A pre-employment screening is a necessary evil in many different careers-working with children is the prime example. In few countries in the world is it possible to work with children without a proper screening first to make sure that the person does not have a criminal background or anything in their history that prevents them from working with them. Generally it is criminal records that can become a problem here.
It can also be, quite simply, that a company does not want to employ someone that might tarnish its reputation. While it’s of course illegal to discriminate people will often lie about their misspent past, and an employee background check will show the truth. Even if no check is being done, telling the truth and admitting to past misdeeds is always the best option in the long run-in some countries not mentioning that kind of thing is illegal and can be punished with immediate loss of the job in question or even a lawsuit.
In some, rather rare cases, candidate background investigations are also done before someone is given a sizeable promotion rather than before being employed. This is done to make sure that a public figure, someone that may perhaps be in the eye of the media, will not bring disrepute to the company.
The usual screening will consist of a verification of the person’s personal data, such as name, birthdate, birthplace, place of residence and social security number. After that the employment history will be verified, to see if the potential employee lied. Generally small discrepancies of a few days will not be mentioned, however if a job is mentioned on a resume and not at all comes up during a background check that will raise a few red flags. If, on the other hand, a job is not mentioned, that is usually alright, as there are several valid reasons not to mention jobs, for example a lack of relevance.
When that is verified too, a criminal check may be done. However it should be said that during standard employee background checks, criminal checks are very superficial, often times only including whether or not there is a criminal or juvenile record at all. The most in-depth information that can be acquired at all is the dates of the offences, and whether or not a prison sentence took place. Further details are never disclosed to either the employer or the company carrying out the check.