Why Your Small Business Can't Afford to Skip Background Checks

In the fast-paced world of running a small business, time and resources are precious commodities. Background checks might seem like an unnecessary hurdle in the hiring process, especially when a qualified candidate seems perfect for the role. However, this seemingly small step can make a world of difference for your business's security, success, and even legal standing.

Here's why background checks are an essential investment, not an expendable cost, for any small business owner:

Mitigate Risk and Protect Your Assets:

  • Theft and Fraud: Small businesses are prime targets for employee theft. A 2020 study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners found that small businesses lose an average of $200,000 per fraud case. Background checks can uncover red flags in a candidate's history, such as past theft convictions or embezzlement charges, helping you avoid hiring someone who might pose a financial threat.
  • Workplace Violence: A safe work environment is paramount. Background checks can reveal a history of violent behavior or criminal threats, allowing you to make informed decisions about who has access to your workplace and your employees.
  • Data Security: Data breaches are a major concern for businesses of all sizes. Background checks, especially for positions handling sensitive information, can help identify candidates with a history of identity theft or fraud attempts, minimizing the risk of data breaches.

Reduce Costs in the Long Run:

  • Lower Employee Turnover: Hiring the wrong person can be incredibly expensive. Training a new employee requires time and resources, and a bad fit can disrupt workplace morale and productivity. Background checks help you select qualified and reliable candidates, leading to lower turnover rates and significant cost savings.
  • Minimize Legal Issues: Negligent hiring lawsuits can be devastating for small businesses. If you hire someone who commits a crime or causes harm on the job, you could be held liable for not conducting a proper background check. Building a documented pre-employment screening process demonstrates due diligence and can help protect your business in court.

Peace of Mind and a Stronger Team:

  • Improved Employee Morale: A safe and secure work environment fosters trust and collaboration among employees. Knowing that their colleagues have undergone background checks can give your existing team peace of mind and allow them to focus on their work.
  • Build a Reputation for Trustworthiness: Conducting background checks demonstrates your commitment to creating a professional and responsible work environment. This can attract higher-quality candidates and project a positive image to your clients and partners.

Addressing Common Concerns:

  • Cost: Background checks are a relatively inexpensive investment compared to the potential costs of a bad hire. Many background check companies offer tiered packages to suit your budget and specific needs.
  • Time: Background checks can typically be completed within a few days, with minimal disruption to your hiring process. Many services offer streamlined online platforms for managing the process efficiently.
  • Privacy Concerns: Federal and state laws regulate the use of background checks in the hiring process. By following these guidelines and obtaining written consent from candidates, you can ensure compliance and protect privacy rights.

Tailoring Background Checks to Your Needs:

Not all background checks are created equal. Tailor your background check to the specific role and the level of risk involved. Here are some common checks to consider:

  • Criminal History: Uncover past convictions for felonies or misdemeanors relevant to the position.
  • Employment Verification: Confirm past employment dates and salaries.
  • Education Verification: Ensure the candidate's claimed credentials are accurate.
  • Reference Checks: Gain insights into the candidate's work ethic, skills, and performance from previous employers.
  • Motor Vehicle Records (MVR): For jobs requiring driving, an MVR check can reveal driving violations or accidents.

Taking the Next Step:

Many background check companies, such as BrightScreen, cater specifically to small businesses, offering affordable packages and user-friendly online systems. Research reputable companies, compare services, and choose one that meets your specific needs and budget.


While background checks may seem like an extra step, they are a vital investment in the security, success, and legal protection of your small business. By mitigating risk, reducing costs, and fostering a safe and productive work environment, background checks can empower you to make informed hiring decisions and build a strong team for your growing business. Don't let the initial cost deter you – you simply can't afford to skip this crucial step in the hiring process.

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