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Recognizing and minimizing hiring bias with background checks

Despite advances in equitable hiring practices over the past several years, unconscious biases still cloud otherwise impartial judgement. Unconscious biases—the automatic, unintentional, learned stereotypes we use to form impressions of new people and environments—are not always benign. However, everyone has them and everyone can learn to recognize them. We’re here to help you recognize and reduce hiring bias at your company.

First impressions are important in the hiring process, but unconscious biases can incorrectly shape those initial meetings by recognizing your biases and taking measures to promote neutrality in your hiring, you can create an equitable system that ensures you’ll find the best candidate. Background checks and smart hiring practices are effective ways to minimize biases. Let’s dive into a few screening methods you can implement to make your hiring unbiased and successful.

Partner with a screening agency.

Sometimes it can be tricky to decipher what the information in a background report means. Your interpretation of a report might not be completely correct, leaving you with an impression of a candidate that doesn’t reflect who they are.

Professional background check agencies have years of expertise to help you understand what background reports really mean. When you partner with a company like One Source, you get help interpreting reports and developing a consistent approach to all background checks. Working with professionals removes misinterpretation and error that could skew your view of a candidate and harm your hiring.

Thoroughly write job descriptions.

Clear and thorough job descriptions aren’t only helpful for attracting the best candidates, they allow your hiring managers to make choices based on facts instead of assumptions. Include a full list of skills, job expectations, professional background needs and other elements of the position.

Be sure your description is clear of any words that could be associated with a gender, race, age, group or any other identifier. Run your description by your human resources team before you post the job to ensure it meets all expectations.

Customize your screening scope

After you have a job description and employment policy in place, make sure that you are screening the correct scope. The depth and width of the package you are screening with are two things to consider when creating your process.

How many years of names and addresses do you wish to search? The Federal Government typically searches seven years, making it the industry standard, however you can customize to five or even ten years.

How far back you want to search in each location? Many jurisdictions allow you to search at minimum seven years from the final disposition. Other jurisdictions have information back indefinitely. Do you only wat to see a certain scope? If so, work with your screening partner to customize you scope to fit your organization and industry.

At One Source, we want to help you make the best hiring decisions for your company. We’ll work with you to help you navigate background checks fairly and accurately. Contact One Source Client Relations team today to learn more about our screening services.

New Compliance Laws You Should Know in 2020

If you haven’t been staying up to date on new compliance laws over the past few months, we can’t blame you. Every aspect of life has been altered by the pandemic, and your top priority should be the health and safety of your family, employees and customers.

One Source is here to support you through difficult times and update you on new compliance laws that may impact your organization. Regardless of whether your company is hiring right now, these new compliance laws will likely affect you down the road.  So it’s best to stay one step ahead and be prepared when your business is ready to hire again. Here are some of the most important state and federal regulations about screening and hiring that have been passed in recent months.

The Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act

This federal law goes into effect in December 2021. It declares federal agencies (all departments and offices within the federal government) cannot request a criminal background check until a conditional job offer has been extended to an applicant.

Law enforcement agencies and positions with access to classified national security information are exempt from this law. This law only applies to government agencies, not private businesses. It is a version of a “ban the box” law that delays a criminal background check until much later in the hiring process.

Updated Form I-9

Every employer in the U.S. must complete a Form I-9 for each person they hire. Form I-9, used to verify an employee’s identity and employment authorization, is an important, routine part of the hiring process. 

The U.S. Citizen & Immigration Services agency released an update to the I-9 in October 2019, and the updated version became mandatory on May 1, 2020. You can visit the UCIS website to learn more about the changes to the I-9.

Drug Screening in New York City and Nevada

A new law went into effect in New York City on May 10, 2020, banning marijuana testing from pre-employment drug tests. Some jobs are excluded from this rule, especially jobs with safety requirements. If an employer screens a candidate for marijuana against this new law, the employer will be charged with discrimination.

Additionally, a new law went into effect January 1, 2020 in Nevada. This law prohibits employers from taking adverse action against applicants who test positive for marijuana. Employers can still test applicants for marijuana, but they cannot take adverse action based on a positive test result alone.

New Jersey Salary History Ban

Private employers in New Jersey can no longer inquire about their applicants’ salary history, past benefits or any other past compensation. This law was enacted January 1, 2020. The Salary History Ban is meant to encourage employers to pay new employees what they think their position is worth without context from an employee’s previous positions. Salary history bans attempt to address gender pay gaps by putting all applicants on an even playing field. Employers in New Jersey should work with their credit reporting agency to make sure salary history is not part of their employment verification reports.

Regulations and expectations in the hiring world continue to evolve. As the landscape of hiring changes, One Source stays on the cutting edge to help you make your best hiring choices. Contact One Source Client Relations today to learn how we can assist your hiring team.

Can I ever run a background check without permission?

The reasons to run a background check—and contexts in which you could need a background report are numerous: You may need a report ASAP. You may be running a check outside a formal hiring process. You may need a large number of reports completed at once.

Under a time constraint and without the strict rules of a hiring process, you might wonder whether it’s necessary to get the subject’s permission to run a screening. Technically, if you have someone’s full name, you could run a background check on them without their knowledge. However, that doesn’t mean you should. Ethically—and often legally—you should always obtain permission before screening anyone.

So the short answer is no, you can’t run a background check without permission. Screening ethics aren’t quite that simple though. Background checks in personal and professional settings have different expectations. Let’s dive into the rules, expectations and potential consequences of running background checks in different contexts so you can decide what makes the most sense for you.

Background checks in larger organizations.

If you are a landlord or an employer that hires frequently, you likely run background checks on your applicants to help you decide who to hire or rent to. In organizations with a full HR department, things are a bit different. You have employment policies and all the disclosure and authorization forms you need to properly run a pre-employment background check. But there are legal obligations for organizations that perform a lot of screenings that require consistent care, and you shouldn’t go it alone.

The information you gather from consumer reports has a direct impact on someone’s future, so you must abide by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA protects applicants with specific rights through the entire background check process. The law requires you to get their approval to run a consumer report—and they have the right to dispute that information.

No organization or landlord should ever disregard the FCRA. Those who do can end up in serious legal trouble like image-damaging class action lawsuits. A screening partner like One Source can help guide you through the FCRA with ease and make screening a simple and clear process. Often, credit reporting agencies (CRA) will provide you with an FCRA disclosure and authorization form as well as a sample policies and procedures to help you start. You don’t want to start off on the wrong foot by running a background check without permission. 

Background checks on a smaller scale.

Not everyone who runs a background check hires frequently or has an HR department. Smaller organizations that handle professional hiring may only need to run one or two background checks. Or you may be an individual wanting to run a report on just yourself. 

Even if you don’t hire frequently, that does not mean you shouldn’t inform those that you intend to screen. You should still have an employment policy in place and treat each new hire for similar positions equally. If you decide to utilize a CRA for this type of background check, then you will need to follow the FCRA requirements.

One Source can help with screenings on a smaller scale with our specializations in screenings for contractors and contingent works. If you want someone to do work on your office or rental home, you can screen them under the permissible purpose of site access. While you could look up the contractor online for reviews of their work, you can get a professional report on their background by utilizing a CRA. In order to do that, you must inform them of your intent to screen. Once again, you must not run a background check without permission.

At One Source, we help you see how the FCRA and screening ethics fit into your background check needs. Contact our Client Relations team today to see what screening options are best for you.

The state of the screening industry during the pandemic

While the current COVID-19 crisis and efforts to contain it have brought several industries to a halt, some businesses find themselves urgently in need of more team members. The healthcare and supply chain industries are working nonstop to fulfill the demands of sick and social-distancing populations. The screening industry has become more important than ever to these industries that are experiencing a spike in demand.

The industries with high demand have to hire new workers quickly. However, that doesn’t mean proper hiring protocols can be pushed aside.  Different security risks have arisen from having an entirely remote staff.

Background checks and monitoring are still necessary—even as the landscape of hiring changes. One Source is still here to serve your screening needs, and we’ll be totally transparent about ways COVID-19 has impacted the screening industry.

One Source Background Check’s COVID-19 protocols.

We created processes to keep our operations as normal as possible while prioritizing our team’s safety when we realized social distancing and stay-at-home orders were on the horizon for our clients.

Certain office closures around the country and the world will cause delays as we gather information for your reports. Some aspects of background checks that may be delayed across the entire screening industry include:

  • Court Records. We can process record requests in about 90 percent of U.S. counties at the moment. Many courts have ways to access records electronically. We will experience some delay for county courts that don’t have electronic records and are closed due to the pandemic.
  • Drug and Alcohol Testing. Some clinics in the U.S. are not open to those without respiratory symptoms. Some clinics are entirely closed. However, only 8 percent of the clinics in One Source’s network are currently closed. Double check with your local clinics to make sure they’re available for testing.
  • Education and Employment Verification. It may take longer to process verification requests due to some schools and organizations being closed right now.
  • International Criminal Records. Closures worldwide can slow processes and delay record requests.

Despite potential delays, we will still provide your reports on time and clearly mark if any parts are incomplete. You can see our entire COVID-19 process at the link at the top of our homepage.

Considerations for your own screening process.

You may be considering loosening some of your screening processes so you can hire faster if your demand for employees has increased. However, consider how the changes will affect your business down the road before you change your procedures.

For example, a business could choose to temporarily suspend criminal record checks to expedite hiring—a choice with potential negligent hiring and civil rights legal consequences.

Hiring without screening opens the door to negligent hiring charges. And if that business decides to reinstate criminal record checks, future hires could claim that criminal screenings were never necessary to the business and are a form of discrimination.

While we’re all taking this pandemic day by day, businesses do still need to plan ahead and consider the future of their workforce. Background checks play a big role in building a strong, consistent team and they shouldn’t be reduced for temporary circumstances.

To learn more about One Source’s COVID-19 response and how we can help your organization through,  Contact the One Source Client Relations 

Answering all of your Fair Credit Reporting Act and adverse action FAQs

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) guides the background check process for employers and offers privileges and rights to the candidates who undergo screenings. Following the FCRA is essential for any hiring team, especially when it comes to adverse action, which is the process of removing an applicant from consideration due to screening report results.

Complex and important aspects of the background check process, both the FCRA and adverse action can raise plenty of questions for employers. One Source’s team can guide you through the FCRA and answer any questions about adverse action. Below we have discussed some frequently asked questions.

How long do I have to wait to remove an applicant from consideration after I notify them of my intent to take adverse action?

Once you decide to take adverse action against an applicant, you must notify them of your decision and the specific parts of their report led to your choice. You must then put any further actions on hold to give the applicant the opportunity to dispute their report. Generally, you must wait five business days before sending a final notice. The waiting period can vary by state, though, so be sure to check with your background check agency.

What if a candidate declines to consent to a background check?

If screenings are one of your company’s requirements for employment, then refusal to participate in a screening would disqualify them. However, the FCRA does not apply to applicants who don’t want to be screened. By refusing a background check, they waive their FCRA rights. Therefore you can remove them from consideration without taking adverse action.

Do I have to follow adverse action with contractors and volunteers?

Yes. Contingent employees and volunteers are protected by the FCRA, so you must follow FCRA guidelines in order to remove them from your recruitment process. There are several functions to which FCRA applies, including contractors, and volunteers. 

What if the information we are basing adverse action on is vague?

Sometimes, a criminal record won’t provide much context to a charge, so you’ll have to take adverse action without a full understanding of how an applicant got a criminal record. That’s why it’s required to wait several business days before you can finalize adverse action. You leave space for an applicant to provide details about their charges or dispute their accuracy. Plus, this gives you time to consult your screening firm. They will help you decipher what the codes on a criminal record mean and explain how the record translates into actual crimes. You can then make a better judgement about whether or not to keep the applicant in consideration.

With the help of an expert screening partner like One Source, your team can navigate the FCRA with ease. Contact the One Source Client Relations team today to see how we can help you manage your hiring process.

How to maximize your investment in quality background checks

Nearly every organization hiring or recruiting volunteers utilizes background checks in some way. Applicants and employers alike often see screening as another box to check as they work toward a hiring decision. 

While the ubiquity of background checks is a great sign, many organizations don’t realize their screening process has untapped potential. Background checks drive success when done right and lead to serious difficulties when done insufficiently. 

That’s why background checks should be viewed as an investment in the future of your organization. Thorough, accurate background screenings can help you hire the best candidates with confidence—building your team with people you can trust.

Here we’ll talk about how making the most of your investment in background checks strengthens your company and how you can avoid the hidden costs of inadequate screenings.

Tailor background checks to each job description.

Background checks are an investment in your organization’s growth, so it’s worth it to put thought into how each candidate is screened. Each job description is different with varying expectations—one-size-fits-all screening just isn’t efficient for finding the best candidates.

Go through each department in your organization and determine their screening needs. Some departments may need team members to have clear driving records, while some may need certifications of specific degrees. You can then work with your background check agency to tailor screening protocols to each job opening. At One Source, we offer driving record checks, education verification and more to meet the specific needs of each of your teams. 

By putting careful thought into what each screening includes, you use your resources efficiently and cover all your bases while finding the best candidates.

Work with a screening partner.

Background check agencies offer expertise and assistance you can’t find anywhere else. If your company runs a lot of background checks, you can maximize your time and resources by hiring an agency to help you.

When you work with a partner like One Source, you get background check experts working with you to create a tailored screening policy. You’ll also get reports delivered in a clear layout that makes important information clear. To take tedious tasks like sifting through reports off your hiring team’s plate and make the most of the dollars you put toward background checks, find a screening partner.

Avoid the consequences of inadequate screening.

Organizations invest in high-quality background screenings to ensure they make positive hiring choices for the future. By finding a reputable screening partner and planning an efficient hiring process, you greatly decrease the chance of making a poor hiring choice. Hires who don’t contribute to your organization’s mission increase turnover and hinder your goals. 

The costs of a bad hire outweigh the costs of a well-planned hiring process. Your investment in screenings will ripple across your whole organization and reflect in your dedicated team. To learn more about how quality background checks can help your company, contact One Source’s Client Relations team.

How a background check company can enhance your hiring process

When you need to add another employee to your organization, it creates a lot of work and plenty to consider. You have to write the perfect job description to attract the best candidates, list the job in the right places, filter through resumes and cover letters, schedule interviews and so much more. You have to invest a lot of time and effort to find the best candidate, which can change your organization for the better. But you don’t have to do it alone. The vast majority of organizations include some form of background check for employment. This can be simple and worthwhile by partnering with a background check agency. Background check companies like One Source enhance your hiring process for and make it safer for your clients. See how background check services can streamline your hiring and help you find the ideal candidate.

Get help standardizing your screening policies.

Whether or not you enlist a background check company to help you, your organization must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This act gives several rights to candidates throughout the background check process—including the right to dispute the contents of their background report. If you choose to remove a candidate from consideration because of information in their report, the FCRA mandates you inform the candidate of how you came to your decision through using the Adverse Action process.

A background check agency helps you navigate the FCRA and build a compliant hiring policy that treats all applicants fairly. You don’t have to worry about becoming an FCRA expert because your screening agency has all the knowledge you need.

Screen applicants quicker.

Filtering through and accessing multiple sources on your own can be tedious and confusing. Identifying compliant and verified data can be time consuming and  bogs down the hiring process.

Background screening companies like One Source provide clear, easy-to-navigate dashboards that cut right to the info that matters. You don’t have to spend extra time digging through documents to determine an applicant’s history—all relevant information will be clearly presented. With One Source, you’ll also have access to expert customer service for any questions about a candidate’s report and how to interpret it.

Guarantee quality background checks.

Professional background check providers have developed methods for curating the most accurate and comprehensive reports. One Source offers the TotalCheck service. This includes local, state and federal criminal records; an applicant history check; a sex offender registry check; and a global watchlist report. Additionally, We can also add several other checks, like drug tests and driving history reports, as needed.

A professional screening agency makes certain all of your background checks are accurate and compliant with FCRA. If you perform background checks yourself or use quick online reports, you can’t be sure you’re getting correct information—let alone quality information.

One Source is a dedicated background check partner. We care about you and want enhance your hiring process every step of the way. Learn more about our TotalCheck screening process and how we make hiring simple by contacting our Client Relations team today.

Should social media checks be included in screenings?

Social media offers an accessible, easy-to-navigate database to see someone’s interests, education, employment and personality. These days, it feels almost natural to peruse someone’s social media for an update on their life if you haven’t heard from them in a while. While social media is useful for connecting with those we know personally, the ethics of using it to evaluate potential employees can be murky.

A job candidate’s social media accounts can provide the clearest picture of their true behaviors and personality—and social media screenings can absolutely have a place in the hiring process. However, that screening should not be as simple as letting your hiring manager quickly scroll through a candidate’s profile(s). Social media screenings must be integrated into your hiring process carefully, and we’re here to answer any questions and help you formulate the right policy for your company.

In what situations does social media screening make sense?

Not every job description would necessitate a social media search—for the majority of jobs a pre-employment background check will be sufficient. However, if you’re looking to hire a public relations manager, social media strategist or any other consumer-facing position, taking a peek at their profile(s) would make sense.

Essentially, you don’t need to look into a candidate’s social media if it is not related to the job they applied for. While social media allows for a candid look into the lives of others, it is not always an accurate depiction of their true self. Screen social media profiles only if your team deems it ethical for the vacant position.

Who should conduct my social media screenings?

You hire background check agencies because they can access records that would be difficult for you to find. But with social media, the internet is right in front of you and it isn’t hard to find your candidate’s profiles. However, just because it’s easy for your hiring team to access social media doesn’t mean they should be the ones conducting the screenings.

For compliance reasons, it would be a good idea to outsource your social media screening. Another agency can provide you with an overview of a candidate’s social media that only contains information you can legally consider in your employment decision. If your team comes across personal information like religious beliefs or sexual orientation on a candidate’s profiles, you can claim that information didn’t play into your decisions but you can’t prove it. To avoid any potential discrimination accusations, it might be best to have your background check agency look at social media.

Can I take adverse action based on a candidate’s social media posts?

The short answer is yes. But as with everything about social media, it’s more complex than that. Your organization should already have set guidelines about what would move you to reject an applicant. If a candidate posted something that falls within those guidelines, you may then remove them from consideration and explain why you made that choice.

You can’t take adverse action just because you disagree with something an applicant said online. That could get you into a world of compliance troubles. Treat a social media screening like any other screening and you’ll be able to make compliant decisions.

To learn more about how One Source can help you find the best background check solutions for your organization, contact our Client Relations Team.

One Source Resource Review: January–March 2020

At One Source, we are dedicated to providing comprehensive, transparent and useful background check education and resources. We are screening industry experts, and we believe everyone should have access to a review of One Source’s resources to determine their security needs.

We will continue to curate blog posts and include them in this review of our website’s resources. We’ll categorize the blogs by topic and we hope these review posts will make it easier to find the information you need and utilize our knowledge when you need it. With that said, let’s dive into the One Source Resource Review.

General Background Check Information

5 Things You May Not Know About Background Checks

Ever wonder how background check agencies pull together a comprehensive criminal record? Or how to create a truly effective screening process? This blog delves into all the little details and questions you might have about the complicated world of pre-employment screening.

Employers’ Crash Course: The Fair Credit Reporting Act

Designed to protect the rights and information of job applicants, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) carries immense influence. When followed properly, the FCRA can help you make informed hiring choices while protecting your candidates. If the FCRA is broken, however, it has the power to bring plenty of legal troubles to an organization. Stay aware of the FCRA’s guidelines with our handy guide.

How to manage 5 background check red flags

If you’re looking for a job right now, it’s totally understandable how the screening process could be confusing. Every different business may respond differently to the same background report. To stay prepared for any potential question about your background, it helps to understand how most organizations process screenings and what sticks out to them.

A guide to screening contractors and contingent workers

Contractors work on a temporary basis, so it can be unclear whether they should be screened like full-time employees. Contracting agencies do run background checks on individuals before they can join the agency, but it’s still impossible to know if those checks match your organization’s screening standards. In this blog, we discuss some rules about screening contractors and contingent workers to ensure you can hire provisional help with confidence.

Employers and Hiring Departments

9 Websites Your HR Team Needs to Bookmark

These nine websites for your HR team provide excellent resources to get quick updates on their field. Some analyze HR news, some break down ethical hiring practices and others have unique thought leadership to move your team forward. So, bookmark your favorites and help your team stay sharp!

3 Background Check Budgeting Tips

Even organizations that don’t typically set aside funds for screenings can make a habit of budgeting for compliant background checks. In this blog, we discuss how the cost of making an uninformed hiring choice can exceed the cost of screening an excellent hiring choice. Our background check budgeting tips will help you build a hiring budget that prioritizes screenings so your organization can keep security and quality hiring at the top of your mind.

Eight Key Considerations for Hiring a Background Check Agency

Not all background checks are created equal—and really, a background check is only as good as the company that provides it. However, you can minimize your organization’s risk by working with the right screening company for your particular business or industry. So, keep these eight questions in mind as you choose a screening agency to hire.

3 Ways Background Checks Improve Your Hiring Process

Want the best chance at making the best hire? Pre-employment background checks are the key to a successful, sustainable hiring process that will identify the ideal candidates for your organization’s future. And the pros of background checks go beyond hiring too—read on to discover three unique ways screenings could help your business.

What to Do Before You Run an Employee Background Check

Established companies and new businesses alike manage workplace safety and avoid risk to stay secure. Background checks are an excellent way to maintain that security. However, developing an effective screening system to run an employee background check is sometimes easier said than done. Regardless of where your organization is in its development, this blog can help you reflect on and hone your background screening practices.

How can I expedite my background check process?

One Source completes most background checks in 48 hours or less. You can count on us to do our part to keep your hiring process on track, but there are other variables that can be tougher to control. With these tips, you can effectively manage every part of the screening process so you can stay in your timelines.

5 vital insights from (pre) employment background checks

One Source’s team helps you decipher comprehensive reports, but there are a few indicators you can look for right away on any report. Therefore, you can immediately get a high-level understanding of an applicant’s history with five vital insights from our (pre) employment background checks.

Volunteer Organizations

Three essential background check tips for nonprofits

Often, nonprofits complete day-to-day work and fulfill their mission through the dedication of volunteers. When volunteers are so essential to your organization, they should be screened just like any paid employee would. You can make sure the people volunteering for you are representing your mission well by background checking them—and we can show you how to make the most of your screenings.

4 questions to ask about your volunteer background check policy

Before your organization starts recruiting volunteers, ask yourself how background checks fit into your recruitment process. You can ensure security for your organization and build a reliable volunteer base all while ethically screening your applicants. Find the best volunteers by considering these four questions about your volunteer background check policy.

That was just a review of One Source’s resources to determine their security needs. So, if you have any questions about background screening or how One Source can assist you, contact our Client Relations team.

FAQ: Personal Background Checks

When you’re job hunting, there are a whole lot of things on your mind. You have to get your resume looking prefect, update your cover letter, gather some good references and prep for interviews. One thing most job seekers probably aren’t thinking about is background checks. Because that’s the responsibility of the employers, right?

Generally speaking, yes. But before you start any other job search tasks, it may not be a bad idea to check up on your background report. If you’re wondering what your potential employers will see when they screen you, you can get a head start by running a report on yourself.

Below, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about personal background checks so you can determine if they’re something you should include during your job search.

Why would I run a background check on myself?

A background check is a process that companies use to verify a person is who they claim to be, check their criminal record, education, employment and more. If your potential employer is going to see it and make a judgment about your future based on it, wouldn’t you like to know what it contains beforehand?

With a personal background check, you can see what is currently on your report, avoiding any surprises and offering time to correct potential mistakes. Some criminal databases and court records are so it’s definitely in your best interest to run a background check on yourself to ensure your future employer is getting an accurate understanding of who you are.

What do I do if there’s false information on my background report?

One of the useful things about running a background check on yourself is it gives you the ability to check and correct the information within your report. Accredited screening firms, like One Source, use real-time, original source court records whenever possible. This helps provide you the most accurate and up to date information.

If you spot any inaccuracies in your report, you have the right to get them fixed. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), consumers have the ability to dispute the information in their report and rectify potential negative impacts of the inaccuracies. Contact the company that created your report directly and they will review all disputed information.

How does a personal background check help me in the long run?

Once you have a copy of your report you can have unparalleled confidence that your background report is a true reflection of your past. From there, you can start to look at your report through the eyes of a potential hiring manager.

Start to think of any questions they may ask you about your report and prepare honest, thoughtful responses. A personal background check can provide you with an understanding of what your employers see and help you prepare more completely for any questions in the future. Knowledge about your background is a power worth seeking.

That served as your FAQ on personal background checks. Now, to learn more about the background check process, click here or contact us today!