What is a County Background Check?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 December 2019
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A county background check is a process of evaluation that takes place when an individual applies for a job within the structure of the local county administration or some branch of the public services provided by the county. The main purpose of the background check is to ensure that the individual possesses the proper skills for the position and that the past history of the applicant is within the standards set for all employees of the jurisdiction. As with most background checks, the information collected is considered proprietary and is only shared with officials of the county on a need-to-know basis.

One common component of the county background check is an investigation into the past work history of the individual. This includes verifying any data provided on the application or resume submitted by the applicant. In addition, public records will be accessed to determine if there is any other relevant employee information that was omitted from the data supplied by the applicant. The idea is to ensure the applicant does have a stable work history and has the range of skills and experience he or she has presented for consideration.


A county background check will also focus on the credit history of the applicant. Because of the sensitive nature of some positions, a stable financial history that is free from bankruptcies, foreclosures or failures to pay various debts indicates that the applicant can be trusted to function in a responsible manner. While having some past credit issues may not automatically disqualify the applicant, the findings of the country background check may prompt county officials to seek additional information from the applicant.

Along with evaluating work and credit history, a county background check will also look for a history of any type of criminal activity. This can include data on past arrests, convictions, and other examples of crimes both major and minor. The background check will note whether or not the applicant is a convicted felon, the nature of the felony, and the dates associated with any type of criminal activity. Like credit issues, the presence of a conviction on a misdemeanor or felony may not automatically exclude the applicant from consideration. However, a failure to voluntarily provide information on past criminal activity and convictions on the application form may cause the employer to reject the application.

The purpose for a county background check is to ensure that all persons in the employ of the county comply with existing employment standards and are suitable for the positions they occupy within the structure of the country. By conducting a background check, the county is able to eliminate applicants who do not meet those standards and focus on applicants who do show promise of becoming valued and responsible employees.


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