Businesses of all sizes are increasingly conducting background checks as part of their hiring process.  With a myriad of services and information available, choosing the right background screening company for your needs is important.  If you understand the essentials, you’re in a better position to evaluate the different options and choose the best company.

Apart from mitigating the risk of workplace violence and/or employee theft, the main reason companies go through the effort and expense of running backgrounds screens is to avoid negligent hiring lawsuits.  In recent years there’s been a rise in lawsuits against employers and background check companies for alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), highlighting the need for better understanding of the proper use and procedures of background checks.

There are four main steps that employers have to follow in order to be compliant with the FCRA:
1.    Disclosure: Applicants have to understand that the employer intends to run a background check as a condition of an offer.
2.    Authorization: The applicant has to provide written consent prior to conducting a background check.  This authorization should be a stand-alone form to prevent it from being buried in the job application. The applicant should also receive a copy of their Summary of Rights under the FCRA.  Ideally, the applicant has to provide a social security number, date of birth and full name, including middle name on this authorization form.
3.    Pre-Adverse Action Notice: If the employer intends not to hire an applicant based, in whole or in part of the background check results.  This notice needs have specific language and has to include a copy of the background check results, another copy of Your Summary of Your Rights under Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Consumer Reporting Agency’s (CRA) contact information. The purpose of this notice, is to give the applicant the opportunity to correct any incorrect or incomplete information with the CRA.
4.    Adverse Action Notice: This notice has to be sent after the employer decided not to hire the applicant.  The notice needs to have another copy of Your Summary of Your Rights under Fair Credit Reporting Act and the notice has to have specific language.
In addition to following these steps, the FCRA regulates the information you’re entitled to find out about an applicant and what you are allowed to do with that information.  On top of that, each State may have additional regulations.

A good full-service background screening company will abide by all these regulations and will only report results that are legally allowed. They will also provide all the proper forms and templates necessary to ensure you are compliant.  Some of these companies have private investigators and compliance teams that will verify the results, before reporting them to you.
Another benefit of using a full-service background screening company is the breath of services they offer.  Asides from the criminal, civil, sex offender, most wanted searches, some companies will offer professional and education reference verifications, while others may include an option for drug testing, etc.  Companies, like AccuCheck Screening, will offer customized search packages tailored to the employers’ needs.

The other option for background checks are Do-It-Yourself (DYI) websites.  The main advantage of these websites is that it’s cheap.  However, buyer beware!  Very few DYI websites abide by the FCRA.  Some will specifically state, typically in their terms of use section of their site, that the results may not be used for pre-employment screening.  These sites typically only require the applicants name in order to complete a search.  This in turn, can lead to inaccurate and/or incomplete information being passed on to you, which may put your company at risk.

At AccuCheck Screening we provide employers and property managers peace of mind by offering comprehensive background screening services of their applicants.   We strive to create the best possible customer experience for our clients, focusing on three key areas:
•    Accuracy
•    Speed
•    Compliance.
Every negative hit is double-checked by our private investigators. Our secure online system makes ordering and tracking searches easy and is available 24/7.  We offer our clients all the necessary forms and templates to ensure the client is in full compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Protecting both the applicant and the employer and/or property manager.
In addition, we can create one-click custom ordering packages to fit each of our client’s needs.