Credit Report is usually the first step in evaluating a new applicant. When screening a new applicant it is very important to always verify that the applicant is currently working were they say they work. It is also very important to call their current and prior landlord.
But the credit report can tell a landlord much more than that. At a basic level, the credit report can help you verify the applicant's social security number, helping to protect you against identity fraud. Many applicant's will use a false social security number when doing the application, just to avoid having their history exposed for the landlord.
The background information on the credit report is also extremely important. It can show liens against the applicant that might indicate a history of not paying their bills. Legal judgments also can show up on the credit report, which can show evictions or collection lawsuits. While this information isn't always a complete picture, it can be a vital tool in conjunction with other reports.
Of course, a history of bankruptcy can also be detected through the use of the credit report. Many landlords avoid tenants with a history of bankruptcy, since it shows a pattern of bad financial management. On the other hand, some landlords welcome bankruptcies, since they know that the applicant can't file another one for many years!
Once you have run the check credit report and you are satisfied with the credit report, then you should begin the verify the other information that the applicant provided.