A personal background check enables employers to get an idea of an applicant's professional and emotional fit with reference to company credo. The background check can begin with a reference check that covers both personal and professional references.

A review of credit reports offers useful insight and concrete information regarding an employee.

The type and number of credit accounts and the bill paying record is a fair indicator of an individual's suitability, particularly for accounts related positions. The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows employers to utilize information available in an individual's credit record in order to assess their suitability for a job. Details provided in a credit report serve as a useful counter check for information made available by the applicant.

Employers should take care that their personal background check resources are verifiable and that they do not violate privacy and equal opportunity legislations.

Information obtained during a personal background check helps the company to build a clear picture of the applicant; the information can include criminal records, debt, age, past residences, marital status, and past jobs. The information provided by third parties is usually marked "verified" or "unverified". This helps companies to decide quickly whether they wish to entertain a job application or not. In order to obtain a well rounded picture of an individual, the personal background check company may gather information from friends and neighbors of the applicant. The company requesting a personality background check should try and obtain information relevant to the nature of the job so that no time is wasted hunting for redundant information.

Companies can outsource a personality background check depending upon the extent of information desired. Often, it is cheaper if companies conduct a personal background check in house as they can obtain the information required from the county and state information databases.

As the name suggests, personal background checks can reveal deeply personal information and traits about an individual that can be useful to not only employers but also to landlords who may not wish to have tenants that have a history of loose conduct. Such checks are also done by parents to learn more about prospective spouses.