7 Reasons the Criminal Background Check Came Back Clear

criminal background checkAn applicant with a large organization that works with the physically and mentally disabled completed a seemingly thorough application, interviewed well and his recent Masters Degree qualified him for the open therapist position.  His initial criminal background check through the Indiana Limited Criminal History had come back clear.  However, a comprehensive criminal record check through Safe Hiring Solutions revealed the applicant had changed his name after being released from prison where he had served time for drug trafficking and domestic violence. So if the client was relying only on the Indiana criminal history check this applicant would be working for them today.

There are reasons why a criminal background check comes back clear when an applicant has a criminal record.  Some of the reasons are legal and we must accept them whether we agree or disagree.  However, some of the reasons are symptomatic of the low quality standards of the background screening industry.

Here are 7 main reasons a criminal background check comes back clear when there is a criminal record:

  1. Limited Search
    1. Background screening partner adheres to 7 year industry standard
    2. Relying on an incomplete criminal database
  2. Alias Name Not Searched (Above Example)
  3. Expungement- Record Wiped Away by Courts
  4. Sealed Record- Court Seals Record from Public View
    1. Similar to expungement
    2. Majority of juvenile offenses unless tried as an adult
  5. Federal or State Law
    1. Fair Credit Reporting Act non-conviction older than 7 years
    2. State law restricts reporting
  6. Age of Record
    1. State courts archive records – varies state to state
    2. Some states like VA destroy misdemeanor records after 10 years
  7. Screening Package is Too Narrow
    1. County criminal record search only in county of residence
    2. Relying on incomplete database or state repository

If the criminal record was not reported because of #1 or #2 then your background screening partner is providing a low quality background check which exposes your organization to risk.  If the record is not reported because of #3-#6 then the report is based on a federal or state law. Finally, if a report is clear because of #7 then we need to evaluate our package and determine if saving a few dollars is worth the risk.

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Have you received a clear report when you knew the applicant had a criminal record?  Leave us a comment below.