A: Background Investigations and Reference Checks are the principal means by which employers actively check into the backgrounds of potential hires. Background investigations and reference checks fall within the HR Discipline of Staffing Management. Each can involve both verifying information provided by applicants, and ascertaining pertinent information not provided by applicants themselves. A background investigation generally involves screening out persons who are not qualified due to criminal convictions, poor driving records, poor credit history, or misrepresentations on résumés or application forms about education or prior work history. Reference checks generally involve contacting applicants’ former employers, supervisors, co-workers, educators, and athletic coaches for information about the knowledge, skills, abilities (KSA’s), and character of applicants.