Nebraska’s Online Employment Background Check System
March 26, 2013
Online background checks have been a controversial topic with many who wonder if these websites deliver legitimate results. From accuracy to efficiency, there are always questions as to the best method of conducting a background check at the lowest cost, but also with the best results.
Nebraska has announced a new online background screening system by the State Patrol, and it sounds like they might be making it seem easier than it should be. If you know anything about the background screening industry or really, any industry, if something seems “too good to be true“, it probably is. According to Gov. Dave Heineman, “We live in an electronic age. We need to provide these services online to be relevant.” While this might be true, there are several factors to take into consideration when it comes to online background checks.
One reason to be leery of this service is the claim of “instant” results. For a thorough background check, there should never be instant results, especially when it comes to criminal records. The term “instant” might be used loosely in this case, and could simply mean that employers have easier access to results online as opposed to receiving them via mail or fax. However, there should be concern over posting instant results of a criminal records search. Due to the wording used, it seems too good to be true:
“Pop in a name, a date of birth and your credit card info and you can get the skinny on someone.”
For full confidence that you’re receiving the complete results in a criminal history search, typically a verification of some sort should be done to ensure that a criminal record matches the job candidate, including full name, date of birth and Social Security Number. While full details are not given on the process of this online system, it is possible that no one is verifying the records found, therefore giving employers instant results that might be flawed.
In addition, the Lincoln Journal Star reports that previously, the average turnaround time for background checks was 7-10 days, which is reasonable for a thorough background check. As stated previously, the new system claims instant results if the person they’re researching has no criminal record (reportedly 75% do not have a criminal record). However, how can an employer be positive that the system is searching everywhere possible? The article does not detail if the criminal history search would include only state, or if county and the national criminal database would also be utilized, so we can’t say for certain that results would be inaccurate-but it’s yet another factor to consider.
With all of these elements in mind, Nebraska might be doing everything right, however, employers should always ask questions to find out the steps and process a background screening provider uses to complete a background check. Whether it’s for a criminal background or education verification-confirm that best practices are being utilized regardless of the state, in order to ensure that you’re hiring the best candidate. With more information, we might be able to decipher if Nebraska’s new online system will provide high quality background checks, but for now we can only guess.