Is The Level 3 Background Check The Most Important Pre-Employment Background Check?

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The best way to protect your business against fraudulent people is to make sure they don’t get in your company in the first place. A rigorous background check of your candidates makes all the difference when hiring new employees or promoting an employee to a higher rank.

A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported that 69% of organizations do criminal checks for all job applications. It is the only way to know you can trust a job applicant to take care of your money, business assets, and other employees.

The level 3 background check is the most common pre-employment screening. The level 3 background check screens your potential employee’s history including education, criminal records, previous employment, and references to ensure they are right for the job and won’t cause any trouble in your business. To demystify the level 3 background check, take a look at the other types of background checks.

Levels Of Background Checks

The different background checks can be classified into five different levels. Think of them as incremental background checks, with every level covering the previous level checks and something extra.

Level 1

The level 1 background check is a simple yet essential background check that confirms your candidate’s identity. At level 1, you run the candidate’s personally identifiable information (eg, name, social security, date of birth, address, etc.,) through the available criminal records in the state they live in. 

Level 2

Though most employers prefer name-based background checks over fingerprint checks, the level 2 background check is fingerprint-based and could include a motor vehicle report. A Level 2 background check covers national criminal records and arrest warrants to uncover disqualifying offenses like sexual felonies especially when your candidate will be holding significant responsibility like volunteering or working with vulnerable people like children.

Employers are allowed to engage a qualified employment verification service to conduct the checks and maintain the integrity of information. You should only use a pre-employment screening agency that is FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) Compliant.

Level 3

Level 3 background check includes all checks in levels 1 and 2, plus education and employment verification. It could also include pre-employment drug test results.

Level 4

The level 4background check is reserved for the candidates for executive positions and financial placements whenever you are hiring or promoting one of your employees. The Level 4 background check involves all the level 3 checks, plus media search (internet), federal criminal search, and federal bankruptcy search.

A level 5 background check includes all searches from level 1 to level 4, plus a search through government watch lists and license verification.

The Importance of Level 3 Background Check

A level 3 background check is useful for both businesses and individuals with questions about a person. When hiring a babysitter or security guard, the level 3 background check results will qualify or disqualify your candidates. Even when you have questions about your future spouse and can’t contact their family, you can run a level 3 background check to rule out any previous criminal activities. Level 3 background check results can take up to four weeks. Depending on the state you live in, you can get 7 years or up to 10 years’ history of your candidate.

Verifying Previous Employment

Where you would verify your candidate’s employment history by calling the referees, a pre-employment screening agency will contact the employer through their independent research. That way you can trust that the information you get about whether the employer exists, the candidate’s terms of leaving the previous job, their conduct, and performance at work. The agency will also verify the referees.

Verify Education

According to a survey by Career Builder, 75% of hiring managers have spotted lies in resumes. While some mistakes are easy to spot and forgivable, you might not know how to verify a certificate or degree. Pre-employment verification agencies are experts at verifying education documents making sure that you hire only qualified candidates. It reduces time and resources spent on training allowing your business to focus on productive activities. If you are hiring someone to operate machinery, you can also request their motor vehicle records and drug test results.

Ensure Your Business and Staff Security

According to a report by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, businesses in the US lose approximately 5% of their revenue to fraudulent employees. This is majorly due to a lack of internal controls, but prevention is the best approach. A level 3 background check screens your candidate’s personal information (including fingerprints) in federal and national criminal records. A clean record gives you peace of mind when you leave your assets and money in the hands of your new hire.

Minimize Negligence Liability

You are responsible for protecting everyone in your business and minimize risks within your premises. If one of your employees harms someone within your premises, your first line of defense will be a thorough pre-employment screening. If you failed to do a background check on the offender, your business may be served a negligence lawsuit.

Even as you do your background check, you should know how to read a background check report so that you are not accused of discrimination when hiring. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provides guidelines on non-discrimination based on criminal history. When you are not sure, consult an FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) Compliant pre-employment screening agency.


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