How do you know how good the company is that you are using to perform background checks? If you use a company that has botched the job bad enough you might hear from the authorities, and/or see your company on the evening news. That’s what happened recently to an Indiana staffing company when they hired a sex offender as a bunny mascot and he later was arrested for touching a co-worker as reported in this Staffing Talk story.
We can all agree the stakes are high. But short of a colossal, tragic, reputation-smashing fail, how do you rate the service you are receiving?
The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act put national standards in place for background checks. However, these standards only apply to companies that hire a consumer-reporting agency to do the background check. If a company does the background check in house, it is exempt from the provisions of this act.
A Staffing Talk reader emailed us and told us about a site called BestBackgroundChecks. Among other things, they have an Online Background Check Directory.
The company says, “we include background check and records search companies based on merit instead of a cozy relationship with their PR office and purse strings.”
They say they list only background check companies that have been reviewed and are legitimate, and that you will not find a company that “isn’t verifiable through a number of techniques we use.”
Each company is evaluated and given a score based on how accurate and comprehensive the results are, along with their customer service. So you just go through and pick the service you are most comfortable with and start your own search.
I contacted a person who works for a small, local staffing agency that I have used for story ideas before. Although they didn’t want their name, or their company’s name to be mentioned, he did say they perform background checks on every person who walks through the door, as they enter the applicant into the system.
“This allows us to provide a company an applicant as quickly as possible from the time we receive an order. However, we personally only use municipal court or clerk of courts online searches, which are free. The problem with this is that someone may be from a county where they don’t provide online searches. I’ve been pushing for an outsourced criminal check and we may soon go that way.”
“We personally only use municipal court or clerk of courts online searches, which are free. The problem with this is that someone may be from a county where they don’t provide online searches.”
BestBackgroundChecks says the problem is the high error margins. They run as high as 41% according to TalentWise, a hiring process management and compliance solution used by over several thousand businesses throughout North America.
This issue is largely due to the fact that there are over 3,000 county courthouses in the United States and centralizing all their data is next to impossible. They also use many different filing systems which doesn’t help either.
I remember a story from a couple of years ago about an employment agency in Los Angeles that placed a convicted rapist in a large L.A. County health clinic. The agency said his background check came back “clear,” and that “he did not answer several questions on his application truthfully.” You mean the one that asked is he was a convicted rapist?
BestBackgroundChecks has a few tips and things they say you should consider when using a background check company:
- Does the company have endorsements and/or feedback?
- Do they have a satisfaction guarantee?
- Is your contact information kept private and secure?
- How long has the company been in business?
- What do you actually receive for your money?
- What data collections methods do they use?
- Do they have reachable customer service?
- Do they have About us, FAQ and Privacy pages?