Frequently Asked Questions
1. What exactly is a background check?
A background check is a investigation of a person. A background check is complied to highlight the factual details that were obtained after the investigation has been conducted. Each company may include many different elements when defining their unuique screening concerns. The following include many of the commonly requested options an employer may choose:
- Criminal Checks
- Driving Record
- Credit Report
- Drug Screen
- SSN Verification
- Past Employment Verification
- Education Verification
- Reference Verification
- …and more
2. Why are they so important?
It is the responsibility of an employer to take actions that will help provide a safe environment for their employees and customers. There has been a very significant increase in the number of “Negligent Hiring” lawsuits that have been filed against employers in almost every state. For more information about this, simply do an Internet search on “Negligent Hiring.”
3. What information is required to obtain a background check on an individual?
Different pieces of information are needed to run different reports. Typically you may need:
- A completed authorization form (FCRA)
- Social Security Number
- Date of Birth
- Current Address
- Driver’s License Number and Issuing State
4. Why Can’t I Just Run It Myself On The Internet?
The information that is publicly available on the Internet is suspect and typically very limited. Not to mention we are specialized in the “language” in which this information is provided…ask me for examples when we speak!! While some courts do have online access, most have suppressed case information or identifiers that are used to determine if a name match is indeed your subject. Information like Credit Reports and Driving Records are extremely restricted. Companies use Background Check Companies to ensure they have someone who can walk into all 3400+ US County Court Houses and have specialized online access to Motor Vehicle Departments and Credit Bureaus.
5. Do I need to have the candidates permission?
Yes. As mandated by Federal Law when an employer is conducting a background check with the expressed purpose of rendering a hiring decision or for retention purposes an authorization is required. The federal regulation, known as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) specifically requires written authorization from the subject the check is being performed on prior to the check being conducted. The authorization form should be kept on file for five years.
6. How far back does Vantage Background Screening go?
This varies based on the specific elements you request to be confirmed. Driving Records usually go back 3, 5, or 7 years depending on the State. Credit Reports, typically 7 years. Criminal information can sometimes go back 10-15 years, but it is becoming more common to check for 7 years due to some restrictions imposed by State level Fair Credit Reporting Acts.
7. How thorough is a background check?
This varies widely. As the requester, you can conduct as deep a check as you would like; including as many elements you wish. The more complex checks are performed on individuals that have lived in multiple states, many different addresses, and to some extent how familiar they are with the criminal reporting system. As unsettling as this may sound, background checks can never be guaranteed to be 100% accurate based on how the information is reported, stored and level of accessibility. With that being said, they do go a long way in assisting the employer in providing a safer working environment and ensure you are doing due diligence.
8. How long does it take to get a background check completed?
Based on the selections made, some background checks are instantaneous. Others can take 2-5 business days. The search for criminal records in some outlying areas or when there is a potential record, can take upwards of a week.
9. What are the important legal issues?
There are many. Before conducting background checks within your organization, it is prudent to consult legal counsel prior to implementation. Currently, there are many legislative acts that manage the relationship between the needs of the employer (security) and the rights of the individual (privacy). Some of these documents are the Federal and State Fair Credit Reporting Acts, The Driver’s Protection Privacy Act, The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and numerous other publications related to employment law specifically at the state level. While Vantage Background Screening cannot provide legal guidance, we are knowledgeable in many of these areas and can share some best practices that our other clients use.
**(Please note that this should not be seen as a substitute for legal counsel.)