In today’s world just about every company knows that an effective employment screening program is invaluable for hiring qualified individuals, reducing turnover, deterring fraud and other criminal actions, and avoiding or mitigating litigation.

Recognizing that a “bad” hire is a threat to the bottom line, many companies, from investment bankers to law firms, are taking a risk-focused approach to background investigations and deciding what is appropriate or how much should be done to ensure organizational success. For example, obtaining a credit report or checking civil records for an entry-level applicant with low risk responsibilities may be of limited use, while reviewing such record histories for someone who will handle money or have access to sensitive information may be imperative in assessing his/her suitability for a position of trust.

Best practices in both the government and in the private sector indicate that a risk designation should be determined for every position, based on its description of duties and responsibilities. The risk grade should be commensurate with the employee’s assigned trust level, financial accountability, access to sensitive and confidential information and critical data systems, autonomy, discretionary authority, and potential opportunity for misconduct.

To be effective and non-discriminatory, employment screening policies need to specify a uniform set of background investigation elements for all position/assignment levels, including new hires, temporary workers, interns, transferred and promoted employees, contractors and volunteers.

SI has a full suite of employment background investigation products. Please visit our website at to learn more or order an investigation.