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5 Tips for Performing a Thorough Criminal Record Check

If you are an employer, a landlord or if you are a worried parent, you may want to do a background check. Whether you check out the background of a prospective employee or babysitter for your kids, it is important to know exactly what you are doing before you do the check. For instance, you may check the background of one person and not come up with anything – there is a good chance that you are looking in the wrong state or you are missing some other crucial information. When you are doing a background check, gathering all the necessary information is critical. Here are five tips for performing a thorough criminal record check.

  1. Make sure to get all the information you need first. For instance, you want to make sure that you get the state where the person you are checking grew up or went to college. You also want a full name and any maiden names – a social security number helps too. All of this information will be vital when you go to check the person’s background. The last thing you want is to miss a crucial piece of information.
  2. Ask for references. When you are doing a background check, you want at least three promising references and you don’t want it to be a close friend or spouse. You want the references to be past employers, professors – anyone within a certain authoritative capacity. Ideally, you want a minimum of three references – with numbers and names. You want to call these people and ask a series of questions. For instance, if you are calling former employers, you want to make sure to ask about reasons for leaving – was it because the person got fired, quit or some other nefarious explanation?
  3. Understand the laws. There may be some things you can’t check, like marital status and sexual orientation. These things cannot be used to determine someone’s qualifications for a job. So, you need to inform the person whose background you are investigating and that you will not be taking those things into consideration. If you want to protect yourself legally, you may also want to let the person know that you will be looking at arrest records and other confidential information.
  4. Ask the person if they have ever had a record expunged. In some cases, a person’s record may be completely clean. If they went through a criminal record expungement process, you may not get anything. In fact, it is easy to visit an attorney to get your record expunged. When you are doing a background check, the person has the right to decide to tell you whether they have a record expunged or not.
  5. Search public records. One of the easiest and more efficient ways to do a background check is to look through public records. There are many websites that allow you to do a background check, but they will often charge you for the information. In the end, you are better off going to your local courthouse to retrieve the proper documentation.