Learn how to hire a reliable contractor

A guide to certified contractor checks

Contractors provide invaluable services many organizations lack the time or resources to do themselves. They can bring buildings up to code, install new hardware, offer technology support and much more. Organizations may also rely on contractors to upgrade facilities or keep them running efficiently. But how do you learn to hire a reliable contractor?

While most organizations run background checks on employees, few screen the contractors they hire. The contractors may be checked by the company they work for, but their standards may not align with your organization’s standards. This means you may be giving a contractor access to your property and information without knowing if they can be trusted with access.

Fortunately, there are several ways to ensure your organization hires trustworthy contractors. Take the following steps to avoid scams, protect your organization and learn how to hire a reliable contractor. 

Research potential contractor firms

Before you decide which contracting firm will suit your organization’s needs, look up the best contractors in your area and compare them. There are websites where people can candidly review and rate contractors. If you notice certain firms have patterns of reviewers complaining or accusing them of scams, you should take that firm out of consideration.

It also helps to ask colleagues and friends for referrals, so you get a firsthand understanding of how a firm works. The best contractors often arise through word of mouth, but that does not mean they are infallible. You should check a firm’s history, licensing and qualifications before you select them.

Ask your contractor plenty of questions

Develop a shortlist of contracting firms and contact each for a quote on the cost of your project. You can gain further information about their processes to help you make an informed decision.

Ask each firm about their experience on projects similar to yours and request a list of references. They should be able to give you examples of recent clients who were satisfied with their work, the reliability of the workers and the cost efficiency.

You should also clarify if your project will require any permits and make sure the contractors will get those permits before they start working. On top of permits, contractors should have personal liability, workers’ compensation and property damage insurance so you will not be held liable for any damages or injuries.

Screen the contractors you choose

Once you have settled on a contracting firm, check the backgrounds of the contractors before you officially hire them. One Source offers a simple screening process that lets you know whether a contractor is eligible to access your site.

We perform our rigorous TotalCheck Plus screening, check our certified contractor requirements and then tell you if a contractor “meets requirements” or “does not meet requirements.”

Our One Source Certified Contractor guidelines ensure contractors are compliant with our checks. Plus, it’ll ensure they have no felony or misdemeanor convictions and a negative drug test. When you receive the check’s results, you can then hire your contractors and begin your project. And just like that, you learn how to hire a reliable contractor. 

To discover more about One Source Certified Contractor checks, contact One Source Client Relations.

Does your organization need a background check process?

Many organizations run screenings on potential volunteers, but some may find the idea of formalizing their organization’s background check process daunting. However, a formal volunteer background check protocol can make recruitment easy, safe and efficient. So, if you are unsure whether your organization needs to develop a background check process, answer these eight questions to find out.

1. Are you expanding your volunteer base?

Growing organizations must gain the loyalty of new volunteers to continue their efforts. However, more of them bring a higher-liability risk. You can expand your volunteer base with confidence by screening applicants and verifying their skills.

2. Are you trying to develop a trustworthy brand?

By cultivating a culture of honesty and responsibility, volunteers and donors will be drawn to your organization’s strong reputation. Background checks can help ensure that you choose volunteers that will uphold your organization’s values. Therefore, volunteers can be your greatest advocates if they represent your brand with reliability and respect.

3. Do you want to reduce turnover?

Minimizing turnover allows you to spend less time training new volunteers and more time fostering a positive environment for volunteers and those you serve. Build a strong core of consistent volunteers by authenticating their backgrounds and aligning them with your goals and ideals.

4. Are you looking for volunteers that will advocate for you?

Volunteers can carry a lot of weight for an organization, and some even rely on volunteers to run their day-to-day operations, promote their mission and recruit future volunteers. Therefore, those organizations must place their trust in volunteers to further their ambitions. So, background screenings can help you choose the volunteers who will advocate for you and stay dedicated to you.

5. Do you need to verify volunteers’ qualifications?

Some volunteer positions require prior training, education or knowledge. Before you send volunteers out into the field, you can get peace of mind by checking that their background is legitimate. Through a background screening, you can make sure your volunteers have all the qualifications they need to fulfill your mission.

6. Does your organization require skills that must be certified?

If your volunteers need to drive, operate machinery or perform any certifiable task while working for you, it is in your best interest to verify their abilities. Background checks can report on driving records and confirm all certifications. You can keep your volunteers and your community safe by making these checks a standard part of your recruitment process.

7. Do you want to avoid negligence claims?

While organizations do everything in their power to avoid issues, nothing can prevent all problems. So, should any problem arise, you can protect your organization from legal claims by performing background checks. Hence, screening all volunteers proves that your organization did its due diligence to maintain a safe environment.

8. Can your volunteers’ integrity affect your bottom line?

Your volunteers can be the face of your organization, and those in your community who interact with them should feel respected and uplifted. If just one volunteer leaves someone with a negative impression of your organization, it can throw you off course. So, to maintain your brand and character, screen volunteers and choose those who will live your principles.

In order to learn more about volunteer background checks or start your background check process, contact One Source Client Relations.

A beginner’s guide to completing background checks

You found the best applicants. What’s next?

Growing businesses often reach a point where their workload exceeds the time of their staff. When that point approaches, managers must consider recruiting and hiring new team members to meet the rising demand.

Growth opportunities are an exciting sign of progress, but expansion comes with responsibilities and potential liabilities. Minimize risk and hire with confidence by running background checks on your job applicants as part of your hiring process.

If you are new to background check procedures, follow this beginner’s guide to completing background checks. Then, we will help you establish an efficient, transparent process for screening your new employees.

Choose a background check agency

No matter the needs of your company, your hiring team can benefit from a partnership with a background check agency. Companies that specialize in background checks offer unique resources and insights to guide you through the entire screening process. Build a relationship with an agency early in your company’s life to set a solid foundation for future hiring.

Your screening agency should be compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), offer accessible and responsive customer support, customize its services to your needs and provide cost-effective and timely reports.

Explain your screening process to candidates

The FCRA and screening best practices oblige you to maintain transparency with applicants. Before you begin screenings, clarify to candidates why a background check is necessary and how the report can affect their employment.

You and your background check agency will set packages and searches based on your needs and industry. You will then establish an employment policy and guidelines for your screening process. Make these guidelines available to potential applicants so they can decide whether or not to pursue a position. When applicants are aware of the potential consequences of their reports, give them an FCRA-required consent form that they must sign for you to proceed with screenings.

Gather information from applicants

Once candidates know how you will use their report and submit their signed consent form, your background check agency may begin searching their records. Most agencies will check local, state and national criminal records, sex-offender registries, watchlists and identity verification records. The more information about your applicants you can provide to your agency, the more comprehensive and accurate the reports will be.

A full name, a Social Security number and a birthdate can be enough information for a basic background check. However, to get more specific results and maximize accuracy, it can be helpful to provide a current address. Driver’s license numbers or passport numbers may be also required for driving record checks or international watchlist checks.

Review and interpret the report

Your background check agency will present you with their findings and should be available to answer any of your questions about the contents of the reports. As you review their results, refer to the guidelines and employment policy. Your company established for acceptable background reports to stay aligned with your requirements.

If the results of an applicant’s report are the reason you choose not to hire them, you must notify them and explain how the report influenced your decision. At that point,  they will have an opportunity to dispute the report before you move forward with your remaining applicants.

With that, you now have your beginner’s guide to completing background checks. Now what?

To kick off your background check process, contact One Source Client Relations and start hiring with confidence.

How far back does a background check report?

FAQs about the background check process

Background checks are common for volunteer organizations and nearly universal for employers. The vast majority of job seekers will go through the background check process several times through their career. However, few people ever see the results of their reports or know how reports can influence hiring decisions.

Below are some frequently asked questions about the behind-the-scenes of background screenings, so you can be prepared for your next job or volunteer application.

How far back does a background check report?

To provide a comprehensive report, One Source looks back as far as each county allows. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) does not restrict the time frame that can be searched for criminal convictions. Many background check companies do not search further back than seven years, but One Source searches further back whenever possible. By searching an extended period of time, One Source can report felonies and dangerous crimes that may not appear in a seven-year check.

Some states have their own guidelines that may prevent extended background checks, but One Source will report as much information as possible. If you would like to check a limited amount of time, One Source also has options for seven-year and 10-year checks.

Where is the information in a report found?

Background check agencies draw from numerous databases and court records to complete a screening. One Source searches public records including the Death Master Index and residential records to verify identities. Basic screenings also include checks of county, state and nationwide criminal records as well as the National Sex Offender Registry and global watchlists. Based on an organization’s specific needs, One Source can include additional checks such as driver history, professional license verification, drug testing and more.

How do background check companies make sure information is accurate?

To ensure a more complete and accurate report, provide background check agencies with as much identification information as you can. One Source needs a full name and a full birthdate to verify criminal case information. A Social Security number, an address and a driver’s license number will also help further authenticate records.

The FCRA requires screening companies do everything they can to “assure maximum possible accuracy” in their reports. One Source uses several trusted, verified databases and proven processes so you and the organizations you work with can have peace of mind.

Can I get a copy of my background check report?

Yes. If an organization runs a check on you, you are always able to request access to the report. You may ask the organization ordering the screening to send you a copy of the report or you can contact the background check agency directly. Contact One Source Client Relations to learn more about how you can receive a copy of your report.

Can I contest the results of my report?

Under the FCRA, the subject of a screening has the right to know what is in their report, and the right to amend any incorrect information. While One Source does everything in its power to provide accurate reports, you are free to contest the contents of your report at any time. Therefore, a background check agency must investigate a claim of false information within 30 days. If an organization takes adverse action against you based on incorrect data, notify the screening agency as quickly as possible.

To learn more about the background check process, request a report or contest a report, contact One Source Client Relations.

What background checks do — and don’t — include

Hiring new employees is a fantastic opportunity for your business or organization to gain fresh knowledge and skills. However, the hiring process always contains an element of risk. Background checking your applicants serves as the best way to mitigate risk and ensure you find the best people. But what do background checks include?

To expedite your background screening process, it helps to understand what information you will receive in a background report. Once you know what to expect, it is easier to interpret reports and recognize if you need extra information.

One Source runs screenings through its unique TotalCheck packages. This comprehensive screening system is tailored to your company’s needs and your industry’s regulations. No matter your needs, TotalCheck always includes all the necessary parts of a common background check. Let’s take a look at what background checks do — and don’t include.

What’s in a background check?

A TotalCheck background report is comprised of six essential searches to give you peace of mind when hiring. These searches include:

Applicant History Trace

This search ensures your applicants are who they say they are. TotalCheck examines public records to verify an applicant’s identity and residential history. This search also looks into potential aliases and appearances on the Death Master Index.

County/Statewide Criminal History

We look at real-time county court criminal records to report any felony and misdemeanor convictions that may not be included in broader searches. Statewide searches also can be included where available.

Multi-Court Jurisdictional Database

This is an additional criminal check that searches millions of records from across the United States. We source the records from the Department of Corrections, county courthouses, state police reports, traffic court and more.

National Sex Offender Registry

TotalCheck searches sex-offender registries from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., all U.S. territories and more than 100 tribal registries.

Global Report

We examine an extensive database of public government watchlists and federal, state and industry sanction lists. We also check new records as governments release them.

Nationwide Federal Criminal

TotalCheck cross-references the government’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) U.S. Party Case Index with the Federal Bureau of Prisons database to ensure your check is comprehensive and valid.

What’s not in a background check?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) determines what information can and cannot be included in background checks conducted by third-party agencies. The standards set by the FCRA protect applicants’ privacy rights throughout the hiring process. One Source is compliant with the FCRA, so some credit information will not be in a TotalCheck package. The FCRA prohibits background check companies from reporting the following information:

  • Bankruptcies from more than 10 years ago.
  • Civil suits, arrests or non-convictions from more than seven years ago.
  • Paid tax liens from more than seven years ago.
  • Any adverse information, excluding criminal convictions, from more than seven years ago.

To learn more about how to use background checks or to start your company’s screening process, contact One Source Client Relations.