In This Article


Hotel & Hospitality Background Checks: A Complete Guide [2023]


The hospitality industry is broad and includes businesses in tourism, travel, recreation, lodging, and food and beverages. If you are responsible for hiring employees within the hospitality industry, finding the right workers for your open jobs is critical for the success of your company.

Many positions within these businesses are largely unsupervised, making it very important for you to find loyal, trustworthy, and stable employees. Performing thorough pre-employment background checks for job applicants in the hospitality industry is important to mitigate against several risks, including losses from theft or fraud, workplace violence, drug abuse, and negligent hiring claims.

Hospitality workers are the face of businesses in the industry. As representatives of your brand, you should make sure that they are suitable and will not cause harm to your reputation or your company.

At iprospectcheck, we conduct pre-employment background checks every day for many different types of employers in the hospitality industry, including hotels, motels, concierge services, restaurants, bars, casinos, travel agencies, and more. Our background checks comply with all relevant state, local, and federal laws and regulations.

To help you understand the importance of conducting thorough and FCRA-compliant hospitality background checks on your applicants, we have written this comprehensive guide.

Let’s get started.

Why Do Hospitality Industry Employers Run Background Checks?

Employers in the hospitality industry understand how important it is for them to hire great employees.

As a hospitality industry employer, you should not underestimate the importance of completing a thorough pre-employment hospitality or hotel background check.

Here are several reasons why hospitality employers complete pre-employment background checks for their candidates.

Protect customer service

For hospitality businesses, their employees engage in numerous face-to-face interactions with their customers. Businesses must make sure that the employees they hire have the experience and skills needed to provide excellent customer service.

Verifying the work histories of your applicants can help you to make sure that they have the experience they have claimed and the characteristics necessary to deliver great customer service. This can help hospitality businesses to protect their reputations and profits.

Preventing identity theft and fraud

Employees in the hospital industry may regularly handle sensitive financial and identifying information of customers.

For example, an employee might handle credit card numbers, contact information, bank account information, and other similar data. As a business, you have an obligation to protect your customers’ sensitive information from theft and fraud.

If one of your employees steals the credit card or banking information of a customer and uses it to access their funds, your company could potentially be liable in a negligent hiring lawsuit.

A pre-employment background check might reveal background information showing that an applicant might be a risk for committing thefts or fraud. This can help you to make informed decisions about which potential applicants you can entrust with your customers’ sensitive financial information.

Reducing turnover

Choosing the right candidates for your positions can help to reduce turnover. Employee turnover in the hospitality industry is a recognized problem and leads to losses because of repetitive training sessions and the time spent to bring new hires up to speed.

Verifying an applicant’s employment history can let you see if he or she has moved from job to job frequently or has instead remained with different employers for more extended periods.

Your applicant’s employment verification information can also allow you to ensure that he or she was honest on his or her application, allowing you to verify his or her trustworthiness.

Preventing workplace crime and violence

Hospitality employees work around many coworkers and customers. Working with a reputable pre-employment background check provider can help your business to reduce your risk of hiring someone whose history indicates the potential for violent behavior, theft, or drug abuse.

By completing thorough background checks, you can help to protect the safety of your employees and customers while protecting your business from potential legal liability.

Having great brand ambassadors

Some hospitality employees become brand ambassadors for their companies by getting to know frequent customers.

For example, a bartender might develop friendships with some of your customers who might subsequently interact with him or her on social media. Completing FCRA-compliant social media checks before hiring a hospitality employee can help you to ensure that an applicant does not talk negatively about his or her employer or post about highly controversial topics.

Conducting compliant social media checks can help you to avoid hiring someone who might become a problematic employee and hurt your brand.

What Shows up on a Hotel & Hospitality Background Check?

The types of information requested by most employers in the hotel and hospitality industry include pre-employment drug testing, criminal history checks, employment verification, education verification, and social media checks.

This type of information can help hiring managers to ensure that they hire qualified, suitable candidates who are likelier to perform well in their positions.

Here is what you might expect to see for each of these different areas of your hospitality background checks.

Drug testing

Employers in the hospital industry often request pre-employment drug testing to determine whether an applicant has controlled substances present in their bodies.

A pre-employment drug test will show evidence of an applicant’s recent drug use but will not indicate the precise amount of any substances that are present.

Once a sample is collected and an initial screen is performed, the absence or presence of any detectable drugs requested will be determined.

If a positive initial result is obtained, the sample will undergo a confirmation screen. On your applicant’s pre-employment drug testing results, you will see positive or negative results for each of the drugs that you have selected on your panel within about three days.

Criminal history

If a candidate has a criminal record, you might see the following types of information about the offense:

  • The specific charge
  • Date the case was filed
  • Disposition of the case
  • Disposition date
  • Severity of the charge (whether it was a felony or misdemeanor)
  • Sentencing information

Employment verification

An applicant’s employment verification information on a pre-employment hospitality background check shows you whether he or she made any false claims about employment experience.

The provided information will let you confirm the candidate’s dates of employment at each prior job and the specific positions held.

Verifying an applicant’s employment history can help you to make sure that the people you hire are trustworthy and have the experience required for the job.

Education verification

Certain hospitality jobs require that candidates have certain types of degrees, including hospitality management or others.

Conducting an education verification check can help you to ensure that your candidates have the educational qualifications claimed on their applications or resumes, and that they have the needed qualifications and knowledge the positions require.

Compliant social media searches

It is not a good idea for a hiring manager to try to search the social media pages of prospective employees. This is because doing so could potentially create legal problems for your company.

It is better to rely on a qualified third-party background check provider that can screen out any information about the applicant’s protected class so that you do not violate the laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

When you request a legally-compliant social media search from iprospectcheck, you will first need to obtain the signed consent and authorization from the applicant before requesting the search.

Legally-complaint social media searches do not rely on unethical or illegal means of accessing an applicant’s social media accounts, including hacking.

Finally, a social media search from a reputable background check company like iprospectcheck will represent a good-faith effort to ensure that the right person has been reviewed.

How to Run a Pre-Employment Hospitality Background Check

Some hospitality employers try to complete background checks on their own. They might check the central repositories of criminal records in their states or try to review local court records.

These approaches will not return all the relevant information for the positions for which you are hiring. While they might return some criminal history information, it might not include information about arrests and convictions in other states.

Conducting pre-employment background checks through the state will also not return any information about an applicant’s employment or educational history and other data that you might need.

When you work with a third-party pre-employment background check provider like iprospectcheck, you can save substantial time and money while feeling confident that your background checks fully comply with the laws and regulations.

We can return background checks quickly so that you are not waiting for weeks to fill your open positions.

How Far Back Do Hotel and Hospitality Pre-Employment Background Checks Go?

Consumer reporting agencies that complete hospitality and hotel background checks are required to follow the rules under the Fair Credit Reporting Act for how far back the provided information can go for the purposes of employment.

The FCRA forbids CRAs from reporting criminal history information that did not result in a conviction to be used for hiring decisions that is more than seven years old. However, for positions that pay more than $75,000 per year, this restriction does not apply.

When you work with iprospectcheck, you can avoid using prohibited information when making employment decisions. Other types of information, including about an applicant’s employment and education history, do not fall under the FCRA’s restrictions.

For these types of data, you can rely on the information no matter how old it might be.

What Are the Legal Regulations Around Hospitality Background Checks?

Pre-employment background checks must adhere to several federal and state laws. The Fair Credit Reporting Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are two major federal laws that apply to hospitality background checks. The Federal Trade Commission is tasked with enforcing the FCRA, while the EEOC enforces Title VII and other anti-discrimination laws.


The FCRA is a federal law that protects consumers’ private information that is held by CRAs.

The regulations under the FCRA also apply to pre-employment hospitality background checks. Employers must obtain consent from applicants before conducting background checks.

The FCRA also restricts how far back the information on a background check can go when it is being used to make employment decisions as previously described.

Title VII

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is a major anti-discrimination law that was passed in 1964. Under this law, employment discrimination based on an applicant’s or employee’s protected class is prohibited.

Guidance has been issued by the EEOC about relying on criminal history information when making adverse job decisions.

According to this guidance, employers should initially assess any criminal history information to determine its relevance to the available position. Applicants should then be given the opportunity to explain why any criminal record is not relevant.

iprospectcheck: Your Trusted Partner for Fast, Accurate, Compliant Hospitality Background Checks

Pre-employment hospitality background checks should be a routine part of your onboarding and hiring process.

The background checks that your complete should fully comply with all relevant regulations and laws.

By working with iprospectcheck to complete your hospitality background checks, you can feel confident in the reliability, accuracy, and legality of the reports you receive. Our staff members are fully trained and have access to databases and cutting-edge technology to quickly find the information that you need.

For more information about the different types of information available through our pre-employment background checks, contact us today for a free consultation.

DISCLAIMER: The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Consult your counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.

Know Before You Hire

About the Author
Matthew J. Rodgers

Matthew J. Rodgers

Matthew J. Rodgers is a highly accomplished business executive with over 30 years of experience providing strategic vision and leadership to companies ranging from the fortune 500 to iprospectcheck, a company which he co-founded over a decade ago. Matthew is a valued consultant who is dedicated to helping companies create and implement efficient, cost effective and compliant employment screening programs. Matt has been a member of the Professional Background Screeners Association since 2009 . When not focused on iprospectcheck, he can be found spending time with his family, fly fishing, or occasionally running the wild rivers of the American west. A lifetime member of American Whitewater, Matt is passionate about protecting and restoring America’s whitewater rivers.