It’s a natural instinct for humans to lie, but it’s always better to tell the truth – that extends to resumes, where lying is incredibly common. One survey estimated around 78% of people lie on their CV. That’s a remarkable statistic and while some small omissions can be relatively harmless, big lies lead to potentially massive consequences – imagine if an airline hired someone who lied about their qualifications. It’s because of this that 96% of U.S.-based companies run background checks on potential employees and why there are so many background check services around. However, not every service is the same, so it’s worth putting in the time to research which one will work best for you.
Types of Background Checks Services for Employers
Background checks cover a wide variety of different aspects of an employee’s personal and professional life. Most companies scour the same records when they create reports as many are publicly available, but some services may offer different types of checks that others do not.
What checks you need o depends on your business and who you’re employing, but almost every employee background check should include past references and previous employment first. Often, employers will want to know more about any significant gaps in a candidate’s employment history. Similarly, education history is an important one to check, especially when a potential employee’s performance depends significantly on their previous qualifications.
There are other things that background check services look for as well. This includes financial aspects such as a person’s credit score and whether they have filed for bankruptcy in the past ten years. Another key aspect of background check services is the potential criminal histories they can uncover, including any arrests, convictions, or court records – the exact kind of thing many would want to leave off their CV.
What Employers Need To Know About Background Checks
When it comes to digging into a person’s past there are legal considerations, especially for employers. The most important thing is to avoid discrimination, so you’ll have to make sure you adhere to laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EOCC). When it comes to running background checks you also have to consider rulings made by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The FTC requires that before you even run a background check you have to:
- Inform the employee that any information you find may be used to decide on their future employment. This must be done in writing separately, so you can’t just include it in your job advertisement.
- Get permission from the applicant for you to run the background check first. The document you use for informing the applicant and getting consent for the check can be the same.
- When dealing with the company that provides the background check, you need to certify that you have gotten permission from the applicant and that you’ll comply with EOCC and FCRA regulations.
In addition to this, there are also local and state laws to consider. So always take these into account before running a background check.
How To Choose the Right Employment Background Check Service
There is no right answer when it comes to choosing a background check service for your business since different services cater to different needs. There are some background check services designed for landlords or for personal use and, naturally, they won’t be ideal for your needs. However, there are plenty of services that specialize in background checks for employment.
Of course, each employee background service is different – one key factor being the overall cost. And although a cheaper solution may seem desirable, you could be missing out on key features. For example, some services have much faster turnaround speeds, so you can have your reports sooner. Other services can handle multiple reports, check international applicants, verify immigration status, perform identity document checks, and more.
Other services have specialist checking capabilities, like advanced academic history or directorship history searches. Some background check services will even scour social media for inappropriate behavior. Others will administer drug tests for you and do a health screening if necessary. Of course, not every service will have all of these extra features, so you’ll have to shop around to see which one suits your company’s needs the best.
Recommended Employee Background Check Services
There are plenty of options to choose from and here we present three of the very best employer background check services on the market:
One of the most well-known employment background check services is GoodHire, which has been a cornerstone of the market since its inception in 2012. The California-based company offers a clean, user-friendly interface and a mobile app so you can run background checks from any device. Perhaps one of the standout features of GoodHire is that it allows candidates to offer explanations directly, such as why there are employment gaps or if a result is incorrect. If you’re worried about any legal aspects of background checks, then rest assured that GoodHire is prepared for all of them, and the service even offers a digital consent form for your current or potential employee to sign. The service is well-priced too, and you can pay extra to increase turnaround time and unlock more features.
Having been founded in 1975, Sterling has a wealth of history in helping businesses create safe working environments. Sterling offers one of the most varied and flexible background check services that covers just about everything you could ever need. If you’re overwhelmed by the number of features on offer, there’s a version aimed at smaller businesses called SterlingNow which focuses on the basics. While it may not be the most attractive service, it is very functional. Sterling also utilizes artificial intelligence to help speed up the application process and get better results. There are also solutions aimed at different kinds of businesses including nonprofits, healthcare, and gig economy companies. Of course, all of this comes at a price and you’ll have to go direct to Sterling itself to tailor the service to your needs and price range.
Although a more general background service, Spokeo offers a lot of benefits to employers too. Spokeo initially started as a social media aggregation tool back in 2006 but its service has evolved over time. Generally, Spokeo is used for finding lost friends and family or for landlords checking up on potential tenants. However, Spokeo provides many of the same searches as specialist employment background check services and has one of the best user interfaces on the market. Reports resemble a polished CV but they’re thorough too, including education, work, and any address history. You’ll also be able to do full criminal reports. The best thing about Spokeo though is its low price, with dedicated subscriptions aimed at businesses.