What is a Background Screen?
A Background Screen is a process—actually, a legal investigative search—to compile past information, including criminal, employment, education, credit records, etc. of an individual for the purpose of helping an organization make employment decisions.
One might think that it’s perfectly fine to just gather information from online public sources. Simply put, it’s not. Employers—and background screening providers—have to abide by laws and regulations that minimize risk to the employer, while also protecting candidates from discrimination. Companies should implement formal background screens to help keep their clients, employees and business safe.
Performing background screens help keep companies safe and minimize risk by verifying and reporting historical information, all while ensuring candidates are who they say they are.
How does the screening process work?
Prior to performing a background screen, the candidate must supply written consent and both the candidate and company must understand and acknowledge rights under FCRA guidelines. This “Authorization for Background Investigation” form is how A-Check Global receives and verifies the candidate’s acknowledgment and authorization to conduct a background screen on the company’s behalf.
A common misconception of the background screening process is that a comprehensive report can be completed and presented within 24 hours or less. In reality, a team of trained professionals work seamlessly together, utilizing both electronic and manual processes to gather the most current and accurate information available.
An average background screen usually takes 2-5 days to complete. However, there are variables that can impact the timeline, such as insufficient or incomplete information provided by the candidate, or the type of screen component(s) requested. Take for example, a county criminal search which can be a lengthy effort depending on where the county is located and on the county resources available to provide information to A-Check.
Let’s take a look at screen components.
Typically, an employer will ask for fairly common types of pre-employment screens: a Social Security Trace, Criminal History Records, Employment History and Education Verification, and perhaps Motor Vehicle Records, Credit Reports, and Drug Screening.
The Social Security Trace can aid in validating the candidate’s identity. It can be used to uncover previous address history and even alias names affiliated with a social security number.
Sources of criminal history records include: county, statewide, and federal criminal records, the national criminal locater database and state and national sex offender registries.
Employment verification requirements—how much historical information is requested—tends to vary from client to client, and A-Check Global tailors this search to meet the employer’s business needs.
Education verifications validate an applicant’s high school, college, or trade school diplomas and degrees.
State laws vary regarding retention of driving records. Generally, this search will reveal the candidate’s 3-5 year driving history and may provide insight into any potential areas of concern.
A-Check Global’s substance abuse testing programs aid in protecting employers from the negative effects of workplace drug and alcohol abuse. Our services include a complete range of drug testing, alcohol screening and medical screening management for both regulated and unregulated industries.
Reviewing the results.
Once a background screen is complete, the employer can review the results and make an informed employment decision based on this information. Keep in mind that using this information for hiring decisions must be done in compliance with Federal and state regulations including the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Likewise, candidates must have ample opportunity to review their completed background report if requested prior to the screen, and dispute any specific items they question.
If you’re tasked with analyzing your current screening program, or just have questions about your background screening process, we would welcome the opportunity to be part of that conversation. A-Check Global’s team of dedicated professionals are available to help, and can provide friendly, accurate guidance. Give us a call today at 877-345-2021, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.