Checkmate: 5 Most Overlooked Background Moves

We don’t know exactly when chess was created, but its history can be traced back at least 1500 years and it is still enjoyed throughout the world by an estimated 605 million players. Background checks may be newer than chess, but often involve just as much strategy and are no game. Businesses strive to create win-win situations by hiring teammates that empower them, while avoiding those that could cause harm.

Unfortunately, some applicants that sign on with your company have less than truthful motives that make them poor players—no matter how amazing their qualifications might seem. They may also make a few moves for their own benefit that have nothing to do with your company’s wellbeing. Here are five critical moves companies and HR departments often overlook when performing background checks on potential hires.

1. Not Selecting Expert Advice to Guide You

Don’t rely on your in-house team. They are good at what they do, but background investigations are a completely different area of expertise. The value of a background check depends on how skilled and experienced the team performing and evaluating the check is. Not all Background Investigation Firms are created equal. Most Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRA’s) rely on fast, inexpensive criminal records searches which often have substantial data gaps. These database criminal searches are missing over 70% of all criminal convictions. Make sure that what you are paying for delivers the goods you expect. If your criminal results arrive within 3 days you are likely getting database results.

Did you know that if you are not checking federal criminal records that you will miss any convictions for money laundering, IP Theft, Identity Theft, and human trafficking just to mention a few? If you are an IT company, IP Theft convictions should be of concern.

2. Skimping on Cost

Some companies try to skip hiring an outside firm or skimp on cost by relying a cheaper and less qualified firm. These short-term gains might result in a much steeper cost in the future. A bad hire can endanger a company in a multitude of ways, from damaging their finances to ruining their reputation. The company also has to deal with the fallout from the loss of the employee themselves and their impact on coworkers. This includes any time and money expended on training in addition to lost productivity while searching for and onboarding a new candidate.  People change and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of pain.

3. Not Enacting Deeper Dive Backgrounds on Key Positions

Starting at the top, due diligence background checks should be performed on all board members and executives. Look for an unbiased, external investigative partner whose core business is to perform deep level due diligence investigations at both the individual and company level with globe-spanning resources. 20% of executives have serious hidden and undisclosed issues in their background that cannot be found during a routine employment background check.

4. Lack of Sufficient Scrutiny on International Candidates

International candidates have background information in other countries. There is a temptation to reduce search efforts and costs by restricting your background search to the time the candidate spent in the USA, or to accept them due to an internal recommendation. It is important to avoid this move. International candidates may claim they have degrees they never earned, are invalid, or are even from schools that never existed in the first place.

5. Exempting Friends and Relatives from Background Checks

Many companies rely on word of mouth to find new hires. That is why networking has always received such an emphasis with people looking for work. While recommendations can potentially find you great employees, do not let that tempt you into forgoing a full background check. One person’s character and work ethic doesn’t necessarily reflect another’s.  Exempting friends from background checks is never a good plan.

Now You’ve Got Game

Background checks, from routine to executive, are a critical step in protecting you and your business from employees who want to play games with your company’s future.  These situations attract people who want to hide their past. Now you know five moves to avoid and five moves every company should make regarding background investigations. Game on. Your move.

20% of executives have serious no-hire issues (hidden & undisclosed information)

If you have any questions or concerns about Background Checks or Executive Backgrounds,

please contact Infortal Worldwide at 1 (800) 736-4999 or


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