I am wondering how many of you, who are third party recruiters, do background checks on temp candidates and if so at what point in the process.


My approach is to mirror the policy of the company I am working with. If they do a check prior to an employee starting then I would as well. 


Some agencies say/claim that they perform checks on all their candidates but this doesn't make sense if I need to present 5 candidates to get one temp fill.



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Most formal (work history/police/driving) background checks are done after a contingent job offer has been extended and accepted.  Contingent = passing a formal background check with approval of the job applicant; and passing a drug screen.


You are correct, Robert, about not making sense in doing background checks on 5 to hire one...It's magnified as DUMB for temps...unless they're having to temporarily handling radioactive isotopes.

We take the same approach as you. If the company that is hiring requires a background be done; we do exactly as they do once a suitable candidate has been selected. With that, we make sure that the client knows we don't perform backgrounds until the candidate has been selected. - depending on the client and contract in place/ we also pass this expense along to them.

A lot of Staffing Agencies claim they do backgrounds on all of their candidates, which they may. Seems to me that it would be cost prohibitive to do so as an Agency. In the meantime, with strong candidates, we do handle employment verifications prior to the selection process; but actual criminal backgrounds are not done until the candidate is selected for a position.

Hi Robert,


Once the company wants to hire a candidate, we then order the background and drug screen. We also have it so that the client is responsible for the fees associated with the screenings.


Hope this helps!

Robert - I guess you have to look at the cost of the checks vs. the cost of a candidate being at the point of getting a temp position being disqualified due to background check. We don't do temp, and we don't normally do background checks -  our client do.

I have a question for you, since you have done checks - What happens if your check and their's don't match up?

Thanks for chiming in everyone - this is about what I expected. 


To Betsy what is your degree verification process?

To Amber - I have not experienced a mismatch.


I did recently experience a situation where a client Google'd a candidate after we had presented them and saw a news article regarding an insider trading investigation - they were incredulous that we did not know about this. The candidate was a staff analyst. Does anybody do Google/Social Network searches prior to present?


I do checks on anyone/everyone I employ regardless of client policy.  Who wouldn't?  Why wouldn't you?


As a temp (though technically we we're working with longer-term contractors) they are an employee and someone your company could be found liable for in many situations.


For $30 - why wouldn't every employer make sure they know what they're getting?

We do education verifications in the same manner as we do employment verifications. For strong candidates will will proactively verify education. In general we will verify highest degree attained, depending on what they are applying for we will require them to provide us copies of their degree and/or certifications (mostly for Medical candidates).

Hope this answers your questions.


Hi Jerry,

Once a candidate is scheduled to start we do a criminal background check. I was more referring to "potential" candidates. I am with a corp-corp scenario (1099) for a consultant and I was considering running a background check on this person - any thoughts?

The nature of employment agreement/contract shouldn't change the necessity of knowing as much as you can about the person representing you at your client.



I work for Dawson Resources, a third-party staffing firm, and we perform 2 types of background checks.  The first one is a local County check that is run when the candidate first walks into our door.  Once they have gone through our entire process (interview, computer tests, video and a drug screen), the second background check is run once a client requests to see the candidate for an interview.  This background check goes deeper and checks every County lived in by the candidate - can take longer as well.  This is all presented in our initial confirmation email and requests a signature from our candidate verifying they know that this is our company policy and process.  Hope this helps! Great question as every company does this differently!

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