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Most Common Questions Asked During an Employee Background Check

Most Common Questions Asked During an Employee Background Check

The scope of an employee background check can vary based on company needs and the nature of the role being filled. At a high level, you can group the kind of questions asked during an employee background check into three categories.


Is the applicant telling the truth?

One common term is “verification.” Any employee background check, even the most rudimentary, is going to start by verifying important information the applicant has provided. This is no trivial matter. Studies have shown that 53% of all job applications contain inaccuracies and that 46% of workers know someone who’s put false information in their resume.

The main areas of an applicant’s background to verify are:

  • Education

  • Employment

  • Address history

  • References

In most of the areas, a background check will verify the basics: dates and places. A verification check also asks:

  • Did this applicant earn the degree or perform the job claimed?

  • What was the applicant’s title?

  • Why did the person leave the position?

  • Is someone listed as a reference actually in a position to provide a relevant reference (childhood neighbors don’t count), and if so, are they providing a positive one?

Asking these questions not only verifies important information about a person’s suitability for a position, but also helps answer the question about their truthfulness.


Is the applicant qualified?

Of course, HR managers and hiring managers address the question of qualification in multiple ways. An employee background check plays its part in this process by asking these questions:

  • Does the applicant have all the necessary licensing or certification qualifications required?

  • Is the applicant a member of good standing in any required trade or professional organizations?

  • If relevant, what is the applicant’s workers’ compensation history?

  • Did the applicant have performance issues with any past employer?

There’s some crossover here with the verification stage of background checks, especially as concerns references. A thorough interview with references regarding a potential employee’s previous work performance is a vital tool in an employer’s applicant assessment toolbox.


Is the applicant a safe bet?

Negligent hire claims are a serious risk for employers. Employers typically lose the case and the average negligent hire suit settles for $1 million. Ignorance of an employee’s background is no defense, as the legal standard on a negligent hire claim is whether the employer should have known. And that doesn’t just apply to whether someone may be dangerous, but also as to whether they have an untrustworthy character.

Here, you want to run a criminal background check so you can learn:

  • Is this applicant over-extended?

  • Has this applicant been convicted or plead nolo contendere to a crime? If so

    • What crime?

    • Was it a misdemeanor or felony?

    • What’s the nature of the crime? Is it relevant to the position?

    • How long ago (or not so long ago)?

    • Are there multiple offenses?

If relevant to the position, it’s also common to run a driving record check to learn the applicant’s driving history and find out whether that provides any red flags.


Moving from common questions to specific needs

Verifying applicant-provided information, and using an employee background check to assess an applicant’s qualifications and risk-level are all common ways pre-employment screening helps companies make informed, smarter hiring decisions.

As with any process change, HR should be able to analyze the efficiency and effectiveness of their hiring efforts. Triton Verify can help you move from recruitment to acquiring the talent your company needs to grow. Contact us to learn more about our services now.

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Employee Background Check