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Is a National Database the Best Screen for Your Staffing Agency?

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As a staffing firm, it's imperative to screen candidates before placing them with clients. However, many staffing firms simply use a national database as their methodology. While this is economically attractive, it comes with substantial risk.

We often look at comparisons of a professional grade screen versus just a national database. A professional grade screen includes an Address History Trace, county level searches, a real time sex offender and is supplemented with a national database - AKAs are recommended as well. In a comparison prepared for a staffing firm that processes over 100,000 screens annually, we sampled 993 applicants. These applicants had been "cleared" via a national screen. When a professional grade screen was performed, 30% of the applicants were found to have records with 19% of those being violent felonies and one applicant being listed on a sex offender registry.

We share this comparison data to encourage staffing firms to perform a professional grade screen, as the safety and security of your clients' workplaces depend on better screening. Although you can expect to pay more for a better screen, the cost of a bad background check is certainly more damaging. It could cost you your reputation, clients and more.

Employer Takeaways

  1. If a national database is a sole or primary source, consider a better screen. Better screens cost more, but they are more reliable. Better screening can also improve turnover.
  2. Unsure if a better screen would really make a difference? Contact us, and we can perform a sample screen on a limited number of applicants and provide you with the results.
  3. Another risky part about using databases is compliance with the FCRA, which states consumer reports must be complete and up-to-date. Databases are often stale and lacking information. If unverified, reports may be returned with numerous possible matches which may or may not belong to your applicant. Databases often also lack dispositions - meaning the record is not complete or up-to-date.