Background checks can be a great way to determine whether or not to hire a potential new employee. Even if you’ve gone through the entire hiring process, a background check from a qualified screening service can help you notice potential problems with your job candidates before you bring them on board.

Of course, if you don’t know what you’re looking for or how to screen employees, you may have a hard time parsing through the information you’ve just been given.

Here are 3 tips to help you get started:

 1. Are your candidates’ red flags related to the job?

One of the first things you should consider is whether any issues that turn up are relevant to the job. For example, a speeding ticket might not be relevant for an employee who’s going to work in accounting. However, it might be relevant if you’re hiring a driver or transportation employee.

2. Does your candidate have a pattern of troublesome behavior?

An isolated incident might not be a problem, even if it’s fairly major. A single arrest or lawsuit could legitimately be a one-time incident. Several arrests or speeding tickets, however, could indicate a deeper problem. Patterns of behavior that indicate carelessness, anger or other negative personality traits might translate to the workplace. Make sure you’re on the lookout for patterns of negative behavior when you’re reviewing a background check.

3. Are your candidates honest?

To ensure the integrity of your business and avoid problems down the road, you may want to screen against dishonest candidates. For example, if an employee indicates on an application that he’s never been convicted of a felony, but his background check turns up different information, this might be a potential indicator of dishonesty. Inaccurate or incomplete information could come to light during the screening process, so keep an eye out for potential discrepancies. Make sure you verify things like their employment history, criminal records and education background – these are three areas where job candidates may be tempted to stretch the truth or out-and-out lie.

Ask your candidate about any issues.

Of course, if you uncover any of these issues, it might not be a dealbreaker. If you’re still on the fence after a background check, consider asking your job candidate to explain the situation. There might be more to the story than you’ll find out from a background check. If they have more information that sheds light on the situation, you may still be willing to hire them.

Background checks provide plenty of information about potential job candidates, but it may not be the whole story. When you know what to look for and how to screen employees, you may be better able to make an informed hiring decision. Make sure you keep these tips in mind the next time you hire a screening service to take a look at your potential employees.