8 Background Screening Lessons You Learned in Kindergarten

Nick Fishman


In one sense, your company’s hire strategy is complex and meticulous. You draft a comprehensive job description, thoroughly analyze resumes, and conduct in-depth interviews to ensure you hire the right person for the position. On the other hand, some aspects of the hiring process are so simple that a child could provide some insight. Surprisingly, you may have learned more in kindergarten than you knew that can be applicable to the employment background screening process. Take a look at how you can apply these eight lessons from kindergarten to your screening program.

1. Share with others.

In general, employment background checks reveal information about a person’s past employment history and education. They can confirm details presented on a resume, such as dates of employment for a particular employer or when they graduated from college. Any major discrepancies could raise a red flag in respect to a job candidate’s character. Of course, a thorough criminal background check can reveal details about criminal convictions as well.

2. Go to the principal’s office.

Almost everyone got in trouble for something when they were younger. Except when you broke the rules as a kid, it meant a trip to the principal’s office; as an adult, this might mean time in court or serving time. Conducting a comprehensive criminal background check is crucial to the hiring process, especially to determine if your candidate is the right fit for your company.

3. No running in the halls.

How many times did you hear this phrase when you were in school? It wasn’t because teachers didn’t want you to have fun (although it probably seemed that way at the time). It was for safety’s sake. The same goes for those driving just a little too fast or breaking the rules of the road. Checking a job candidate’s motor vehicle record isn’t vital for every employer, but for companies with employees required to drive, this service is key to ensuring not only the safety of employees but others as well.

4. Other classmates can tell you a lot about a person.

Kindergarteners are often willing to tell you everything about a person, and employment background screening procedures can as well (well, almost everything). You’re not likely to uncover everything about a candidate’s past job experience, but a previous employer or maybe even a reference can reveal valuable information before you make a hiring decision.

5. People sometimes fib.

Just as kids can see right through little white lies, a resume verification can tell you whether a candidate is being fully honest about his or her past employment and education. Some information might simply be embellished, such as a job title or salary range. Other job seekers will go all out with lies about working for companies that never existed, misrepresentation about a degree earned, or even graduating from a school they never attended.

6. The past can predict the future.

When kids misbehave, this can be an indicator for future behavior. In the case of discrepancies discovered through background checks, you can confront the candidate for an explanation. If you’re satisfied with the answer, you might still consider him or her for the job. However, problems with a candidate’s past employer can sometimes reveal credibility issues. It’s up to you to decide whether this past blunder is indicative of how the employee will perform in the future.

7. Get to know a person before you trust them.

Kids are taught to avoid strangers and know that they can only trust a person who gets their parents’ OK. Employment background checks are similar in the sense that you need to dig deep into a candidate’s education, employment, and potential criminal past before you’re sure they’re right for a position.

8. It’s wise to look beyond appearances.

“You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover” is a saying we learn at an early age. It’s just as applicable with background checks, as there may be negative information revealed during the process. Rather than rushing to make a judgment, you must look beyond the initial appearance. Give the person a chance to identify errors or explain. You may be willing to overlook certain minor issues.

Want to learn more best practices in employment background checks?

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Nick Fishman
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Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
Nick Fishman
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