A Background Check is More Than a Price Tag: 3 Methods for Valuable Criminal Background Checks

Nick Fishman

Valuable Background Checks

When seeking an employment background screening provider, many factors are brought to the table that contribute to making a decision. These could include services, criminal hit rate, accuracy, turnaround time, and of course, cost.

In any given purchase, not only background checks, you aim to pay the lowest price possible and still hope for the best product. In some cases, this might work-you can buy a quality product at a lower price and not worry. On the other hand, there are many purchases that are worth spending a little extra.

The same standard should be true for your criminal background checks. You find background checks for the awesomely low price of $9.95 and sign up without hesitation, believing the company is reputable and safe. But what if a couple months later, your background check “breaks”? Your background screening provider missed a criminal record in the search and you hire someone with a criminal record. While a criminal record alone should not be a disqualifier for a candidate, employers should still know who they’re hiring. You can’t ask for a refund, like some purchases, so what can you do?

That being said, the final decision should not rely solely on the cost of the background check. Above all else is the value. Without value, how much confidence do you have that your background screening provider is giving you the best results? And you might be wondering, does the highest cost ensure the most valuable? Not necessarily.

And this question leads to another, what provides value in a criminal background check? First, using a criminal record search most representative of criminal records, a county search, is necessary. There are three factors that might increase not only the cost of the background check, but also the value:

1. The number of counties searched.

2. The length of time searched.

3. The number of alias names searched.

As you can see, all of these factors are highly dependent on who your applicant is, where they’ve lived and how many alias names they have. In the same instance, you may wonder why it’s worthwhile to search more than 1 or 2 counties or even search all of the alias names.

1. The number of counties searched: Where are the records found?

County criminal records

 

As you can see, only 43% of records are found in the current county. If you don’t search beyond that, you’re missing over 50% of possible criminal records.

2. The Length of Time Searched: How Long Ago Was the Criminal Record?

Years of Record

3. The number of alias names searched.

Regarding alias names, our data shows that those who do not use alias names in their search miss the records they would have found had they searched with all names possible. If the record was filed under the alias name, that record won’t be found 89% of the time, unless the alias name is also checked. Should you risk missing those records?

While implementing these three parts into ordering criminal background checks is more costly, using all information available to conduct a criminal background check will provide a more valuable result. Perhaps your background checks already cost your company more than the value. Or maybe you’re paying a low price with a lower value.

One telltale sign of a lower value is a low criminal hit rate. Maybe the majority of your candidates don’t have criminal records and the hit rate should be low. However, if the hit rate is too low, it might be time to reevaluate your background screening program.

For more information about receiving the most valuable background check results, download our guide on criminal record background checks:








Nick Fishman
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Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
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