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Background Check Survival Guide

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Hidden Dangers: Not all background checks are created equal and in the case of database only screens, they are dangerous and unreliable. The reality is that even the best “national” database contains records from only about 50% of U.S. Court sources.

The other half can only be found by searching directly at the county level.

There are also risks if you are using an “instant” database which returns results immediately or within a few hours. These instant hits are not verified and there may be missing or incomplete information.

Verifying potential matching records at the court of record is the best way to ensure they are the most accurate and up-to-date records on your subject. Databases are an excellent supplement to county level searches but are too risky to be used as a sole source. What is considered a reliable screen? For a reliable screen include all the following in your criminal background check: Address History Trace, County Searches, Criminal Record Database, National Sex Offender Registry, and AKA’s.

Maximizing Your Resources: When you have limited resources in your survival kit, the last thing you can afford to do is be wasteful. Cost is important, but don’t let it be a barrier to better screening. There are high quality screens available for less than $20.

Follow these tips to get the most out of your money: 
  1. Find a package price that is inclusive. Unfortunately, many vendors may offer an enticing $8 package for a “national” database but then start stacking up the fees when county level searches are added. In those cases, vendors may charge as much as $8 per county plus access fees! Suddenly, that $8 package has ballooned to nearly $40! With one inclusive fee per screen, you have a clear idea of how to budget with no surprises.

  2. Don’t pay for extras that should be free! Is your vendor trying to charge fees for online platforms or for extending data entry to applicants? This type of functionality is included at no cost by many quality providers. If your vendor continues to nickel and dime you for every new feature, you may want to reconsider your vendor.

  3. Sign-up or annual fees are not standard. A reputable vendor won’t charge you fees just for being a customer. That’s not fair to you; it’s just profitable for them.

  4. Thriving in the Elements: Compliance doesn’t have to be scary or complicated. Even when the legal winds of change shift, the right partner can help you survive and thrive with little work on your part.

As an employer, when you receive a background check report from a third-party, you have certain legal requirements to fulfill. How can your vendor help with compliance? Most vendors can help facilitate the process of mailing legal notifications if you choose not to hire an applicant. They can also handle resolving any disputes with applicants if there is a concern about the completeness and accuracy of the contents of their report. Simplifying this step can help minimize the risks of compliance and ease the burden of screening.