7 Most Common Questions About Background Investigation Services

, | February 9, 2023 | By

When hiring for a business, school, or healthcare organization, conducting background investigations helps keep your employees, students, and others safe. It also allows you to develop a clear picture of who you’re hiring so you can better manage your hiring risk. 

Whether you’ve been conducting background investigations for a while or are new to them, read this post for answers to some common questions about background screening.

7 Common Questions About Background Investigation Services

Background screening can often be complex, especially considering the many services and how they can be applied across different industries, organizations, and job positions. But when you understand the background check basics, you can make well-informed decisions about the screening provider you use. 

To learn more about what you can expect from your background screening company, check out the answers to these frequently asked questions:

1. Who should undergo a background investigation?

It’s easy to see why prospective employees should have a background check, but other individuals that comprise your workforce may also require a background investigation. These individuals can impact the safety of your workplace and often have similar access to your customers, patients, and other stakeholders. They include:

  • Interns
  • Volunteers
  • Temps and contractors

2. What methods do you use to obtain background information?

Background investigation services come in many forms and can include a mix of database searches, court searches, and a social security number trace, which provides the basis for your county court searches. When assessing potential screening providers, ask about the methods they use to obtain background information. For a thorough background check, avoid the lowest-cost providers that primarily use database search methods. These are not complete or reliable sources of background information, and they require verification with court records.

3. Which searches should I use?

When evaluating background investigation services companies, ensure you understand which searches they can conduct. At a minimum, the following searches should be a part of every criminal background check:

  • Address and name history trace
  • County court criminal search
  • Criminal database search
  • Sex offender registry search

Depending on the position, you may also want to add other searches, such as motor vehicle records and federal court searches.

4. Should I rescreen employees after hire?

Background investigations obtain information at a specific moment in time. They can’t capture criminal activity that occurs after the check is completed. For this reason, you may want to consider periodically rescreening your employees. In fact, healthcare industry employers are required to do so per requirements from the Office of Inspector General for the US Department of Health and Human Services. These rules exclude certain individuals from healthcare employment.

Rescreening can include post-employment drug testing and criminal history searches. However, because some states have specific requirements and limitations for rescreening employees, make sure you work with a knowledgeable screening provider that understands the legal requirements applicable to your organization.

5. How long do background investigation services take?

Most background investigations take a few days to complete. However, it’s important to think about timing in the proper context. A fast background check is no good if it’s not thorough. Therefore, it’s worthwhile to work with your provider to select the right mix of background searches for your employees and volunteers. Then you can develop a clear picture of reasonable turnaround times for thorough, high-quality background checks.

6. How much does background screening cost?

To understand the complete cost of background screening services, always select a provider with straightforward and transparent pricing. This way, you can avoid hidden fees and “fine print” that could unnecessarily increase your screening budget.

7. What should I do if a candidate or volunteer has concerning background information?

In cases when background check results suggest a potentially risky hire, you’ll need to follow specific adverse action requirements set by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This includes providing candidates with specific disclosures and allowing them to provide any new information that could clarify or dispute the background investigation results.

In keeping with fair chance hiring practices, you should carefully review all the information candidates supply to explain their criminal record. Depending on the nature of their charges and the position they will fill, you may determine it makes sense to move forward with the hiring process. Your screening provider can work with you to help you understand your options and make well-informed and fair hiring decisions.

Get Answers to All of Your Background Screening Questions

Depending on your industry and hiring process, you may have many more questions about background investigation services. By selecting a knowledgeable and experienced screening provider, you can have all your questions answered and ultimately operate a more effective background screening program. Want to learn more about conducting background checks for employees and non-employees in your organization? Check out our e-book, Volunteer Screening Best Practices.