For most of my adult life, I have been self-employed as a freelance sports writer, and really had never heard of or had any use for a personal background check.
A few months ago, however, I lost a lot of my regular clients and had to take a job at a local food processing plant. After my interview, I had to go for a physical and drug test, which was no problem, but then my supervisor told me they would be conducting a personal background check as well. I was not really sure how to feel about this, but obviously I agreed to let them do it in order to get the job.
When I was hired on, I went to my supervisor and asked about the personal background check and why it was necessary for me. He explained that it was something that everyone had to do, which I already pretty much figured, but then he said they had had caught some things with other prospective employees in the past that might have saved some people’s lives.
I asked him what he was talking about, and he said that while he could not give out any personal information, there had been cases of applicants having lied about arrest records, thinking that a personal background check would not be performed.
He told me that one man that came in had actually served a couple of years in prison for aggravated assault, but never listed that on his application and lied about having served time in prison. He said that the assault had occurred in the workplace.
I quickly did an about-face on the personal background check. At first, I simply viewed it as an invasion of a person’s privacy. I really didn’t see the point of prying into someone’s personal life for no good reason.
When I found out that there was a very good reason for doing so, it made me really think about some of the possible outcomes of not performing a personal background check.
For instance, in the food processing plant, we work around a lot of heavy equipment that can be very dangerous on its own. There are all kinds of things laying around that can be used as weapons, and there were hazards we had to watch out for on a daily basis.
After a few weeks, I found a better-paying job and left the food plant. When I was being hired on at my new place of employment, they told me that they were going to have to perform a personal background check and asked if there was anything they needed to know before they went forward. I told them there wasn’t, and that I was glad to hear they did that with all of their new employees. It could save lives.