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Cheap Background Checks, You Get What You Pay For

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The old adage of “buy cheap, buy twice” rings true in the context of background checks. Take the cheap route, and you’ll end up frustrated with abbreviated or inaccurate results, setting the stage for financial pain as you pay a second time for accurate information. Instead of paying twice, pay once and get the information you need the first time.

Comprehensive Background Checks vs. Basic Background Checks

A comprehensive and accurate background check helps employers understand whether a candidate is likely to be nonviolent and trustworthy. The last thing your organization needs is to eventually discover a contributor is not who they claim to be.

Opt for a background check service provider that earns its keep, and you’ll rest easy knowing the offers you extend tell the whole story of the applicant rather than a fraction of it. Comprehensive background checks analyze the candidate’s entire picture as opposed to merely grazing the surface. As an example, comprehensive background checks detail the candidate’s employment and residential history. Inferior background checks merely identify the name, current address, contact information, and limited information pertaining to previous employment stints.

Some low-cost or no-cost background checks do not extend beyond the information available to the public. Certain basic searches are completely automated, meaning they churn out results that might be inaccurate and lack critical human analysis. It is possible that such a superficial scan will yield information about two people with similar names, resulting in a hiring decision based on insufficient or inaccurate information.

Hiring managers should be aware that there is no single nationwide criminal database to access before extending an offer of employment. Information pertaining to arrests and convictions typically begins at the local level, meaning records detailing crimes emanate from thousands of counties across the nation. In comparison, no-cost background check services provide partial reports that might not be reliable or updated to reflect the truth about the candidate.

Your organization needs as much information as possible, including that from both digital and non-digital sources. However, researching non-digital sources of information chews up time and money. Pay for a comprehensive background check, and you’ll get both a macro and micro view of the applicant, identifying relevant information about their past while living in your home state and elsewhere.

Comprehensive background checks are properly vetted, accurate, and in full compliance with the law. Above all, the best reason to opt for a paid and fully comprehensive background check is that it provides the information you need to make hiring decisions based on accurate data, mitigating the potential for an employment discrimination or unlawful termination lawsuit.

Run the AHT

Deep analysis includes the Address History Trace or AHT for short. The AHT is a report identifying information tied to Social Security numbers, such as names (including aliases), date of birth, and more. AHTs are in-depth to the point that they identify nicknames and surnames added post-marriage.

AHTs generate a profile of the candidate’s residential history to get a sense of which specific jurisdictions should be analyzed to uncover more information about the prospect. Once the AHT profile is generated, jurisdictional information is available for search. Jurisdictional information stems from County Courts that serve as the official court of record. County Courts accept and maintain case filings.

Run a Database Search

A database search is an employer’s opportunity to search a database consisting of more than 450 million criminal records gathered from thousands of sources. Expand the scope of your search all the more with a supplementary county search of a database, and you’ll cast a wide net, identifying as many records as possible.

Database searches extend to sex offender registries across 50 states and territories. Search sex offender registries in real-time after applications are submitted, and you’ll rest easy knowing you’ve done your part to prevent a sex offender from infiltrating your organization and causing even more harm.

Database searches even extend all the way to AKAs, short for also known as. AKAs include aliases such as hyphenated names after marriage, maiden names, and even nicknames. Acknowledge the inconvenient fact that some candidates go by several names yet will not provide those names when applying, expand your search to databases for an all-encompassing analysis, and you’ll move forward with a hiring decision in confidence.

The Risks of Cheap Background Checks

The sad truth is some low-cost background check services provide inaccurate information that warps an employer or other group’s view of meritorious candidates. Your organization needs and deserves nationwide background checks that comprehensively analyze candidates' criminal past, employment, driving record, and even credit rating. Extend your search to the national level with an in-depth background check, and you’ll access:

  • Criminal databases throughout the United States
  • Sex offender registry status
  • Public records
  • Court records
  • Aliases
  • Address history
  • Plenty more

The key takeaway is that it is a mistake to fall into the trap of a cheap and narrow background search that focuses on the county level. Your organization needs and deserves to understand what the candidate is really all about in terms of employment history, criminality (or lack thereof), and more.

Such in-depth information paints a clear picture of the candidate’s history, moral character, and perhaps most importantly, the potential to harm coworkers, customers, and others. Invest the time and relatively small amount of money to review the candidate’s history across the entirety of the nation’s legal jurisdictions, and you’ll make a hiring decision without consternation.