Very few businesses would hire someone without knowing any details. Effective background checks are an especially useful tool for sorting out the good from the bad, and every company should employ them properly to avoid hiring the wrong person.

A common misconception for many small businesses is that there is one massive database housing all of the pertinent employee information, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. Not everything a business owner finds is correct, and the wrong piece could have serious consequences, especially if the person in question might one day be involved in the company's financial plan.

There are several different methods for performing an ideal background check, as well as some small business owners should avoid during the employee search process.

Hallmarks of a poor background check
It may be tempting to rely on basic instincts when judging someone's character, but don't jump to conclusions. Financial services shouldn't be managed by less-than-reputable personnel, so it is natural to be strict when hiring. Despite this, avoid eliminating all applicants based off of their criminal histories, according to Forbes magazine. 

Many businesses, including the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, want to eliminate the "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" question on a job application. Choosing to ignore everyone who answers "Yes" is a poor business strategy, even though it may seem like the safe choice. Doing so means plenty of good candidates are skipped over even though a more thorough background check could show that they aren't bad people after all. 

In addition, don't break the law when performing some extra research. There are no circumstances when this is OK, and it will only lead to hardships for a business.

Make the smart decisions
The best method for going about a background check is to look for a pattern of behavior, not just one slip-up, according to the Huffington Post.

"It isn't so much the transgression itself that should raise the red flag, but rather, repetitive behavior," said Tina Chen, Employco USA vice president. "For example, employers can probably overlook an individual with one speeding ticket, but they should be wary if an individual has had five speeding tickets."

Moreover, don't put too much weight on credit checks. Some states only allow them if they are relevant, such as an employee who might handle the business banking, according to the Huffington Post. But for some other fields, no such luck. Especially given today's economy, it might be better to avoid them. As long as each employee receives the same background check, a business owner can hire safely.