In many business and social sectors, background checks are a common practice for acceptance into their ranks. It has become an established way to try to minimize the liability of hiring or even befriending a new person in this Internet Age.
Today we can Google someone to find out a lot of information on almost anyone. If you take the next step and spend $20 to $25, you can get a national criminal database, background check. If you were selecting a business associate or romantic interest, does it makes sense to get that done? Is the cost, worth it?
Twenty five bucks seems very cheap when the person you are hiring needs to be trusted with; access to lots of money, being a nanny for your kids or is representing your company. The 20th Century model of trusting one's instinct, of having a gut feeling about another person before taking them on, or that world where you grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone's business, those days are fading fast.
In today's society it is almost criminal, if not only downright stupid, not to invest the $25 when employing someone whose integrity is going to be relied on. But, background checks should never be the final say about anyone. Many people, especially those that have something to hide, can fly under the radar and avoid traceable exposure. There also can be, malicious or benevolent, fictitious lies that have found their way into someone's report.
On one hand we have this very inexpensive mechanism to dig into a person's background and uncover items that a person may not be completely honest about. On the other hand we have that you must, in the end, personally trust or not trust the person you are considering. So-called empirical data can be just as misleading as an off-base intuitional gut check. Yes, a background check is worth it but it is only one tool that should be utilized.