Why You Need to Run Church Employee Background Checks

Think that running church employee background checks in the hiring process is unnecessary? I’d advise you to think again.

church employee background checks

You’ve had your candidate fill out a job application. And you’ve already conducted at least one interview. Before you hire, you need to run a criminal background check on the candidate for several reasons:

  1. You want your staff to lead by example – your children’s ministry volunteers get background checked; your staff should too
  2. You want to hire with eyes wide open – or not hire, as the information may suggest
  3. You probably promised your church insurance company that you would background check employees – read their fine print

Get a Signed Authorization

Before you run the check, you need to have a signed authorization from the candidate. You may have included a line in the job application about them giving you permission to verify information, but you need something more comprehensive here. It should be a full paragraph that spells out what kind of reports you’ll be pulling, their express authorization to do so, and a summary of their rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The vendor you choose should supply a sample or template for you to use.

Some states may have extra compliance requirements, like needing to provide/offer a copy of the resulting ‘consumer report’ to the candidate.

Background Check Vendors

A federal background check alone is not enough. Criminal records are maintained at the federal, state and county levels. And there’s a registered sex offender database. Those sources don’t always play nice together, so you can’t rely on the old plain-vanilla $7 federal-only background check variety. Be sure to order a comprehensive, multi-jurisdictional report.

You probably wouldn’t do this for volunteers, but for screening employees, you may also have the option or ability to pull DMV reports or verify education records.

Also look for a vendor that does everything online – instead of having the candidate fill out a paper worksheet that you have to safeguard, they’ll get a link and type all of their personal information right on the vendor’s site.

Here are a few vendors you can consider for church employee background checks:

Getting church employee background checks done right is an important part of the hiring process.

This is part 4 of a 7-part series on Church HR Forms & Systems