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Employment Background Screening Terminology for the USA

Academic Record - Aka Cumulative Record File, CRF, Permanent Record, Record or, most commonly, Transcript, it is a copy of a student's permanent academic record, which usually means all courses taken, all grades received, all honors received and degrees conferred to a student. For the purposes of background screening, checking a potential employee's academic record ensures that that person actually completed all the courses and received all the certificates that he or she alleges.

American With Disabilities Act - A law that states employers cannot discriminate against employees or potential employees based on disabilities and when conducting a background screening, restricts the use of medical or disability data in the hiring process.

Background Check - The process of looking up and compiling criminal records, commercial records and financial records of an individual or an organization.

Background Checking Company - A company that specializes in performing background checks on people. An organization can hire one of these companies and outsource their background screening process to them for a fee.

Credit History/Record/Report/Reputation/Score - A report on the history of a person's ability and willingness to pay back loans that have been granted to that person. If a person makes timely payments and pays off loans, then he or she will have good credit and if they have many late payments or outstanding debts that they are not paying off, they will have bad credit.

Criminal Record - A record of a person's criminal history, generally used to assess a person's trustworthiness. The information included in a criminal record varies between countries and even between jurisdictions within a country. In most cases it lists all non-expunged criminal offenses and may also include traffic offenses such as speeding and drunk-driving. In some countries the record is limited to actual convictions (where the individual has pleaded guilty or been declared guilty by a qualified court) while in others it also includes arrests, charges dismissed, charges pending and even charges of which the individual has been acquitted.

Driving Record - Aka Driving Abstract, it is a history of all accidents, tickets and anything else related to a potential employee's driving background. Obtaining a driving record is especially important in jobs that involve driving.

Drug Test - A test that usually uses urine, saliva or hair to determine (in the case of urine and saliva) if a person has recently done drugs and (in the case of hair) if a person has done drugs within the past few months.

Fair Credit Reporting Act - In the USA, a law that states that businesses are required to have employees sign a disclosure form granting authorization to perform a background check, including credit reports and all other "consumer reports." Laws will vary from state to state in how and what information can be used during the pre-employment screening process.

Negligent Hiring - The act of hiring an employee without performing due diligence when conducting a background screening of that employee, especially if the employee's actions on the job injure someone in some way, and it is found that that employee had a record that could have been checked and alerted the employer to potential danger. For example, if an employer hires an employee to run heavy equipment but that employee has had several DUI convictions and was fired from his last job for being drunk, the employer would be guilty of negligent hiring. If the employer had checked the background of that employee, the employer would have been alerted to the potential dangers of hiring that particular employee likely would not have hired him.

Negligent-Hiring Lawsuit - Litigation brought against an employer if it is suspected that that employer did not perform due diligence in doing a background screening on an employee prior to hiring that employee.

Personal Reference - Aka character reference, it is a reference provided by an individual who knows a potential employee and can vouch for that person's character and abilities.

Pre-Employment Screening - The act of performing a background check on potential employees prior to making a decision on whether to hire or not.

Psychometric Testing - Testing that measures attributes of a person that are not easily quantifiable like personality, intelligence, attitude, beliefs and motivation. They include: include personality profiles, reasoning tests, motivation questionnaires, and ability assessments. These tests try to provide objective data for otherwise subjective measurements.

- Interest tests measure how people differ in their motivation, values, and opinions in relation to their interests.
- Personality tests measure how people differ in their style or manner of doing things, and in the way they interact with their environment and other people.
- Aptitude tests measure how people differ in their ability to perform or carry out different tasks.

Workers' Compensation - A form of insurance providing wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured in the course of employment in exchange for mandatory relinquishment of the employee's right to sue his or her employer for negligence. A background screening might involve looking at how many workers' compensation claims a person has had in the past.