The Whole Background Check

If you ever took a Philosophy course, you probably had to read some of Aristotle’s work. That guy was incredibly wise and is known for saying some pretty smart things. Many things he said are especially relevant to employment and the workplace today.


“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”

“Quality is not an act, it is a habit.”

“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.”

He also said “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and when it comes to employment background checks, truer words have never been spoken.

As you probably know, an employment background check is typically comprised of individual search types that are bundled together, to reveal information about a candidate that will help inform your hiring decisions. The individual components – or parts – of a background check are all valuable tools that can help reveal useful information: identity verification, criminal record checks, education and employment verifications and drug testing are all extremely valuable assessment tools on their own.

But the best and most thorough background checks comprise multiple searches or “parts,” which, when they are bundled together, enable employers to see the “whole” picture of that propsective employee. They offer the most complete candidate review that’s far more effective in helping ensure a safer and more secure workplace.

According to recent industry research, criminal/public record searches remain the most popular type of screen, with 93% of organizations stating they depend on this test. Identify verifications are run by 64% of organizations, while previous employment and/or references were verified by 56% of companies surveyed. But most organizations perform background checks that include several types of searches.

Of course, much depends on the type of job. Individuals applying for positions where they will be required to drive a company vehicle – e.g., a commercial driver, limousine driver, or cab driver – will likely have their motor vehicle records reviewed. Such an examination may not be required for individuals applying for a technical writer position.

There are also “industry specific” requirements. A candidate applying for a position involving handling money or having access to financial records may have their financial history reviewed since their ability to handle such matters accurately and responsibly may be pertinent to the position offered. Pink Screening offers the FFIEC search and the Bankruptcies, Liens and Judgements search for these positions. Likewise, someone applying for a position in healthcare would likely be subject to a FACIS search, to reveal any disciplinary sanctions for unethical or inappropriate conduct in a healthcare position. The FACIS search is also available from Pink Screening as well.

What other types of screens can comprise a complete and thorough background check? While you may not require each and every one of these, consider adding screens that may provide a more holistic look at the candidate with whom you may be entrusting your company’s most sensitive data, corporate financial information, access to your most valued clients, and your organization’s brand and reputation.

The Federal Criminal Search

This is a search of criminal records on file at federal courthouses. This is not a nationwide or multi-jurisdictional criminal database search, which only reveals state and local convictions. The federal criminal search reveals criminal convictions that were prosecuted by the federal government and covers all US federal district courts. Many people mistakenly believe the federal government only prosecutes “White Collar” or financial crimes, but they also prosecute crimes of violence, drug related crimes, kidnapping, sexual offenses and more. No background checks package is truly complete without a Federal Criminal Search.

Education Verification

As you may have read in numerous articles, many individuals falsify their education – including people applying for C-level positions. If a person is willing to embellish their education credentials, or even outrght lie about earning a particular degree, what else would they be willing to falsify, and at whose expense? The Education Verification can help to determine if a person meets certain education requirements, but it can also reveal if a person is just plain honest.

Employment Verification

This is one of those “common sense” searches that every employer should conduct because it simply helps reveal if the person has been truthful about their employment history listed on their resume or job application. If a person is applying for a job that requires a certain level of experience and they list this experience on their resume or application, but the positions they list cannot be independently verified, this would defiinitely be a “red flag” you would want to raise with them before they get onboarded.

Driving Record

Anyone who will be operating a company-owned vehicle or even those who will be driving their own vehicle extensively in their job should have their driving record reviewed. Such a review will show if the candidate has been cited for excessive speed, or committed illegal acts like driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. All of these things are indicators risk and potential liability. Organizations that are regulated by the Department of Transportation require that a driving record be pulled before a person is hired and then once per year thereafter. These positions also have other unique requirements that can be reviewed by following this link.

Professional License Verifications

Organizations in the medical, life sciences and other fields require licensure and verification of candidate’s qualifications. Ensuring these certifications and qualifications are current and accurate are paramount to the safety and security of the organization and its customers.

Drug Testing / Occupational Helath Services

Numerous businesses of all types and sizes require a drug-free workplace today. You may also have positions that require access to things like physicals, lift tests, respiratory tests, and even vaccines and titers. Experienced background check organizations like Pink Screening partner with the industry’s most respected SAMSHA certified laboratories to offer clients a full suite of testing methodologies and services.

While applying basic screens such as criminal history and identity offer a critical glimpse into a candidate’s history, augmenting your screening parameters to illuminate other aspects of a candidate’s background may provide a more holistic and dependable look – the “whole” picture, if you will. However, when developing or augmenting your screening program, you should always consult legal counsel to determine what is permissible under the law.

Pink Screening clients can easily augment their background check criteria by contacting