I was scratching notes for an article yesterday when a telephone message took me in an entirely different direction. A pastor of a large church called inquiring about how to do a background check. He was alarmed because they had selected a candidate for a new staff position. Did a free background check and were about to make the offer. Then someone told him their candidate was a convicted sex offender.
Free is enticing. If I offered you a free car or a free trip you would be asking to read the fine print. Why? Because intrinsically we know nothing in life is really free.
So why do we think we can conduct background checks for free? I think we rely so heavily on the internet and see a steady ticker of headlines of people in trouble that we assume this is a cheap and reliable method of conducing background checks.
That is great if you happen to be doing a background check on Charlie Sheen. However, how valid is information that is found online? Can it be verified?
Last Friday, Zackery Tims, pastor of megachurch New Destiny Christian Center, was found dead in a hotel room in New York with a white substance in his pocket.
What do we know? Pastor Tims testimony reveals he had a criminal record for drug related crimes and was a recovering drug addict. We also know that he was divorced in 2009 after a year long affair with a stripper.
However, what do we really know? Not much. We have no toxicology reports to confirm cause of death. We do not have an accurate criminal background check beyond what Pastor Tims has shared as part of his testimony.
Sure, we can talk about character issues when a pastor, husband, father of four admits to a year long affair with a stripper. If I were a tabloid reporter, then Google provides a great expanse for gathering information. But it does not provide a quality platform for criminal background screening.
If it is this difficult to get specifics on a high profile person, then how likely is it that you will be able to use the internet as your stand-alone background screening program?
You simply can’t. The good news is quality and comprehensive criminal background checks do not have to break the bank. You cannot do them for free or even $10 but you can do a quality background check for less than what you will pay them for their first couple hours they work for your organization.
So what are the secrets of how to do a background check?
- Free background checks are a mirage.
- Background checks require multiple checks and balances.
- Instant background checks do not exist.
- Alias and other names must be searched..
- Don’t settle for 7yr criminal searches (unless state law requires)
- Select a screening partner who provides legal guidance.
The most important step you will take is selecting a background screening partner. This is no easy task. The background screening industry is highly unregulated and over-populated with companies that offer low quality products and services.
Now, I do have something to offer for FREE. Download our white paper the 10 Things to Know Before Hiring a Background Screening Firm to help your navigate the process of selecting the right background screening firm.