With some recent law suits filed against background check companies, it’s important to scrutinize the quality of the vendor you select to conduct your employee background check services. Some companies may provide you with reports that have not adequately been matched against the applicant’s personal information. This can be the case when companies use various databases which often do not provide an exact match of the individual by name or date of birth.
State criminal databases should be used with caution. A statewide search conducted in California will yield next to nothing of substance, due to the fact that the majority of the 58 counties do not report case information. If your conducting Texas background checks, only 60 % of counties report to the state criminal database, according to a study conducted by the Criminal Justice Policy Council. However, in Colorado the state database is comprehensive. Bottom line, coverage varies state to state.
The term “National” is a bit of a misnomer in terms of a national criminal search. This must not be confused with the National Crime Information Center index which is only available to law enforcement. The publically available national database search simply is not complete by itself. This is not to say the database has no significance – since it indexes over 200 million records. It certainly allows you to cast a wider net and can often return records you may have otherwise not found.
It’s important that you implement a comprehensive background screening program and part of this process means, carefully evaluating a vendor. Here are some important considerations you must look at.
- State laws concerning what is deemed reportable vary within a criminal background check. Is the background check company familiar with your state?
- Do the report results clearly match the applicant by name and date of birth?
- Is their staff competent and do they have an understanding of the various criminal courts?
- Are they well versed in the Federal Credit Reporting Act, and equally as important, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission?
- Does your vendor have a liability insurance policy that covers potential errors made during the course of an employment background screening?
These are just a handful of things you need to consider when evaluating a company to perform criminal background checks. A good company should be able to easily answer these questions.