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The Importance of Background Checks

The Importance of Background Checks

While it might seem easier than ever to find top talent, the truth is, with the rise of AI and deep fake technology, hiring freelance hourly employees is quite the challenge. In fact, as more candidates attempt to ‘fake it, ‘till they make it’ when going through this fast-track recruitment process, you must take cyber background checks extremely seriously to identify experienced candidates that match the skillset you require. 

Unlike contractors or in-house members of staff, hiring by the hour is becoming increasingly popular, especially among small businesses and start-ups. But the problem is, that filtering through freelancers and remote workers can be time-consuming and can often feel unnecessary since you might only be working together for a set number of hours or until a project is completed. 

In this article, we’re going to delve deep into this fresh take on the recruitment process and why cyber background checks should be your top priority. We’ve also answer the top FAQs people have about this specific subject, so that you can make the best hiring decisions possible when it comes to hourly employees.

Why You Need To Verify Hourly Employees 

Hourly employees are workers who are compensated for the number of hours they work, rather than a set salary. They might not have the same level of commitment to a company as a full-time salaried worker, given the flexible nature of their engagement. However pre-employment background checks are still important to carry out.

Most companies often hire hourly when they require flexibility in their workforce due to varying workloads, seasonality, or project-based requirements. This model can be cost-effective, avoiding unnecessary overheads related to full-time employment. In fact, hiring hourly allows companies to tap into a vast pool of specialists and experts who prefer short-term engagements or project-based work. These professionals often bring a wealth of experience to the table, allowing companies to leverage their skills without long-term commitments. But that doesn’t mean to say that they shouldn’t go through the same level of employment screening as your team.

Basic information such as their date of birth, and phone number should be provided when working with anyone new, but digging a little deeper and using screening services will often uncover any criminal charges or offences, alongside employment history. You never know what you might find when carrying out a civil search and this information could impact your employment decisions.

Not All Freelancers Are Made Equal

Like any hiring process, freelancers come with varying degrees of expertise, professionalism, and reliability. While some might be top-tier experts, others could lack the necessary skills or diligence, making verification crucial. That’s why you should aim to gather as much background information as you can to identify who they are, their level of experience and whether they are true to their word when it comes to employment history.

What you need to verify when hiring by the hour:

  • Skills and qualifications

  • Previous work experience and references

  • Online reputation and reviews

  • Credit background check

  • Digital footprint and online behavior

  • Social security number

  • Criminal background check

Traditional Verus Cyber Background Checks

A typical background check report will often encompass:

Criminal Records: Information about felonies, misdemeanors, and other aspects of one's criminal history.

Employment Verification: Assures that the job applicant's provided employment history aligns with public records.

Education Verification: Confirms the validity of the education qualifications mentioned.

Credit Report: Provides insights into credit history, vital for roles involving financial responsibilities.

Driving Record: Important for roles that require the operation of a motor vehicle.

Social Media: Gives insights into an individual’s online behaviors and interactions.

Cyber background checks add another key layer, diving deep into an individual's digital footprint, and providing additional information about their online behavior. 

While traditional background checks provide a view of an applicant's history, cyber checks focus on their digital lives. For freelancers and hourly workers, who often operate remotely, their online presence can provide crucial insights. For instance, internet trolls and those who have been charged for cyber offenses are not people you want to give access to your social media profiles or the back end of your website!

Although cyber background checks can also let you know whether they’re active on forums related to their expertise? Which is a green flag that they’re passionate about their work.

Negative reviews from previous clients online, on the other hand, can alert you to poor-quality work. And their digital footprint might also reveal potential red flags, like association with questionable online groups or engagement in unprofessional online behavior. Given that many freelancers rely heavily on online platforms for their work, understanding their digital reputation is key.

How Long Do Background Checks Take?

When expanding your team to cover a busy period or to complete a project, time is of the essence. This is why you often hear companies asking screening services and hiring companies, how long do background checks take? Well, this all depends on the level of screening required.

For some roles such as customer service agents, personal assistants, copywriters and designers, the level of screening can be minimal, as they won’t necessarily need access to business accounts, databases, websites, social media profiles or corporate emails. However, when hiring for website developers, website designers, marketing managers, social media assistants, sales assistants etc, thorough background checks will need to take place. The higher the risk to your company, the more time is required to check the individual you wish to hire.

Compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and EEOC

While you could attempt to crawl the internet to verify an hourly employee yourself, companies must ensure that their background screening is FCRA compliant, adhering to the guidelines set by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Additionally, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) emphasizes not discriminating against job applicants based on the results unless it directly affects the job. This includes considerations related to disabilities or other protected categories. This is why it’s often best to use screening services that abide by federal and state laws.

Fail To Verify - What Could Go Wrong 

Let’s say you don’t carry out cyber background checks and instead hire ‘blind’ so to speak. What could go wrong?

Well, skipping background checks, especially cyber ones, can lead to various issues:

Misrepresentation: The freelancer you hire may not have the skills they claim to have, leading to subpar work quality. This can cost your company precious time and put your reputation on the line.

Security breaches: Without proper checks, you risk hiring someone with malicious intentions, possibly leading to data theft or other cyber issues. If you handle sensitive customer information, this can quickly escalate into a more serious issue and a data leak, could mean facing legal action.

Professional misconduct: They might not uphold professional standards, affecting team dynamics or client relationships. Hiring without carrying out the necessary record checks could even trigger a low employee retention rate, as existing employees lose trust in your company.

Special Considerations for Different Industries

Industries like healthcare, finance, or even childcare need a more intensive screening process. In finance, ensuring an employee doesn't have a problematic credit history can be crucial.

For those in healthcare or childcare, checks against abuse registries or drug background checks might be non-negotiable. Similarly, in tech, verifying someone's coding skills and their contributions to online forums can be invaluable.

Each industry has unique challenges, and tailoring background checks to meet these specific needs ensures a safe and competent hire.

The Significance of Drug Background Checks

Beyond the potential workplace inefficiencies or accidents caused by substance abuse, there's also the reputational risk to consider. Especially for customer-facing roles, or those in trusted positions, the actions of a single employee can have lasting ramifications on a company's image.

Drug background checks act as a preventative measure, ensuring that those representing a company are doing so without the influence of judgment-impairing substances. This isn't just about protecting company assets or ensuring productivity—it's about maintaining the trust and confidence of customers and stakeholders.

People Also Ask

Now let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions related to cyber background checks.

Q: What is typically in a background check?

A standard background check includes a comprehensive review of an individual's past to determine their suitability for a particular role or task. It typically includes:

Criminal Records: Information about any felonies, misdemeanors, arrests, or convictions the individual might have.

Employment Verification: A check to confirm that the employment history provided by the individual aligns with actual records.


Education Verification: A review to ensure the educational qualifications claimed by the individual are genuine.

Credit History: An overview of the individual's financial history, giving insights into their financial responsibilities.


Q: Where can I get a background check in Texas?

In Texas, there are multiple avenues to obtain a background check. You can approach state agencies such as the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Additionally, online platforms like Checkr offer thorough background check services. It's crucial to ensure that whichever service you opt for, it provides a combination of both traditional and cyber background evaluations for a comprehensive overview.


Q: What is the best online background check?

Numerous online platforms offer background check services, but the "best" often depends on specific individual or business needs.

Some renowned platforms include Checkr, BeenVerified, and TruthFinder, as mentioned in lists by reputable sources like Investopedia. It's essential to choose a service that offers a holistic assessment, including both traditional background checks and cyber screening services.


Q: How do I get a background check in the US?

In the US, individuals or businesses can request a background check through both federal and state agencies. The FBI, for instance, provides nationwide checks.

Moreover, there are multiple online services that offer comprehensive checks tailored to various needs.

For those specifically interested in cyber background checks, it's advised to opt for specialized online platforms that cater to this niche.

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