This is a guest post from Mike Colwell, Executive Director of the Business Innovation Zone (BIZ).

Why bother doing a background check on a potential employee?  Well, not too long ago a friend of mine did not and ended up with a new credit card in his business’s name he knew nothing about.  By the time he found out, there were thousands of dollars in charges and a mess to deal with.  This day and age you need to check the background of the people you plan to hire.  At a minimum do a local criminal background check.  Consider asking the applicant to sign a form giving you permission to do the background check. Even if the information is public just asking permission may provide for an interesting discussion.  This is especially important when hiring someone for an accounting or other financial job.  In this case you may want to consider a national criminal background check.

How do you go about doing these types of checks? Here in Des Moines, I turn to my friend Katie Roth at Portico HR. Any good HR agency should be able to either directly assist you or provide you with an online or local resource that is reputable. Now more than ever, it is important to hire wisely and protect your business from fraudulent activity.

BIZ is a community sponsored non-profit business accelerator designed to provide economic growth in Central Iowa through the development and expansion of entrepreneurial enterprise. 

From Rush:  Interested in writing a guest post for Rush on Business? Please contact me at