With security issues being one of the main concerns in almost every industry today, the need for a company background screening service has become essential. Background checks help organizations manage risk by offering the needed information about those involved with the business.
A company may need a new vendor to join their business or hire a new employee to handle critical tasks in the organization. Whatever the reason may be, not knowing the person’s background like their educational history, employment history, criminal history, and so on can bring up issues in the future. Without a thorough background check, if one of the people or vendors hired by the company does something which harm a customer or the company, it would bring in lawsuits and penalties for the company.
Company Background Screening
To put it simply, a company background screening is a comprehensive review of an organization or a person’s financial records, commercial records, criminal records, and other areas. These background check companies would give you all the information about the person you are hiring or the company you are about to get into business with.
Why is Background Verification Needed?
Here are some of the reasons why your company needs to get a company background screening service:
- It helps you learn about the person’s or organization’s criminal history, that is, if they have any. You wouldn’t want someone involved in criminal activity in your company, so this check would help you filter out those people.
- It helps you avoid liabilities. For instance, if you hire a driver who gets into an accident due to driving under the influence, and after the police check they find out that he has already had 5 DUIs in the past. Since you did not get a background check done, there are chances that you will be liable due negligence.
- It helps you make your workplace safer. Some people interviewing for the job could be violent criminals, have an aggressive background, or be sex offenders. Hiring such people can be a high risk for your employees and your company. And by not getting a background check done, you will not know if the person has any such negative history. When something wrong happens, you and your company would be held accountable.
- Being an employer, you would also want to verify the job applicant’s claims of their educational and job history.
- In the end, it helps you have peace of mind about your decision. You will know that the person selected to join your company isn’t going to be a risk for your business and its employees.
Choosing Right Background Checking Provider
As the background screening activities are regulated by state and federal law, and since it has a critical impact on the hiring process, using just any company background screening service isn’t a good idea. In fact, here are some of the many reasons why you need to select the right and best company screening services for your organization:
- It would help if you had a provider who comprehends all the complexities of a background screening, including the various regulations and laws that govern how they are used.
- The provider should be able to offer honest advice and reporting, which would help you navigate regulatory compliance issues affecting your organization and industry.
- The provider should be able to offer you quality background checks at a great value, which fits your budget.
Tips for selecting the right background screening provider
Here are the best practices that will help you determine which company screening services are worth your money:
#1 Identify the service you need and check if it matches with the service provider capabilities
Find out if the vendor offers complete company screening services that would meet your company’s needs. Check if the services include the following:
- Identity verification, fingerprint, social security trace, etc.;
- Federal, state, local criminal and civil background checks, including felonies, warrants, and misdemeanors;
- Electronic form I-9 services;
- Credit history, within legal guidelines;
- Terrorist watch lists;
- Sexual offender searches;
- Employment verifications and reference checks;
- Motor vehicle records;
- Professional license, education, and credential verifications; and
- Federal and state litigation history.
It is also important to note if the vendor can get the needed information directly from the appropriate databases or courthouses for the background check. The provider should also be able to meet your required turnaround time. These background verification companies should also have the needed tools and technology to help you get accurate results. In short, check if they have a proper internet connection, along with a secure electronic file transfer tool, fax, email, or interactive voice response.
For educational verification, does the provider also verify the institution’s legitimacy who granted the degree. Other than that, you should also check if these background check companies are certified and licensed to offer the services. They should have a demonstrated process in place to show you and explain how things work. Ask them if they have a record of how often the databases are updated. The company background screening service provider should help you develop an effective background screening policy or editing the one you have, based on your needs.
The provider should be able to give you projected hit rates of what you can expect based on your industry, nature of the jobs you recruit for, and geographic scope of your recruiting for the following:
- Resume verification discrepancy rate;
- Dispute rate (discrepancy with reported information); and
- Criminal background.
#2 Check certifications and legal compliances
It is important to have the provider verify their compliance with all the applicable local, state, and federal discrimination, privacy protection, consumer reporting, data destruction, and other governing laws. Verify that they have written procedures to make sure all the information given to you will comply with the law, such as the sealed or expunged records, arrest records, etc. They should also give you the FCRA forms, training, and procedure on how to use them properly when needed.
Check if the provider has a proper process to monitor all those who provide the information to ensure that they follow the needed policies and procedures. Also, ensure that the provider’s employees who handle all the data have signed a confidential agreement not to leak any data. The provider should also have a written policy and procedure that states the process to use when an adverse criminal record is obtained that complies with the FCRA. It should include reverifying the information and notifying the government authorities about it.
Does the provider have a written policy that details how they investigate and certify all their employers are legitimate and work legitimately as per the laws of the FCRA? You also need to check their policy to see if it affirms that all the information will be given to the authorized representative of your firm as per the laws of FCRA. They should also update you about any updates in the legal requirements at the federal, state, and local levels.
Find out if the firm is facing any active claims at the moment, or are they reliable in their business practices. If the provider is conducting background checks in foreign countries, ensure that they are following those country’s rules in getting the information.
#3 Check their policies and procedures
The provider should be able to certify that their staff, temporary, part-time, and regular, have been criminally screened during the hire and are consistently screened to ensure that they are legit. They should have a written policy for a situation where they need to avoid contacting a current employer if the applicant has requested not to do so. It is also important to check their policy about making employment verification calls to verify the number of times the provider will attempt before closing the search and ensures that it meets your requirements.
#4 Check their technology
The provider should have an interface with your HRIS or Applicant Tracking System (ATS) so that information can flow in and out of your HR’s office easily and securely. If the provider has the ability to create a smart system for you, it will help make HR’s work easier.
#5 Data protection, privacy, and security measures
Determine if the company background screening service provider has a written information security policy that strictly follows the best practices and offers a high data protection level. The policy should address the following at a minimum:
- Details the reason to gather personal information of applicants or companies;
- The intend to use the data, and how the information will be stored, destroyed, or used;
- Identifies a specific position or person/persons that is responsible for implementing, managing, and enforcing the information security policy; and
- Creates an audit trail of who has accessed information and has a procedure to detect, respond and investigate intrusions.
Make your information technology staff verify the provider and their staff who are liable for processing the identifiable information. Find out if they are liable or not. Let the IT team closely scrutinize data security processes for communicating and securing data. Verify all the written policies that exist for the providers. Ask the provider to share verifying data protection procedures that are being followed, or they should allow their process to be audited.
#6 Quality assurance
Determine if the company screening services provider has a documented quality assurance policy and on-going process to ensure that they maintain the highest report accuracy. Find out if the provider has had their processes audited by an external organization and if they have frequent audits or not. Ask them about the anti-fraud steps they take to reduce the risk created by bogus references, fake resume firms, diploma mills, etc.
Get your CPA to review the financial stability of the provider. Check if they have Errors & Omissions insurance or self-insurance that meets your company’s needs. Ask them to disclose any previous litigation in the last five years. Examine all the costs associated with the various services they offer. Ensure it is worth it, and they are offering the best of the company screening services.
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