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The Most Commonly Asked Questions About Background Checks

What is actually included in a pre-employment background check?

A pre-employment background check is an essential piece of the hiring process. Most background checks will verify identity, criminal history, education, previous employment, professional licenses and/or certifications. Depending on the position being applied for additional searches may be included like sex offender status, driving record (MVR), credit history and if you’ve worked outside of the United States then international education and/or employment.

What is the best background site to use?

Selecting a background check provider can be a challenge, but looking for “the best background site” is not the place to start. You need to search background check providers that do not merely search the internet as the source of their screening. All-in-one internet searches do not accurately reflect the complexities of records maintained in courts and repositories across the United States. There are many vendors to choose from, so determining which ones are quality requires a closer look.

First things first – Make sure the vendor you select is FCRA compliant and up-to-date on federal and local laws. Additionally, look for a company that will customize your background checks. Many will require you to choose from a list of pre-determined packages. These often appear cheaper initially, but end up costing more once you realize that the package includes unnecessary searches and charges more for add-ons that you may need. Also, it’s helpful to select a vendor that will provide you with a personal account manager that is consistently available to help you, especially when you have a rush or need help after hours. Making sure you can get the help you need when you need it is often something people don’t consider when selecting a provider but will quickly realize it when they can’t get it.

Are free background checks ok?

Some websites offer free, discounted or instant background checks. Most of these vendors aren’t FCRA compliant and the results are often prone to inaccuracies or inadequate information, providing false information which could result in unnecessary liability.  Background check companies online that claim to provide inexpensive and instant results are often not built to recognize and address these issues. A quick scan of the fine print should reveal the disclaimers about the reliability of their data as well as how it’s used for employment purposes. Disclaimers such as;

  • “not a consumer reporting agency (CRA)”
  • “It’s your responsibility…”
  • Boiler plate terms and conditions that appear copied and pasted from a different website

Quality vendors are valuable because they can spot inconsistencies, inaccurate data or missing information on an employee’s application. Additionally, a recognized background check vendor can protect you by providing only legally permissible results, under FCRA laws, for your use in making a hiring decision.

If your business is conducting background checks in-house, your hiring and screening policies should be consistent and compliant to prevent discrimination and avoid litigation. This risk alone is the main reason most companies opt to use a third-party background check provider instead of going it alone and using a free service or one that promises instant results.

Should I do a personal background check?

Many individuals are opting have their own personal background check run. There are benefits to doing this, such as knowing what information is being reported about you. Some people have discrepancies on their criminal and/or credit histories, or they are being associated with negative information that’s not theirs. Identity theft has made this situation more frequent and problematic for applicants. Someone may not be aware of these inaccuracies until they go to apply for a job and unfortunately another applicant may end up landing the job because of this.

Having the benefit of knowing ahead of time allows a candidate to remedy situations like these or be prepared to address them with a new employer. Also, if the candidate has prior incidents with the law it provides them the opportunity to present context for anything appearing on their background check. Keep in mind, with Ban The Box and Marijuana laws changing across the country, more employers are open to hiring applicants with criminal records, so being able to provide them with some context typically goes a long way.

When your business needs assistance with employment screening, criminal checks, FCRA compliance, drug screening, education and employment verification, driving records (MVR), credit checks or social security number validation, contact the Swailes Background Team to get quickly signed up.