Great question (well, I didn’t mean to pat myself on the back). Honestly, employers do background checks a million different ways. The background screening industry is highly unregulated and this has resulted in a very low standard of care for background checks. And let me be honest as we are getting started. If you are searching for a background screening firm, you need to do your due diligence or you might find yourself defending a negligent hiring lawsuit.
The truth is there are few terms more vague than background check. It means nothing to me unless you can answer the following 5 questions:
- How far back did you search? If you don’t know, then you’re screening partner is not communicating well with you.
- Do you conduct a county criminal records search? These searches are the cornerstone of a quality screening program. But make sure your partner is not using stored data or limiting the searches to 7 years.
- Do you use a state criminal repository or a national criminal database? If so, how was it searched? Every state criminal repository is different. Some have good data and others have awful data. The same holds true for national criminal databases or multi-state databases. The sources of information vary significantly from database to database which can be the difference between a clear or a felony record.
- Do you search alias or other names? If not, then you really have not done a quality background check. If an applicant is 30 years old and married twice then to do a quality background check requires searching 3 names. Two married and one maiden.
- Do you verify records found in a database? If the search is for employment purposes then you are required under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to use only up-to-date information and “stored data” in databases is not considered up to date.
The first step in hiring a quality background screening partner is to subject them to a little due diligence. I am never offended when a potential applicant starts asking questions.
Actually, I enjoy telling them how good we are at what we do. Do you want a background screening firm that has your back? Contact us today to get started.