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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.

The 5-step guide to starting your company’s background check process

As your business grows, your team must expand to support new demands. Hiring can be an exciting process that adds bright new perspectives to your processes and bolsters your company’s integrity. However, uninformed hiring choices can have a negative impact on your team. So, deciding who to trust with the growth of your organization is crucial.

Pre-employment background checks offer valuable information that allows you to make more knowledgeable choices about your future employees. If your business has a minimal background screening process or no screening process at all, you should consider formalizing your background check policies before you make your next hiring decision. An official background check process makes hiring more streamlined and offers transparency and honesty to applicants.

Follow this step-by-step guide to create a reliable background check process for your company.

Step 1: Take inventory of your needs

Before you can choose a background check company or move forward with specific screening policies, you must decide what you want to get out of a background check process. First, identify reasons why you should screen applicants for various positions. Different jobs may require different levels of restriction and security. You can then tailor your background check policies to your company’s different job descriptions.

Also, you should decide early on how much you are able to budget for background checks. It’s less costly to pay for diligent background checks than to deal with potential increased liability of not screening.

Step 2: Understand and comply with background check laws

Job applicants have distinct rights during the background process. While a background check company will help you comply with laws, it is important for you to understand the rights and privacy privileges of your applicants.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is the primary regulator of how reports are used by employers. The FCRA ensures that applicants are aware you are screening them and places responsibilities on the employer to protect the privacy of applicants.

Step 3: Clarify your policies

Once you recognize your company’s background check needs, team up with your legal counsel to mockup an applicant screening policy. That policy should inform applicants about which background check company is running the checks, what types of screenings will be run, how the information in their report will affect decisions and how disputes will be handled. It is also a good practice to offer applicants with an explanation of which offenses will bar them from certain positions.

Step 4: Find a company that fits your needs

When choosing a company to run background checks for you, consider the role you want the company to play in your hiring process. Full-service background check companies can be reliable partners throughout hiring that will help you interpret results and ensure you make informed decisions. Online background check services offer quick results but are less hands-on and may not be FCRA compliant.

No matter what you choose, verify the service you enlist is compliant with FCRA and accredited by the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA).

Step 5: Know what to do with information from a report

Based on the background check policy your company created, you will have guidelines on how to respond to certain charges on an applicant’s report. If you decide to remove an applicant from consideration due to information on their report, you are taking adverse action. When taking adverse action, you must notify the applicant of your decision and provide reasoning for it.

If you have any further questions about how to proceed, contact your background check company. Also, you can get in touch with One Source’s Client Relations Ream today.

Frequently Asked Questions about Pre-Employment Background Checks

Finding and hiring the best candidate for a position at any company can be a long and tedious but worthwhile process. No matter how your business chooses to structure its hiring, background checks should be a crucial part of the system. They provide security, mitigate risk and help you choose a candidate with confidence.

We answered a list of the most frequently asked questions about pre-employment background checks, so the next time you’re hiring, you can hit the ground running.

How long does a background check take?

Typically, a background check can take 2 to 4 business days. The exact amount of time until you get a report back can vary if there are unforeseen complications or if additional screenings are requested.

It can take an instant to search internet databases, but to search real-time, original-source records, as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requires, it may take longer. One Source delivers 96 percent of background checks in 24-48 hours.

What do I need to run a background check on an applicant?

According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you must have a signed release form from every applicant you would like to screen. Your applicants must know you are running a background check and must consent to the screening. You can download a copy of our background check Disclosure and Authorization form here.

What information will I get from a background check?

One Source’s TotalCheck products can provide you a comprehensive and verified report that includes:

  •  Verification of an applicant’s information.
  • A county/statewide criminal history report.
  • A supplemental search of multi-court jurisdictional criminal record databases.
  • A nationwide federal criminal report, cross-referenced with the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ databases.
  • A search of the national sex offender registries.
  • A check of global watchlists.

How do I review the results of a background check?

When an applicant’s background check is complete, you will receive an email with an embedded link to the report. The link is password protected to keep your applicant’s data secure.

Why should I hire a background check company?

A consistent and compliant partnership with a background check company can make the entire hiring process easier. One Source has carefully developed background screening methods to ensure accuracy and save companies time. And if you ever run into a problem with a background check, it is useful to have an expert partner like One Source who can quickly answer your questions. When you hire a background check company, you can maintain clarity, compliance and confidence through the hiring process and get a fantastic new hire to work ASAP.