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Common Background Screening Misconceptions

By: Vanessa Mitchell Tuesday, 25 June 2019


The background screening industry is confusing, open for interpretation, and misleading. In order to remain compliant and sustain a successful hiring program, you as an employer are responsible for staying up-to-date on the background screening industry and regulations that inevitably come with it. We pride ourselves on the fact that we work tirelessly to communicate with our clients and partners. This occurs in several different ways: The Choice Screening blog is an excellent resource for updates, news, and announcements. Follow us on social media for news worthy articles, expert tips, and more. Client newsletters and emails sent directly to your inbox includes highlights on our company and industry.

But with all of that knowledge, there are still some misconceptions regarding our industry. We would like to debunk a few of the common myths:

1: All Background Check Reports Contain the Same Information

There are a lot of background screening products available to employers – the list can get a little overwhelming. What determines the scope of your report is greatly based on the types of searches ran. For example, criminal records have the greatest number of options but have the most reporting restrictions. There are also pros and cons to consider. Wider scopes provide more information, but may take longer. Narrow searches could cost less or come back quicker, but they may omit information you would use in your employment decision.

One of our expert Sales Advisors can help you determine which products are necessary for your needs. Based on the products you need, discuss what you take into account when hiring – your preference versus what your industry requires versus what the laws permit. Bottom line is by combining broad and narrow searches, it will provide you with the best background check on your applicant.

2: Background Checks Are Too Expensive

Background screening is a necessity in order to remain compliant and to safeguard your company, employees and those you serve. A comprehensive background check doesn’t have to break the bank, but a good reminder when determining your budget is: You Get What You Pay For! The lowest price isn’t always necessarily the best route especially when it comes to Background Screening because it may not contain all of the information you require in order to make an informed decision on your applicant.

Several factors could impact the cost of each search including applicant demographics. If your applicants are from New York, NY, you will frequently pay one of the most expensive court fees in the US. Similarly, if your applicants tend to live outside the US, you may run into frequent international searches. Take into account your applicant pool and general demographics so varying costs don’t surprise you.

Need to be budget conscious? Here’s a PRO TIP: Structure your background checks into phases. In phase 1 start with education and employer verifications after your first interview. Then, in phase 2, once an offer is made, expand your search to include criminal, medical license restrictions, drug and alcohol screening, etc.

Know what you’re running, why the search satisfies your need, and what gaps might exist. If saving $10 leaves holes in your information, it could be more expensive in the long run (due to defending a negligent hire or non-compliance with industry regulations).

3: Permissible Purpose Is Only Required for Credit Checks

Most people understand the FCRA requires permissible purpose when performing credit reports, bankruptcy, liens & judgment searches. But, in fact all portions of a background checks require permissible purpose. A list of Permissible Purposes can be found in Section 604 of the FCRA.

A consent form is required prior to running background checks. Choice Screening’s online consent form is easy-to-use and compliant! Ensure you are compliant with all local, state, and federal laws prior to performing a background check.

4: Background Checks Take A Long Time

Yes, there are a few products that may require more time such as: International Criminal Searches in some countries, an occasional verification (possibly due to the school being closed for the summer), or a drug test that has been sent off to MRO Review. However, 90% of the time background checks take 24-72 hours, most take 48 hours, but Choice Screening researchers are constantly striving for quick and accurate turnaround times. In short, if you are waiting longer than 72 hours for a check without an explanation, you are partnering with the wrong CRA.

5: There is No Action Required after Disqualifying a Candidate

This is an extremely important myth to debunk. In fact, there are steps you as an employer need to take in order to remain compliant when disqualifying a candidate based on a background check report. This process is called: Adverse Action and it requires multiple stages and paperwork according to federal and state laws. Choice Screening offers Adverse Action Letter services to our clients to help you remain compliant.

Final Note

As a consumer reporting agency, we are not allowed to offer legal advice. We strongly recommend you review your procedures with a qualified employment attorney. It is considered a best practice to review your background screening policy on a regular basis. This will ensure you are aware of new regulations and laws as well as find any gaps in your program. Need assistance? Contact Us

Topics: Background Check, Compliance, Best Practices, Industry Resources

Vanessa Mitchell

Vanessa Mitchell

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