What Everybody Ought to Know About Employee Background Checks

employee background checksWell, I did something this week I don’t normally do.  I ran 20 miles.  I wish, it has been a bad week on the running trails and only slipped on my Vibrams twice. I setup an exhibit booth at the Indiana SHRM conference.  I know, that is so cool.

All kidding aside, I am always reluctant to participate as an exhibitor at conferences.  Exhibit halls represent traditional marketing, or interrupted marketing, on steroids.

The exhibit hall was filled with hundreds of hungry marketers and each break would bring thousands of conference participants into the hall to navigate the sea of booths and seasoned marketers.

You can see the trepidation in the eyes and body language of the participants as they work their way through the aisles. Believe me, I felt the same trepidation and I was an exhibitor.  I was puzzled by the booth diagonally from us with men in tuxedos and bow ties taking your photo under their marketing banner?  Who cares?  Or the booth with freaky hats and Elvis sideburns.   I know some of you still hold on to the hope that Elvis lives.  Maybe he is a VP of marketing for a moving company.  Or the rubber duckies (I have to admit my two partners were eyeing them).

I get the drawing for a free iPad.  That is worth a few seconds at a booth.  Although, it still does not tell me you are good at what you do, but I would love an iPad (hint Honey).

The whole process is akin to running the gauntlet.  Trying to get through the exhibit hall unscathed while at the same time loading up on meaningless trinkets.

This is so not our style or culture.  My mother taught me it is not right to interrupt and certainly not right to mislead.  So I struggle with traditional marketing.

So you are wondering why I decided to participate?  One reason is we have a chance to chat with a large number of our clients.  Always worth the money.

And I always hope that I will get an opportunity to have a meaningful conversation with a potential client who is interested in employee background checks.

I am a teacher.  I always have been.  I have traveled all over the world speaking at conferences because I know that information is power.  That is why I invest so heavily in speaking at conferences, blogging and hosting webinars.

So if you got caught up running the gauntlet and skipped past our booth, here is what I would have told you about employee background checks:

  1. There is no standard of care.  The background screening industry is highly unregulated and offers very low quality products and services.  Here is an example: A background screening exhibitor at the conference this week had recently sent marketing propaganda to a group of our clients offering them $5 volunteer background checks.  I explained to our partner how this cheap search would contain less than 25% of criminal records.  Yes, the price looks awesome but the background check is toilet paper.
  2. Industry standard is a 7 year search.  Yes, that means if your applicant has a criminal record 10 years ago, you don’t see it.  The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act does not restrict criminal convictions to 7 years so why do screening firms?  Could be state law but that is only a handful of states.
  3. Criminal Databases are NOT complete.  There does not exist a single criminal database (FBI, state, proprietary) that is comprehensive enough to use as a stand-alone employee background screening program.
  4. Alias, AKA’s & Other Names Not Searched.  If they are, you are charged double or triple for the background check.  Read the fine print.  Does it make sense to search a name that a person has recently changed and not search former married, maiden or other names?  Not if you are focused on safety.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  We met some great people at the conference and had some meaningful conversations.  These are people who sought us out because we don’t apply kidnapping techniques to our marketing.

Honestly, we are very selective in our clients.  We want the best-of-the-best organizations at the top of their industries.  Who are committed to the safety and security of their organizations.  Who truly care about their people and the people they serve.

Therefore we know not every conference participant that walks by fits into that category.  We are unique in the background screening industry and so are our 1800+ clients.

If you are looking for cheap employee background checks so you can say you have done something, we are not the right fit.

If you are an organization that strives to be the best you can be, then we want to talk to you.  Contact us.  We will make each other better.