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10 Commandments of Background Screening

By: Vanessa Mitchell Tuesday, 5 February 2019


10 Commandments

1. Thou Shall Provide Complete and Correct Applicant Information

When running background checks, each piece of applicant information is valuable to our researchers. Courts differ in which identifiers they use; so the more information you provide, the better your background check results will be.


  • Use full legal name, including middle name and hyphenations
  • Provide SSN when necessary
  • Provide DOB
  • Provide current address
  • Use alias names including those uncovered in SSN Verifications

Typos are the number one reason that criminal records are missed or incomplete, and also impact turnaround time of the background screen. Be sure all information provided is 100% accurate. If you notice a typo – contact us right away! (Don’t you like it when great service is so simple?)


2. Thou Shall Run a Comprehensive Background Check

Generally, a comprehensive background check consists of three primary areas:

The most comprehensive criminal background screening includes broad and narrow jurisdiction searches, are based on address history and an alias name search. It also adheres to local and federal compliance regulations, includes customized searches for job position as well as industry.


  • Create customizable packages with your account executive
  • Review our full suite of services and speak with your Dedicated Account Executive to ensure you are performing a comprehensive background check.


3. Thou Shall Maintain a Background Screening Knowledge.

Easily maintain your background screening product knowledge with Choice Screening. We know that over time, specifics about your background screening services can get lost in the mix. We have the answers you need so you know what you’re running, why, and what results you can expect.


  • Read your emails! From time to time, we will send an email with important industry updates.
  • Subscribe to our blog. Industry specific blogs as well as Choice Screening news will be posted.
  • Follow us on Social Media. We update social daily with a host of information, including industry specific articles, blog alerts, entertaining content, and more!

Still have questions? Leverage the knowledge of our Compliance Director, Dedicated Account Executives, and Research Team.


4. Thou Shall Use a Compliant Consent Form

Choice Screening provides a FCRA-compliant, general-use purpose Consent Form, complimentary to our clients. The applicant enters their own information which automatically prepopulates the background check. This reduces the number of error submissions, as well as, increasing efficiency for the employer. Another benefit, is the consent form is kept in the background report and is readily available to our research team while performing the background check.

Our form is maintained by our Compliance Director; however, limitations do exist. A Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) supplied Consent Form cannot cover every single law throughout the US. In doing so, it would inadvertently make employers vulnerable to violations, for example including erroneous information from California to applicants outside California, or making applicants receive NY Article 23-A when it’s not required.


  • Check local regulations for background check consent forms.
  • Contact an employment attorney for confirmation of a compliant consent form.


5. Thou Shall Abide by Adverse Action

The FCRA specifically outlines three goals for the adverse action process:

  • Inform the applicant of their rights under the FCRA.
  • Ensure the applicant knows adverse action was taken based all or in part on the results of a background report
  • Allow the applicant to review the background report and dispute any inaccuracies

The Adverse Action Process has three stages:

  • Pre-Adverse Action Letter
  • Waiting
  • Post-Adverse Action Letter


  • Choice Screening is proud to offer adverse action letter services to our clients.
  • Don’t want to spend hours sifting through FCRA jargon? Check out this blog for an overview.


6. Thou Shall Be Familiar With Industry Regulations: EEOC, FTC, FCRA.

Our Compliance Director tirelessly works at helping our clients remain compliant throughout the hiring process. In addition to leveraging our knowledge, review federal and local laws and regulations regularly, fully train your staff, and maintain clearly written policies. For a full list of compliance links, click here.


7. Thou Shall Provide the Applicant With Their Report Upon Request

According to the FCRA, your applicant is entitled to a copy of their background report when requested. Withholding or refusing to provide someone a copy of their background results not only violates this law but prohibits them from the ability to file a dispute, another FCRA right.


8. Thou Shall Properly Handle Disputes

Here’s a summary of the Dispute and Reinvestigation process:

  • Your applicant informs you about a discrepancy on their report.
  • Provide your applicant with the Dispute Form and tell them to be as detailed as possible and provide documentation if available.
  • Your applicant will send Choice Screening their completed and signed Dispute Form, initiating the dispute process.
  • Once received, Choice Screening’s researchers will begin investigating the items identified as incorrect by the applicant. Reinvestigation research can take approximately 1-4 weeks.
  • After our researchers complete their reinvestigation, we send you and your applicant a copy of the report.


9. Thou Shall Background Check for the Position, Not for the Individual

Different positions often times require different background check services. For example, a sex offender search is appropriate for a church volunteer, whereas a medical registry search is appropriate for a travel nurse. Select background check services based on what pertains to the job; as long as you run the same services for every applicant interviewing for that same job.

Please note: if you run alias name searches on female applicants (because of maiden names), you must run alias names on all male applicants. Click here for more information on avoiding discrimination when selecting and background checking applicants.


  • Create customizable packages for specific jobs
  • Refresh your memory on discrimination and protected classes with the EEOC Enforcement Guide


10. Thou Shall Partner With Choice Screening to Fulfill All These Commandments…and More!

When you partner with Choice Screening you gain much more than just a background screening provider. We offer industry leading products: comprehensive criminal and civil background screening, drug and alcohol testing, healthcare regulatory screening, Form I-9 management tool, and much more.

But, what makes The Choice Difference is our expertise and experience. Not all background checks are created equal and often times businesses are misinformed on what products they are actually receiving. Our dedicated account executives will coach you through your options ultimately meeting your goals.

We take the time to educate our partners on the constantly changing industry regulations in order to maintain compliance and mitigate risk.


One final note, this blog is not all-inclusive. We cannot act as your attorney, so make sure you’re consulting with a qualified employment attorney. We can talk to you about your background checks and possibly identify vulnerabilities. There is always room to improve. If you’d like a further in-depth conversation, Contact Us!

Topics: Comprehensive, Background Screening, Employee Background Check, Background Check, Criminal Background Checks, EEOC, Recruiting, HR, Compliance, Choice Screening, Employment Background Screening, Best Practices, How To, Hiring, Pre-employment Screening, Adverse Action, News, Dispute, FCRA, Industry Resources, Staffing

Vanessa Mitchell

Vanessa Mitchell

Passionate blogger dedicated to making your life easier when it comes to background screening.