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Employee Background Check vs Criminal Record Check: What's the Difference?

Looking at any successful company will reveal how employees play a pivotal in a company’s success. Regardless of the business’s nature or scale, hiring competent personnel is critical. It can significantly boost your proceedings, resulting in an inevitable market surge.

Since the practice is crucial, companies need to be thorough with their approach. Hiring an incompetent employee can hurt your business, but undertaking criminal or shady personnel can incur even greater damage. That is why every business worth its salt invests ample time and resources in running a background check.

Background checks are a norm in the modern market, but their diverse use also leads to confusion. What is an employee background check, and how is it different from a criminal record check? Such questions are common for any business to ask.

While both terms are used interchangeably, their scope differentiates vastly. One is conducted to render general information regarding the employee, while the other generates specialised data based on criminal activities.

How are they different, and why should they be used? Let’s take a better look.


Why Run a Background Check?

Before understanding the difference between employee record checks and criminal history checks, you must wonder why they are important. Both background checks serve different purposes, but both of them offer perks like:

  • Ensuring the safety of the workplace, clients, and co-workers.
  • Maintaining consistency and quality throughout the personnel.
  • Reduce the overall hiring costs in the long run.
  • Minimising risks and long-term liabilities.
  • Complying with laws and reducing fines and penalties.


Criminal Background Check vs Employee Background Check

In most cases, standard background checks include criminal activities-related information as well. However, criminal background checks offer specialised data solely surrounding the candidate’s criminal history.

What is an Employee Record Check?

Employers undertake pre-hiring record checks to gain critical insights regarding the aspirants. The information assures that the candidate showcases the skills highlighted in their resumes to prevent the chances of routine losses due to subpar performance.

Standard or employee record checks can vary based on the company’s requirements. It can be related to employment verification, driving history, social media screening, and even a criminal record check. So, it can be stated that criminal background checks are a part of employee background checks.

An employee record check can be defined as the summary of all the surface-level knowledge of the candidate’s history. It comprises different fields but only proposes basic data necessary for the job. However, that does not mean employers cannot expand their search in specific fields.

An appropriate example will be running an MVR check for a driving-based job profile since it digs out every information regarding the applicant’s driving history and violations. Similarly, running a social media screening for jobs related to online interaction is profitable too.

However, employers need to be careful as investing additional efforts and resources in unrelated domains provides useless data. Since the process needs to be effective and in compliance with laws, employers can opt for organisations like ours to run an advanced background check.


What is a Criminal Background Check?

As already stated, an employee record check is a wider concept, while a criminal background check is a domain-specific idea. Learning the candidate’s past, particularly their criminal history, is pivotal for higher posts. When hiring for an executive or higher-level job, running a criminal check becomes a must.

History has witnessed business run into ruin due to bad hiring decisions. You can avoid such a scenario while significantly improving your hiring process’ efficiency by running an extensive criminal check. It helps employers assess whether the candidate’s past behaviour can dent the organisation now.

It illustrates whether their past actions can affect their current position, responsibilities and pose potential risks to colleagues and/or clients. Merely assessing past behaviour does not indicate a foolproof image of the person’s current understanding. But, it can still provide a reasonable idea of whether or not you can trust the candidate.

Standard criminal history checks provide information like the candidate’s real identity, description, convictions, arrests, or prison terms. Depending on the employer, it can also include details regarding outstanding warrants. Such information is generated through police and court records or similar sources.

Employers should understand that there is an extent to running a background check. The standard span for criminal history check is deemed seven years in most nations. However, you can extend the search to ten years with a complete criminal history.

Some states also prevent specific information from criminal checks. Depending on the candidate’s territories, employers should account for additional costs and the laws regarding the search.

Businesses can be even more specific about their history search like federal, state, county, or even nationwide.

Final Thoughts

Running a background check is essential to hire the most suitable employees for a business. But different concepts can confuse employers regarding the best approach. While an employee record check is a broader concept, it involves a certain extent of criminal history check too.

Contrarily, a criminal record search focuses on criminal activities and past behaviour. Both record checks are crucial, but a criminal search is pivotal for top company positions. We hope this article helped you understand these concepts and how we can conduct seamless background verifications for your potential hiring needs.