If you are an employer, you may be conducting a lot of criminal record searches for the sake of finding the best employee for a certain position. Someone with a felony – especially a violent felony – may not be the best candidate for the job. For instance, if you are the principle of a school, you may not want a teacher or even janitor with a shady background to work that closely with children – it just isn’t safe. There are many ways to search a person’s criminal history, but it is critical to know where to look before you start the process, because you could keep winding up at dead ends. Here are the top five criminal record search tips.
- Make sure to get a full name. In some cases, a full name may not simply be a first, middle and last name – it may also be a former name or alias or a maiden name. Having a full name will help you properly look up a person’s records, because the criminal history may not be under their new name. So, during the interview process, be sure to urge the candidate to offer all applicable names – you also want to back things up by checking a few forms of identification.
- Get a current and former address for the applicant. Having this information is critical, because there is a chance that the person may not be telling the truth. Even if they don’t have a real identity, everything can be given away if they give you a false address. To really make sure the person isn’t lying or not being quite as forthcoming, you want to get a former address too. If the name search comes up empty, you can at least search the address.
- Have them write down their exact birthdate. As part of the criminal record search, having a birthdate is important, because it makes it even more difficult to pull off a false identity. Plus, when you are looking through public records, you want to make sure that you have a birthdate, especially if you are searching for someone with a common name. You may find that someone has a criminal record, but realize later that it is the wrong person.
- Find out if the person has had a record expunged. According to the expungement law, a job candidate isn’t required to tell the employer that they had a criminal record. Anyone can visit a lawyer to expunge your record and you aren’t legally required to make note of it on your job application. However, if you are an employer, you may want to ask anyways – it doesn’t hurt to be completely thorough.
- Have a few references from past employers. Having references is important, because you can get a little more information about a prospective employee. You want to make sure that you get past employers, professors, landlords – anyone that can vouch for the candidate. If you get shady responses, you may not want to hire the person. Yet, if you get nothing but glowing reviews, you can put that person’s application at the top of the pile.