chapter 3


Congratulations! After shuffling through what seemed like an endless pile of applications, you’re confident you found the perfect match. But before you extend an offer, it’s important to conduct a standard background check. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred you won’t find anything fishy; it’s that one percent that can really sidetrack your growth.

What’s a background check?

Depending on who you ask, a background check can mean anything from verifying a resume to checking up on an applicant’s criminal background. Even a cursory Google search of your applicant’s name can turn up some useful information.

Generally, a these sorts of checks are composed of four pieces of information:

  • Resume verification means—that’s right—verifying the information on the resume. For example, you can call an old employer to make certain that your applicant held the position(s) they said they did.

  • Reference checks go hand in hand with the resume verification process. These reference checks, again, verify the candidate’s educational background and/or employment history. Request the contact information of former employers, professors, and other relevant people. These people will most likely have insight on the candidate’s strengths, weaknesses, and work ethic—all of which will be vital in your decision-making process. By law, you can ask a lot more of an employee’s references than you can of their old HR director, who can really only confirm an employee’s job title, how long they worked at their previous job, and a few other, fairly basic questions.

  • Depending on the job, you should check an applicant’s criminal history. It’s necessary for jobs that require driving, teaching, and other skills that depend on the safety of others. If anything unusual or negative shows up, make sure you make a record of it in case any issues arise from your final hiring decision.

In some cases, you may want to do a credit check, while making sure you follow the guidelines of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). For the most part, these credit checks are not standard, especially in comparison to the previous three types of background checks, but if your new employee is getting access to the company credit card or running the accounting department, it’s probably a good idea to make sure they’re good with money.

I’m ready to extend an offer. What do I do now?

Ready to make things official? In that case, you should draft up an Employment Offer Letter. That letter should outline a few important details, including compensation and hours, if they are an at-will employee or not, and other basic important information. We’ll go over some of these distinctions later in this guide.

After sending the offer letter, you should be ready for some back-and-forth in wage negotiation (depending on the job, of course). But generally, if someone applied and you want to hire them, you should be able to find a happy medium. Once you’ve agreed on a salary and a start date, you’re pretty much set. Congratulations on the new hire!


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