4 Tips for Hiring Background Check Companies

Posted by on May 8, 2012 in Employee Background Checks [ 0 Comments ]

Background check companies for your businessOne of your jobs as a business owner is to find and select the best candidates for various positions that you need to fill. Your skill sets as a business owner, however, may limit you from knowing the ins and outs of employee background checks and how information gathered from these screenings may affect your role as an employer. Background check companies are one of the partners you should rely on to get the job done right.

Why should you contract with background check companies to find out the credit and criminal history of your candidates? You might find that taking on this task yourself is an inefficient use of your time and energy. A good third-party screening company will deliver quick, accurate, and comprehensive reports using sound legal practices to lower your risk and ensure you hire the right person the first time. Such companies also save you the time you might spend learning the many complicated state and federal laws governing the information you have a right to see.

There are so many background check companies to choose from! So, how can you vet them and find the right one for you? Here are a few tips for hiring a background check company:

1. Comprehensive Coverage

Look for a background check company that provides a comprehensive coverage area. Employment screening firms vary in the types of background checks they offer, and not all companies cover the entire U.S. Ideally, the right company will have access to national court and consumer records, and will also have access to those specific to your state.

It’s also important to choose a firm that is familiar with the needs particular to your industry, or for the position you’re filling. Comprehensive services can provide a personal and criminal background check, verify professional and educational certifications, and check references. However, if you truly only need one piece of history, such as a credit report or driving records, you want to have that option.  Additionally, if your industry has special requirements or unique licensing standards, you’ll want to work with a company that can provide the services you need.

2. Expertise

Any credible background check company will understand privacy rights and the laws that govern them. One of the first things you should look for is a company that touts their compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This document is lengthy and outlines the rules and requirements surrounding the collection, dissemination, and use of consumer information. When evaluating a background check company, you’ll want to ensure that they not only have intimate knowledge of the laws governing the collection of your candidates’ information, but can also counsel you on how best to use the information once it’s been reported to you.

3. Accreditation

In addition to compliance and expertise, the most credible background check companies adhere to the de-facto standard: the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) Accreditation. To become accredited, background check companies must pass an on-site audit of its policies and procedures, which verifies their compliance with 58 criteria in six areas:

  • Consumer protection
  • Legal compliance
  • Client education
  • Product standards
  • Service standards
  • General business practices

As you get closer to identifying a firm that feels right for your needs, you might also consult the Better Business Bureau for further information on certain background check companies. The BBB seal is bestowed to any company that adheres to their code of business practices, and their listings are transparent reports of any disputes that are ongoing or have been resolved.

4. Questions to Ask

In addition to the points above, there are many other ways to evaluate the right background check company for you. To ensure that you’re working with a partner that is trusted, accurate, and reliable, ask these questions:

  • Given the nature of the position I’m hiring for, what information or reports should I seek?
  • Why should I use your service instead of one of those inexpensive criminal record database search websites?
  • Tell me more about my state’s screening laws.
  • How do you conduct the background check?
  • What steps do you take to ensure accuracy of the data you pull?
  • How long will it take for you to do a complete (or partial) employment background screening on my candidate?
  • How will you provide me with the full report?
  • How do you ensure confidentiality?
  • Will I have a dedicated account manager if I have questions or need help with the report findings?
  • If there is information that doesn’t sit well with me, what am I obligated to do in terms of informing the candidate?

Overall, the best way to find the right background screening service is to use the same criteria that you’d use in selecting any other vendors or partner to assist you. If you needed legal representation, you wouldn’t just go with the cheapest law firm, right? Though cost is one consideration, you’d want to ensure quality, competency, expertise, and reputation. Use this critical eye when evaluating background check companies as well.

Photo source: californiaemployeeadvocate.com


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