Employee Background Checks Made Simple

Being a “solopreneur” can be rewarding and profitable. But when you’re a one-person shop, there’s only so much you can do by yourself. To reach the next level of success, most business owners eventually hire employees in hopes that they are make a positive addition to the team. Running employee background checks is an important part of that process. Here are some tools to make that easy.

State-Sponsored Background Databases

Many states run databases that make records available and easily searchable. For example, the Wisconsin Court System and New York State Unified Court System both offer searchable databases of unsealed criminal records.

Some businesses first turn to these because they’re run by recognized organizations and are either free or inexpensive. For example, Wisconsin’s system offers free searches and many states charge a nominal fee to help mitigate processing costs.

These state-sponsored background databases are a great option however, you should be aware of some of their shortcomings.

Many states have laws that prohibit discrimination based on arrests, which is largely what these databases list.

Furthermore, checks are often limited to businesses in the state and only show records within the state. Any arrests or convictions outside of the state normally won’t be included in a state’s database.

Do-It-Yourself Online Employee Background Checks

Another tool available at your disposal is DIY online background checks. These are privately run websites that offer a more comprehensive service at a fairly affordable price. These online companies collect information from a variety of sources to compile data that typically includes criminal convictions, bankruptcies, civil judgments, address history, marriage records, social security number verification and more. This information is gathered from sources across the country, so it’s not limited to just one state. All of this information is usually available for between $10 and $50 per search.

While these sites are affordable and much more comprehensive, they still have their downsides.

First, the information may not be verified and can be inaccurate (depending on the service).

More importantly, some of these sites don’t comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Using a non-compliant service could leave you susceptible to fines and lawsuits.

Full-Service Background Check Providers

Several companies offer full-service background checks. These tend to be the most expensive option, but they’re also the most trustworthy and safe to use. To find one, you can do a quick google search or check out this list.

Full-service providers don’t just rely on published sources for information, but they frequently make phone calls or in-person contacts to verify records. For example, many full-service providers will send people to courthouses to verify records or call employers to verify employment history. Because of this effort, these are the most comprehensive and reliable records available.

Full-service providers also comply with the FCRA. Thus, you don’t need to worry about violating federal law when conducting background checks.

Of course, the additional service comes at an increased price. Full-service background check providers charge between $50 and $150 per search.

When growing your business, it is essential to hire the best people for the job. Running background checks will help you to make an informed decision when selecting candidates. While each of these background check solutions are easy to use, they all have their own advantages and disadvantages. Think carefully about what your business needs in a background check and what risk it can assume, and then use the option that best suits your business.

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