How to Find the Right Company for Your Employment Background Checks

How to Find the Right Company for Your Employment Background Checks


You’re hiring, but who are you hiring?

Background checks are a powerful tool for finding the right employee for the right job. But not all background checks are created equal. How will you know if the company providing you the data is doing the best possible job?

Data Gathering

Start with how the company gathers data. Some services are little more than paying somebody to run your employee’s name through a search engine and see what pops up, and are largely in the market for employers who are simply too busy to do basic research on their applicants. A full-service company, on the other hand, will use online data as the starting point. They’ll run the checks, and then pursue the public records. In many cases, if there’s red flags, they’ll dig deeper to determine the exact nature. You won’t just discover if there was an arrest and what for, you’ll know why the arrest was made and what the ultimate outcome was. After all, what’s more important: That the applicant was arrested or that he or she was let go by the police with no charges?

Information Quality

A good background check company sticks to the facts. In the course of a detailed background check, every company will come across information they can’t verify, usually in the form of office gossip or other unreliable sources. Some will throw this data in for the sake of completeness, while some will treat it as a smoking gun when it’s anything but.

While a full-service company will check references for you, they won’t elevate any hearsay to the same level as basic information. Anything that’s relevant and proven is included in the report, and anything that isn’t is left out. Which leads us to the most important factor…

Legal Compliance

Two business people discussing ideas in co-working space with a

A background check may be more than just Google.

Any business that researches background checks knows about the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA. And any background check business will explain FCRA’s impact on you as an employer and how to take adverse action under that law.

But what about state and local laws? Is there information you can find on a federal level that you can’t collect on a state or local one? If you choose to engage in an adverse action regarding employment, does the state follow the cues of federal law, or are there state-specific cues you must take?

A good background check company doesn’t just give you the information in a report and leave you to your own devices. They’ll help you better understand your obligations under the law and help you train your hiring managers and HR departments so that they understand them as well. They work with you to form a process that ensures you’re in compliance while treating your applicant fairly and making the right hire. And they’ll help you create the materials you need to inform anybody applying for a position knows what their rights are and what you’ll be doing with the information.

A good background check company provides you with useful information. A great one gives you everything you need to use that information effectively when hiring.

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