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Independent Contractors: Watch Your Back

Independent contractors represent a large and diverse group in the workforce. While companies are hiring independent workers at a rapid pace, there are added risks associated with temporary employees. As the number of independent contractors has grown and the demand for them as well, employers are faced with a bigger task of screening these workers.

While independent contractors may contribute to a company’s success, they may still be viewed as outsiders simply because they aren’t expected to stay long term. And as a result, there may be added liabilities. More and more employers are opting to run background checks before they hire. If you are an independent contractor, you may come across an employer asking to run a background check on you. Here is what you can expect:

Why the rise in background checks?

The purpose of a background check may seem self-explanatory. But it’s a little more intricate and complicated when it comes to the independent contractors:

  • It’s a diverse group. Since independent contractors come and go, background checks have become vital (maybe even more so than for full-timers).
  • They have access to confidential data. Companies want to make sure their sensitive information doesn’t get in the wrong hands.
  • Many independent contractors will work and interact directly with clients and customers. At the end of the day, employers want to know who is representing their company.

Who are the companies that do background checks?

More and more companies are opting to do background checks when hiring independent contractors, including:

Most companies outsource the background check to companies who specialize in it. Examples of these companies are:

While background checks represent an added cost to employers, many companies are viewing it as a necessary safety precaution, particularly those in the service industry.

What type of information they ask for?

The information requested on a background check can vary. Some are more in depth than others. In general, you can be expected to be asked for:

  • Name (including any past names you may have used and/or gone by)
  • Social security number
  • Basic personal information like date of birth and sex
  • Employment verification
  • Criminal record
  • Credit check
  • Driving record
  • Sex offender history

Many employers may also ask for both personal and professional references, fingerprints, and drug testing.

If you are an independent contractor, chances are you will be asked at one point to submit a background check. Be open and honest. You should have nothing to hide. Background checks are becoming a routine part of the hiring process, especially for the on demand workforce. Also, don’t forget that the “first” background check is Google and the one we, as employees, always forget. Look at your presence online and in social media and make sure you’re represented the want you want to be.

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