Hiring new employees can be a big risk for a small business. The resources that go into training and compensation alone can present a huge expense for many fledgling businesses. Pre-employment screening, if done well, can make sure these expenses turn out to be a good investment instead of a money-pit nightmare.
For this reason, every business owner should make sure they use reputable, dependable, and accurate services for pre-employment screening. Before you click on a sketchy internet ad promising information on just about anyone, you should know a few things about choosing the best background check sites.
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) Compliance
There are many internet databases that claim to be valid for background checks. However, if the database isn’t FCRA compliant, you shouldn’t be using it to screen employment candidates.
The FCRA was enacted to make sure that credit agencies and any other consumer reporting agencies (like background check companies) provide accurate information for individuals whose information will be used in decisions like hiring and lending.
Check the terms of service for sites you use to perform background checks to ensure the data they are providing is FCRA compliant. Using information that is not FCRA compliant to make employment decisions could even open you up to possible lawsuits.
An example would be googling an employment candidate and finding an 8-year-old mugshot image of the person. Based on this discovery, you might decide not go ahead with the hire. Such a Google search is not FCRA compliant for a few reasons:
- Non-conviction criminal information can only be reported up to seven years
- The image might not contain enough personally identifiable information to be a true match
- The image could be related to an arrest that did not turn into a conviction or a conviction that was expunged
If you decided against hiring someone on this basis, you could very likely have a lawsuit on your hands. So, think again before you perform a Google search that may produce information you truly cannot use for pre-employment screening services.
Many background check companies claim that they can provide a “national search” or “multi-jurisdictional” search for background checks. There is no true national registry that can provide updated information for every single jurisdiction. Criminal convictions can happen at the municipal, state, county, and federal level. What’s more: The federal crime database is not searchable by date of birth or social security number.
Make sure you understand the information that is actually available through the background check. If you need something more extensive, reach out to someone in customer service who might be able to modify your background check package.
Know Your Pre-Employment Screening Needs
According to private investigator Ari Morse of BestPI.com, your background check firm should be able to walk you through the screening process to mitigate the risks of lawsuits. Because of all the nuanced protocols, it’s best to work with a background check company that can tailor pre-employment screening packages to suit your needs.
For example, if you need to screen a job candidate who has lived in multiple counties, ideally your vendor has connections to fetch updated records from local county courthouses. As mentioned before, the multi-jurisdictional databases can be outdated from one county to the next.
Your vendor should also be familiar with common scams and crimes related to your industry. Perhaps your employment sector is exposed to a crime risk not common to other types of businesses. Your screening firm might point out that you need drug screens along with driving records based on the type of work your employee will be doing.
Know Your Pre-Employment Screening Risks
You also want to work with a firm that can help you develop a protocol for screening employees. A good company with experience in this area can guide you through deciphering the information in these reports. They can help you handle going over this information with a potential candidate to confirm or deny the accuracy of the information you’ve dug up.
From getting a candidate’s permission to perform the screen and having to deal with adverse and pre-adverse action letters, background checks can get unwieldy and expose you to risks you might not have considered. So, work with an experienced partner to help. Ideally, work with a company that has a human element experienced in all these issues.
Finding a good background check site can be confusing because so many exist (do a quick web search and you’ll find that out quickly!). To help filter the list down, look for important credentials that indicate a reputable business.
One accreditation standard comes from the National Association of Professional Background. You can check their directory for background check companies that make the grade. Some companies also have Better Business Bureau (BBB) accreditation. If they are not BBB accredited, you can at least check their BBB profile for ratings.
Best Background Check Sites
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the best background check sites to use when hiring new employees:
1. Background Report
Background Report is an easy, DIY option for people wanting to start and finish the entire background check process online. This service is designed to be inclusive allowing for the job candidate to see results, provide feedback, and dispute or explain them if necessary.
2. Accurate Now
Accurate Now offers automated background checks for small and medium-size businesses. The company offers U.S.-based support along with a straightforward pricing structure clearly outlined on their website.
3. Good Hire
Good Hire, based in Redwood, California, offers a hassle-free online portal for business owners who need pre-employment screening services. GoodHire has been recognized for its easy-to-use user interface and excellent customer service.
4. Employment Screening Resources
Employment Screening Resources was founded in 1997 by hiring attorney Lester Rosen. Based in San Francisco, ESR has leadership well-versed in labor and hiring law and offers U.S.-based data processing to deliver their services.
HireRight offers pre-employment screening in more than 240 countries and territories and can handle applicants in 20 languages. The HireRight platform also offers a number of integrations for existing e-recruiting applications.
6. Accurate Background
EasyBackgrounds is a New Hampshire-based company that started in 1995 as a commercial investigative services firm. They offer a broad spectrum of investigative services including background checks.
8. Verified Credentials
Verified Credentials provides both personal and commercial background check services. The personal background check is useful for people who want to know what information is displayed when a potential employer looks into their background.
Justifacts has been around since 1982 and provides pre-employment screening services to small businesses along with enterprise organizations. Each client is assigned an account manager to help personalize the screening process and interpret report results.
Based in Marietta, Georgia, Infomart helps client develop pre-employment screening procedures that are industry specific. Services include verifications, credit history checks, and background reports.
Whatever service you use to check a potential employee’s background, make sure you are familiar with your responsibility as an employer. Hiring is an important decision, so make sure you have all the information you need while also minimizing your exposure to risk. Working with an excellent, FCRA-compliant background check site should help.
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