What Employers Should Look for in a Background Check Company – Wimgo

What Employers Should Look for in a Background Check Company

Hiring new employees is always a bit of a gamble. You can interview someone who seems perfect on paper and totally bombs in person. Or someone with an amazing personality might lack the hard skills to succeed. As an employer, you want to stack the odds in your favor as much as possible when bringing on new team members. 

That’s why background checks have become standard practice. Running a check helps uncover any skeletons in a candidate’s closet that could spell trouble down the road. Stuff like criminal records, fudged credentials, past firings—you know, red flags. For jobs involving money, kids, sensitive data, or anything where integrity matters, screening applicants is especially critical.  

But not all background check companies are created equal. Between the explosion of options out there and the intricacies of compliance, choosing a provider can be overwhelming. How do you even know which features or criteria should top your checklist?

This post will explore what employers should prioritize when selecting a background screening partner. I’ll cover:

– Why background checks are so valuable

– Different types of checks

– Key criteria to evaluate providers  

– Questions to ask companies

– Tips for choosing the best fit

Let’s dive in!

Why Do Employers Need Background Checks Anyway?

Before we get into the nitty gritty of how to pick a company, let’s review why employers bother with screening in the first place.

It Reduces Legal and Compliance Risks

Depending on your industry and location, background checks may be legally required to avoid liability. Jobs involving kids, healthcare, government contracts—they often necessitate more rigorous screening. Using a pro provider keeps you compliant.

It Lowers Hiring Risks

Background checks help uncover any red flags—think criminal history, faked credentials, past shady behavior—that could make someone a liability in a given role. Screening minimizes bad hires who might jeopardize safety, finances, your reputation, company culture, etc.

It Promotes a Culture of Ethics and Safety

Thorough screening sets the tone that integrity and ethics matter in your workplace. It also gives existing employees peace of mind that you’re vetting new hires.

It Provides Assurance and Peace of Mind

A clean background check reassures you that a candidate doesn’t pose any overt risks before coming on board. It’s like getting the thumbs up that essential due diligence has been done.

Common Types of Background Checks

There’s a wide range of employment screening services out there. Smart employers choose checks that make sense for a given role and follow discrimination laws. Some common options:

– Criminal history—Screens county, state, and federal records for convictions, jail time, parole details, etc.

– Identity verification—Confirms candidate’s ID and uncovers any aliases, fraud, etc. via SSN trace, E-Verify, etc.

– Employment verification—Contacts previous employers to confirm titles, dates worked, responsibilities, eligibility for rehire, etc. 

– Education verification—Confirms academic credentials like degrees, colleges attended, graduation dates, etc. 

– Driving records—Checks DMV records for license validity, DUIs, accidents, traffic violations, etc. for driving jobs.

– Credit history—For financial roles, shows candidate’s creditworthiness and potential fraud indicators.

– Sex offender registries—For positions involving minors, checks national databases for inclusion.

– Global watchlists—Screens international terrorist/sanctions lists relevant for aviation, government, infrastructure roles.

– Professional licensing—Verifies status of required licenses like medical, teaching, legal, accounting, etc.

– Drug testing—Tests for substance use, typically for transportation, healthcare, manufacturing, etc.

The right screens depend on the job requirements and legal compliance needs. An experienced provider can advise.

Key Criteria for Choosing a Background Check Company

When evaluating providers, keep these criteria atop your checklist:

Relevant Experience and Specialization

– How long have they focused solely on employment screening? Look for established players with 10+ years under their belts. 

– Do they specialize in any relevant industries like healthcare, retail, finance, etc. to understand compliance nuances? Domain expertise is a bonus.

– What’s their experience screening different roles—execs, hourly workers, remote employees, etc.? A provider who gets your talent segment shows maturity.

– Can they scale globally if your hiring expands internationally? Seek a global footprint and multilingual capabilities.

Rigorous Compliance and Security 

– Do they maintain strict compliance with laws like FCRA, EEOC, GDPR, etc.? This is non-negotiable.

– Are their systems secure to protect sensitive applicant data? Ask about encryption, access controls, audits, etc.

– Is your data kept confidential per contracts and retention policies? Don’t let it fall into the wrong hands.

– Do they use accurate, up-to-date data sources? Stale info can create legal risks.

– Can they adapt packages to address your state/industry’s unique compliance needs? Customization = flexibility.

Fast Turnaround Times

– How quickly can they turn checks around? Standard is 1-3 days but faster options often exist for urgent cases.

– Do they offer real-time results for any screens like fingerprints or ID verification? Important for time-sensitive hires.

– Are turnaround times contractually guaranteed? Rushed checks can lead to missed records. 

Responsive, Expert Customer Service

– What support channels are offered—phone, email, chat, etc? Do you get a dedicated rep?

– Are there multiple contacts for escalations? Larger providers should have account management teams.

– How responsive are they to questions and disputes? Gives a sense of their service culture.

– Can you access tracking and results 24/7 online? Convenience and visibility are valued. 

– Do they provide training on using their platform and interpreting reports? Education is invaluable.

Competitive, Flexible Pricing

– Do they offer customized packages tailored to your specific screening needs? One-size-fits-all bundles won’t cut it.

– Can you order à la carte as hiring volumes fluctuate? Adds budget flexibility.

– How does their pricing compare to competitors? Get quotes from multiple sources.

– Are there volume discounts for heavy hiring employers? Fees should align with your recruiting.

– Any hidden or surprise fees to watch out for? Cost transparency is essential up front.

Value-Adding Technology and Automation

– Do they offer an intuitive, easy-to-use online ordering platform? Ancient paper-based processes waste time.

– What convenience features do they offer—mobile uploads, e-signatures, applicant portal, etc? More automation means a smoother experience.  

– Can you integrate directly with your HRIS or ATS for seamless data flows? API connections are ideal.

– Do they leverage automation for identity checks, employment verification, etc to accelerate turnarounds? The more, the better.

– What reporting and data analysis do they provide? Helps inform program decisions.

Questions to Ask Prospective Providers

Once you’ve identified vendors that tick all the boxes above, get answers to these key questions before sealing the deal:

– What measures do you take to ensure legal compliance with FCRA, EEOC, state laws, etc?

– How long have you been accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS)? 

– What are your standard turnaround times and options for expedited services?

– Do you offer dedicated account management and client training?

– How can you support our unique compliance needs in this industry and location? 

– What data security and encryption standards do you meet? Have you completed SSAE, SOC2 audits?

– Can you provide client references we could contact?

– Do you leverage direct integrations with government agencies, data aggregators, etc. for reliable checks? 

– What quality control measures do you have to ensure accuracy and what’s your error rate?

– Do you supply compliant adverse action letters to candidates if needed?

– How long is data retained for records and auditing purposes? 

– Do you offer customized screening packages or just pre-set bundles?

– What add-ons like I-9 verification, drug testing, global checks etc. are available?

– How do your capabilities and pricing stack up against competitors? Why should we choose your company?

Thoughtful questions will reveal if a provider truly grasps your needs and can deliver tailored solutions, or if they just want your business.

How to Choose the Best Background Check Company for Your Needs   

At the end of the day, the background check company you select will directly impact critical hiring decisions at your organization. It pays to do your due diligence. Look for an experienced provider that offers:

– Relevant expertise screening roles like yours

– Unwavering legal/compliance rigor 

– Speedy yet accurate turnaround times   

– Responsive customer service  

– Competitive and flexible pricing

– Convenient technology and automation

A optimized screening program reduces hiring risks and provides peace of mind that every new hire has been thoroughly vetted before coming on board. Invest time to find your ideal partner and your organization will reap long-term rewards.

Does this rewritten version sound more natural while keeping the original structure intact? Let me know if you would like me to modify or expand any sections further.