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Why You Should Run Background Checks on Potential Employers

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:26pm | by Guest Contributor

These days, with so many people desperate for work, it is tempting to say that beggars can’t be choosers when it comes to a company that is offering employment.  And yet, nobody wants to uncover illegal activity at their place of work after the fact, when they could have easily found out beforehand that there were shady business dealings going on.  Plus, a company that is notorious for unfair practices where employees are concerned shouldn’t even be on your radar.  There are times when no amount of money is worth the heartache.  In short, it pays to know what you’re signing up for.  Here are just a few good reasons to run background checks on any potential employers.

1. They’re checking on you.  While you are probably aware that employers will be checking your references, calling past employers, and even contacting schools to make sure you graduated, you might not realize that many are digging deeper these days.  It’s not uncommon for a company to run a criminal background check, and more and more are starting to Google prospective employees and check out their social networking profiles.  There are even companies they can hire to find information that’s hidden or protected by privacy settings.  Since they are taking the trouble to learn so much about you, it seems only natural that you should be equally well informed.

2. You should know what you’re getting into.  If the company that’s looking to hire you is engaged in lawsuits, accused of ethics violations, or known for treating employees badly, it pays to know before you join up.  Wal-Mart, for example, is hated by local businesses because they come into communities with their superstores, sell everything cheaply, and put local vendors out of business.  But they are also gaining a bad reputation because of the terrible way they treat employees (denying unemployment, unfairly firing, and so on).  You might not know this unless you went looking for the information.  Every company has their skeletons in the closet, and you should go in with your eyes open (or not at all).

3. Financials.  Many companies right now are starting to recover from layoffs and hire again, but you need to be aware of the financial status of any company you are considering working for because new hires will likely be the first to get fired if layoffs come around again.  Publicly traded companies must display financial transparency by filing quarterly earnings statements, so you should have no trouble locating this information.

4. Environmental responsibility.  So many companies these days do the bare minimum to meet environmental standards.  But if you’re concerned about the fate of our planet, you may want to look for a company that’s doing more to reduce their carbon footprint.  This is just one area where a background check can deliver the information you’re seeking.

5. It’s easy (and free).  If you want to get a background check free, all you have to do is look online; there are plenty of web-based companies offering the service.  Of course, you might have to pay for targeted information, but a free search is a good place to start if you don’t exactly know what you’re looking for.  In short, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose by opting for a free background check.  So why wouldn’t you?

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