Monday, December 1, 2014

The Truth Behind the Background Check Industry ~ What You Need to Know

As is true with most news, it is the “Bad” news that gets the press. It is the same with the Background Check Industry.
Errors in Background Check reports, “Quick” turnaround companies, mistaken identities ~ the list goes on.  
The fact is , there are many more reputable Background Check companies out there than dishonest ones.  Most are careful to provide accurate and timely information and go to great lengths to do their best for their client and for the subject of their investigation.

However, “quick fix” companies are out there ~ despite the push by good companies to bring their sub par work into the light of day.

These companies continue because their promises of “instant” results sell.  They base their marketing on promoting quick information at a low cost.  That is alluring.  

The bottom line is that the public is misinformed.  The real truth is - not all Background Check companies are created equal.

As an industry, we need to acknowledge that these less than diligent companies harm us all.  The key is to educate the public as to the reality about background checks.  Making sure everyone understands their limits, and what a good background check company will do about them, is a great first step.

The most important thing everyone needs to know is that errors in background check reports do occur.  And these errors create risk.

Records searched can be incomplete and outdated.  Identities do get mixed up.  And mistakes, once made, are difficult to correct. 

When any of these errors do occur, job seekers and hiring companies are understandably frustrated.  

The situation worsens when screening companies rely too much on online databases for their research. 

In a previous article, “Background Checks and Online Databases - What You Need to Know!”, I explained the pros and cons of using these sources in your background checks.

Online databases can contain faulty information.  Using them as a “one and done” base for your background check can result in false positives and even allow offenders’ records to show up clear.

The crux is; “I think databases can be a great “jumping off” point in a Background Check investigation.  By using one you can quickly find past addresses, names used, and possible criminal records.  But it is not the best way to obtain accurate and complete information.  You can do better.”

It is also important for you to understand why these errors in background checks can occur.

The biggest problem is mistaken identities.  Common and similar names often cause the biggest problems.  This is compounded by the growing number of courts removing critical identifying information from their records.  For example, many federal courts have removed social security numbers from their records as an answer to rising concerns over identity theft. 

Offenders have also been known to use someone else’s social security number or date of birth when arrested.  This can cause serious problems when trying to verify a criminal record.

Mistakes also occur due to human error.  Information can be entered incorrectly.  Names, addresses, and other identifying information may be mistyped.

All this contributes to errors in screening reports.  

In addition, there are thousands of counties and districts in the United States, each with their own record keeping system. Jurisdictional processes are not the same state to state, or sometimes even among courts within the same state. 

While in an ideal world, all criminal records would be recorded accurately and in a timely manner, this is not always the case. Often times even records that are supposed to be expunged will still be discoverable.

The public’s demand for access to “national” records is part of the problem.  Many companies advertise that they are able to provide a “one stop” report that will cover all courts in all states. This is simply not true.

What these companies are providing is a database that they have compiled by accessing available records from multiple states, counties, and districts and advertising this as a “national” record.

The truth is that the quality of this information varies and not all courts in all states are included.  Even those records that are available may not contain both felonies and misdemeanors.

That is why it is crucial that all information found using any online database be confirmed directly from the original source.  

This is where hiring a reputable background check company can make all the difference.  They will go the extra mile to make sure the information they provide is as accurate as possible.

A good Background Check cannot be “instant”. When screening companies promise to provide you with information on the spot, you need to be wary.  This is another truth ~ and one you need to heed.

In reality, the majority of Background Check companies are different.  They honestly care about their integrity and their customers.  

Good companies will keep in mind your budget, but will still focus on providing quality information.  That is why it is important to remember that low cost is not always better.  Most times, you really do get what you pay for.

So, how do you find a good Background Check company?

Here I share 5 Tips to help you choose the best one for you ~ 
Remember, “The key is to find one that will work WITH you, not just FOR You!”.  

This is the real Truth behind the Background Check industry, not the dire stories that constantly fill the news.  There are professional and conscientious screening companies who are dedicated to helping your company. 

You can be assured that if you practice a little due diligence yourself, you will find the perfect Background Check company for your needs.  I guarantee it!

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If you have any questions about what a good Background Check can do for your company, Contact Us
We are available to answer all your questions and would be happy to provide you with a consultation.

You can also find some great tips in our blog,   
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