hiring process, there are many things to consider. One aspect of the process involves performing background checks. Background checks never fall into a one-size-fits-all category. There are many variables to weigh. For one, think about what your budget is as an organization or department. The cost you can pay may determine how in depth you are able to go. If you doing part of the screening in-house versus outsourcing the entire process, that will also factor into the decision. What one company can do will vary significantly from the next. Company A may only have the budget to search an applicant’s current county of residence for criminal records, while Company B may have the budget to search all areas in which the applicant has resided in the last 7 years. Company C may have the budget to perform a search in all areas of residence for the last 7 years in addition to searching the federal court system, which is a separate court system than the ones performed at the county and state levels. As demonstrated, this one aspect of the background screening process alone has much to consider.


We also run into variances at the same level of the position for which the candidate is applying. You may receive little benefit from performing a check on an applicant’s high school education if that is not something that is important for the job to which they are applying. If they are to be receiving on-the-job training from your organization and knowing whether they hold a high school diploma or college degree is irrelevant to the job they will be doing, you would likely opt out of proceeding with education verification. In the same scenario, you may decide that knowing they have a diploma or degree will at least show their ability to complete education and follow through. In that case, you may decide it is worth the additional expense. Like many other aspects to the background screening process, it is not a black-and-white decision and carries more nuance as you move forward with establishing a written policy for the company.


There are different recommendations with regard to what searches are performed based on legal requirements as well. A position that is classified as regulated by the Department of Transportation, or DOT, would be set up with a motor vehicle record search as a starting point and may involve employment verification that requires a special DOT form to be completed by any previous or present employers. A government position may require specialized employment verification that would account for any gaps in employment history. A position in finance typically has a credit check performed.


Most companies do have different levels of positions they fill. As mentioned, entry level positions may simply involve a very basic background check, depending on the budget of the company running the check. However, the higher the position is in the chain of command, the more expanded the background screening package could be potentially. If you are hiring a new chief officer, the recommendation may be to perform a credit check, motor vehicle search, employment verification, education verification, professional reference check, and others.


There are liability issues that come up with any hire. If you hire an engineer to help build a bridge but fail to ensure they earned a degree in engineering, you would be liable if the bridge were to fail in any way. If you staff doctors in a hospital and hire someone who did not pass their United States Medical Licensing Exam, you could face serious repercussions. For many positions that work with the public, it is also pertinent to ensure the candidate does not have a record of posing a risk to anyone. This may involve searching the sex offender registry or requiring a child abuse clearance.


The fact of the matter is that, while it may seem like an unnecessary expense to perform background checks, it can be more expensive not to do so. In a market where you can pay for just about anything, you must consider these options are also available to job seekers. There are companies that make a lucrative living helping people lie and deceive others, such as spouses and potential employers. These “professional liars”, as some call them, can provide a myriad of crooked services for their clients, including supplying fake references, fake bosses, fake skills verifications, and fake phone numbers equipped with voicemail prompts. What is just as important as running background checks with the most applicable searches for the jobs you are filling is using a reputable company to perform them. In the background screening industry, we have seen many falsified diplomas from applicants that were desperate to prove they graduated from a school that informed us no record of the induvial exists.


When you are reviewing your background screening program, it is crucial to think about the responsibilities of the position and what the ideal candidate’s background should look like, fulfilling your organization’s due diligence. Performing background checks in-house has certain risks, among which is the appearance of inconsistency as well as falling prey to fraudulent companies or candidates that attempt to defraud your organization. This can be avoided by utilizing a professional screening company. Ultimately, one of the main goals of screening is to not only find the best fit for the position, but to protect your organization from negligent hiring lawsuits.