The Background Investigation

What is a background investigation? A background investigation is essentially the process of diving into a person’s or organization’s history to search for red flags as they pertain to the specific needs of the client who has hired the background to be completed.

Background investigations are often equated to criminal record checks only. This is a misnomer.

For example, a background investigation for a police officer applicant might look specifically at criminal history, but also at driving records, job histories, and references. A background for a potential tenant might weigh heavily on prior landlord references and financial stability. Further still, the background investigation of a future business partner would dive quite deep into their financial history and former business relationships.

The depth of a background investigation varies greatly, depending on the specific need and budget of the client. Not all background investigations are created equal. And not all private investigators educate their clients on their options for background investigations.

So let’s start by discussing why a person would ever hire a private investigator to conduct a background investigation. The simple answer is this… anytime there is a need to dig into someone’s (or an organization’s) past to verify their character. Here are some examples of when I believe that need generally exists. To:

  • hire a new employee
  • form a business partnership
  • engage in business with someone
  • further a relationship that began online
  • hire a nanny/babysitter/daycare provider/anyone who works with children
  • accept a new tenant
  • validate or eradicate suspicions
  • verify specific qualifications
  • loan money to someone

Nobody wants to become the next victim of a scam. Nobody wants to be defrauded out of their life savings. No employer wants to face the ramifications of hiring a ticking time bomb who wreaks havoc on other employees and the company. No parent wants to risk the safety and well-being of their child. No landlord wants a tenant who skips out of payment and/or destroys a rental home.

These reasons and more all evidence the importance background investigations play in so many facets of life.

Once a person has decided to hire a private investigator to conduct a background investigation on an individual or organization, it’s important to identify the components they expect to be included in the background. Consider this list of potential components:

  • county, state, and federal criminal histories
  • job history
  • financial history
  • address history
  • driving record
  • education, certification, and license verifications
  • employment verification
  • job, landlord, education, personal, or other references
  • social media activity
  • drug screen
  • polygraph test

Background investigations should be wholly dependent on the specific needs of the consumer. So if you’re considering hiring a background investigation to be conducted, first determine the areas of importance to your needs, then find a private investigator or company who will cater the investigation to those needs.