Q: What are employee background check services?
A: Employee background check services are screenings conducted and reported on primarily for pre-employment purposes. Turnaround times typically range between one and five days, and the scope of each search varies in detail, depending on what information needs to be recovered about your prospective employee. Employee background check agencies offer their services via preset plans or customizable searches.
Common background check searches include:
- Social Security number traces and address validations
- Misdemeanor and felony criminal records searches at the county, state and national levels
- Sex offender registry searches
- Civil records checks
Common supplemental searches include:
- Employment verification
- Education verification
- Professional license verification
- Motor vehicle records
- Employment credit reports
- Reference checks
- Military records verifications
- Workers’ compensation history searches
- Healthcare sanction checks
- Drug screenings
Q: How much does an employee background check service typically cost?
A: The price varies based on which screenings you require. Many agencies offer bundled plans that range from basic to premium. Basic plans typically cost between $15 and $30 per report, and include basic criminal and identity verification like Social Security number trace, national criminal database searches and sex offender registry searches. Standard, or midlevel, plans range from $30 to $60 per report and typically search for everything in the basic plan in addition to a domestic watch list search and a county criminal court search that searches the past seven years. Premium plans typically cost between $60 and $80 per report and search for everything in a standard plan, plus education and employment verifications. The exact cost and records searched will vary based on the provider you choose.
Most background check providers offer supplemental searches for an additional cost. Be prepared to pay third-party fees (e.g., transcript fees) and associated court fees, which often vary by state. Some background check providers charge one-time setup fees, ranging between $25 and $50 for account verification.
Q: How quickly can you expect results from a great background check service?
A: The standard turnaround time for a background check is typically one to five days per report. Some agencies claim to provide results instantly, but these are typically less comprehensive and less accurate. Verify with the agency you select that it (and its reports) complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
Many background check companies will list their average turnaround time on their website, and some even go so far as to list the specific turnaround time for each individual service. If turnaround time is critical for your business, contact the agency for an estimate.
Q. Can online background check services be used for pre-employment screening?
A: Many of the online background check services available can be used for pre-employment screening, but they must meet the FCRA guidelines. Many of the online platforms that claim to provide instant results do not meet these guidelines, and, therefore, cannot be used for pre-employment screening.
If you are using the information uncovered in background checks to make hiring decisions, again, the agency (and its processes) must comply with the FCRA. We recommend that you go one step further and use an agency that is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS); agencies that are accredited abide by strict guidelines.
Using an agency for employment purposes that doesn’t comply with FCRA guidelines can result in a lawsuit for your business and fines.