Considering Personal Finances in Background Checks

Blog Considering Personal Finances in Background Checks (1)by PFC Caregiver & Household Screening


When a family or agency asks about background checks, they are typically thinking about checking an individual’s criminal history or perhaps verifying their previous employment—as a domestic employee or otherwise.

At a minimum, those two items should be included in any background investigation. 

However, depending on the role the individual may play in the family’s life, the family’s reputational and security concerns, and a host of other issues, family employers often seek information about a candidate’s financial and personal circumstances before proceeding with an offer.

A review of an individual’s financial affairs may provide insight into their judgment, behavior, and how well they manage their own business, which may be reflective of how they will manage their on-the-job duties.

It is important to remember that individuals may have negative financial histories for a variety of reasons—including many outside of the individual’s control such as a serious illness, a spouse’s loss of employment, or prolonged unemployment during an economic downturn.

However, careful review of negative history items can also suggest financial irresponsibility, failure to manage one’s personal business, or a simple lack of accountability.

A family may wish to review a candidate’s credit report, for instance. 

Very often, they also want to know whether the individual has recently filed bankruptcy and, if so, to understand the circumstances leading to the filing.

Civil litigation involving the applicant is also frequently a concern for domestic employers. Who has sued the applicant and, equally importantly, who has the applicant sued and why? 

Employers might also request searches for liens placed against the applicant’s property for unpaid debt or abstracts of judgment filed related to lawsuits in which the applicant was ordered to pay monetary damages.

As with all other aspects of the background investigation, it is important and fair for the employer to have frank conversations with an applicant with a challenging financial history, giving the applicant an opportunity to place their financial history in context of their overall experience and conduct. 

For many employers, this is an uncomfortable conversation. 

However, for applicants being considered for positions of great trust, it is a critical conversation.

For more details about financial-related and other background check components, review PFC’s Guide to Domestic Staffing Background Investigations.

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