Nowadays, background checks are really easy to do, and several online services can complete them quickly and relatively inexpensively. This is a good final step before actually sending over the job offer and bringing someone new onto your construction team. But what typically goes into a background check? And what are the things that you should really care about?

Keep in mind that no one actually fails a background check. At least, a candidate does not receive a “passing” or “failing” grade from a third party. Instead, you get a report back and will need to decide if it meets your company’s standards.

Educational & Professional History

While this is not part of most standard background checks, it could be really important. Are the certifications and positions that the candidate listed accurate? You will need to call the stated institutions to double-check. This information should be a primary concern because 1) it will show you if a candidate is dishonest, and 2) ensure that they have the experience and qualifications that they say they do.

Driving Record

This could be very important for construction companies. Many background checks will include whether an individual has an active license, as well as any accumulated points, accidents, or DUIs. This is important if the job includes operating a motor vehicle on the job site or transporting others. However, if driving is not part of the position, any flags can probably just be overlooked.

Criminal Background

Take into consideration the nature of the crime (violent or nonviolent), when it was committed (ten months or ten years ago), and whether or not the individual was actually convicted. In situations where something does come up, most companies opt to give candidates a chance to explain themselves. If there is a crime, but it is not directly related to the construction industry or the type of work the applicant would be doing, sometimes it is best to turn a blind eye.

Drug Test

Substance abuse is a big problem in construction, so this test is essential if you are looking to hire someone who will be operating heavy machinery or managing expensive equipment. That being said, more and more companies are taking an increasingly lax policy on marijuana, as it is becoming legalized in areas across the United States.

Credit Score

A credit report will provide information like whether or not the candidate paid their bills on time, their credit score, if they have a lot of debt, etc. Knowing how responsible someone is with their finances can definitely give you some insight into what type of person they are, but there could also be other factors at play. For example, someone might be in debt because of bad shopping habits or because of familial medical bills. This is really only something that you should pay attention to if it directly applies to the open position.

Trust Your Instincts

If there is a candidate that you are very excited about, and you see a red flag come up on their background check, consider asking them about it before you write them off. Remember, everyone has a past, and that is not always indicative of their future. You do not want to miss out on an excellent hire because you were too near-sighted to see someone’s true potential.


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