UNITED STATES—There is such a thing as overthinking and over researching a new hire. Sure, you want to make sure you have a good candidate for the job. What you need to remember is that perfect is the enemy of the good. There is no such thing as the perfect candidate. Experience has taught us that the best candidate on paper is often not the best employee in reality. Any of the top half of candidates could do the job. Once you narrow the field to who can do the job, any of those candidates could prove to be a surprising success. Leave room in your assessment for that candidate that will surprise you.

That said, of the candidates that could do the job, many will be poor choices. It has nothing to do with whether or not they are the best in their field. There are times when the second or third or tenth best is the better pick. You have to run the best background check available. They are not all created equally. If you are not using the best background check, here is just some of what you could be missing:

Tax Fraud

No matter how good the interview went, there is simply no way you can know whether or not the employment candidate has a history of tax fraud. Nothing in their demeanor will give it away. Nothing about the handshake or the suit or the highly polished shoes will indicate whether or not you are dealing with a con artist who has been lying about his tax status. The only way you will be able to know is by doing a background check for employment that covers tax status. 

If you don’t know about the tax fraud, you are at risk of the authorities entering your place of business and walking the new hire out in cuffs in front of your clients. That is no good in a business like financial services or tax preparation. Your company will be tarnished with the reputation of having fraudsters in your employ. If your business relies on reputation and trust, you are going to have a long, hard, and expensive time clearing the record. You should also think of tax fraud as a gateway drug for other types of fraud. If they would defraud the agency that put Al Capone in prison, there is no type of fraud they wouldn’t commit. Don’t be their next victim.


What kind of person would steal from your company? The resume won’t tell you. It could be a former high school teacher. It could be a church deacon. It could be the best-dressed person you interview. The best indicator of whether a person would steal from you is a criminal report showing they have been caught stealing in the past. You will only get that from a thorough background check. 

Petty theft is a stepping stone to not so petty theft. The person who steals office supplies one day will happily steal something even more valuable the next day given half a chance. The reason a thief can keep getting away with it is because they look trustworthy. Don’t trust your gut feeling. Do a thorough background check.

Driving Record

If the job requires any driving on the part of the employee, it is not enough to ask to see a valid driver’s license. Lots of people have valid driver’s licenses. What you can’t tell from looking at the license is whether or not they are good and reliable drivers. A background check will indicate the status of the license. It could be revoked. The person might have a history of driving under the influence, distracted driving, and unpaid parking tickets. It might seem trivial. But a lot of parking tickets indicates that the person either is not careful about reading the signs, or they just don’t care. Either way, they are not the one you want driving a car with your company logo on it.

Most large businesses already do background checks while a lot of smaller businesses don’t see the point of the extra expense. If you like to hire from the gut, just remember that your gut cannot tell you whether a candidate has a negative tax record, will steal from you, or is a responsible driver. Making a mistake in either of these areas can cost you your company.