5 Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your Employment Background Checks

Nick Fishman

Time to Upgrade Your Background Screening Program

How do you know if it’s time for your company to upgrade its employment background checks? Whether it’s that uneasy feeling you get when you desperately need the results of a candidate’s criminal background check—and your screening provider isn’t answering the phone. Or maybe more than a few candidates have disputed the results of their background check—you’ve sensed that it’s time to search for a better option.

Keep reading for five signs that it might be time to upgrade your pre-employment background screening program.

1. Customer Service Isn’t Answering the Phone

This sign might be present from day one. It starts with a missed call or two. Then, your background screening company isn’t calling you back at all. Or maybe you do reach them, but the customer service representative has no idea what’s going on with your background check results. Sound familiar?

A trustworthy background screening provider won’t sound like they’re across an ocean when they pick up the phone. They should also know the ins and outs of your background check results. Whether there’s a court delay or the researcher hasn’t been able to verify your candidate’s employment yet, a screening provider should be able to explain any issues to you, including some detail.

2. Is Something Missing in the Results?

Have you discovered too late that a candidate has a criminal record? Or perhaps they weren’t telling the full truth on their resume. Whether you learn the truth through a candidate’s own admission or perhaps an unfortunate situation in the workplace, you should never be surprised later by information that should have been revealed on the background check.

A comprehensive criminal background check should uncover any criminal records that belong to your candidate. In addition, a thorough employment or education verification should confirm any information listed by your candidate on their resume.

3. Is Your Background Screening Company Following the Law? 

There are several telltale signs that your screening provider might not be in compliance with their background checks (which could get you into trouble if this isn’t remedied).

  • While the pre-adverse and adverse action notification is ultimately the employer’s responsibility, if your screening provider has not advised you to ensure that you’re sending both notifications or has not done it for you when you requested it, believe it or not, your background checks are not in compliance.
  • Your screening provider has not advised you on ban the box laws —which preclude you from asking your candidate if they have been convicted of a crime on the job application. While this isn’t their responsibility and good partner to keep you apprised of these laws are they are enacted.
  • Another instance to be aware of is a screening provider that’s willing to report any information that the employer requests. While a screening provider should do everything in their power to legally deliver the background check results to you, if an employer demands information that’s illegal to report (juvenile records or arrest records older than 7 years for instance), a compliant background check company will respond with a resounding ‘no’.

4. You Don’t See Value in the Results

This sign might be obvious, but if you’re paying the bill month by month—and either don’t fully understand what you’re paying for or feel like the value of your results has depleted, it’s probably time to move on.

Not only should you feel like the cost of your background check is worthwhile, but you should also know where that money is going. If you don’t, it’s time to set up a meeting with your screening company.

5. Turnaround Time is Taking Too Long 

Another key indicator it might be time to upgrade your background checks is how long it takes to receive the results. Are your criminal background check results routinely coming back in a week or longer when there is no reportable conviction? Unless you’re regularly hitting an area with known court delays, you’re probably waiting too long. The average clear criminal background check shouldn’t take longer than 2-4 days.

What about a resume verification?  Employment or education verifications should take 3-4 days on average at the most. And even if some information could not be verified, your screening provider should have some kind of explanation, i.e. company closed, records destroyed, etc.

In sum, accept nothing but the best from your background screening company. If you’re not getting the results you want and need, it’s time to start the search—and upgrade your employment 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.
Nick Fishman
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