Background Screening Basics: What You Need to Know

November 29, 2023 by Verified First

Background Screening Basics: What You Need to Know

Finding the right candidate for both the role and your organization is no easy task. As a leading background screening provider, Verified First’s goal is to empower organizations like yours with the confidence they need to hire the right people by redefining the background screening experience. In order to provide a seamless hiring process from start to finish, it’s important that you thoroughly understand the basics of background screening. 

Pre-employment background checks help provide the necessary information to help you make more informed hiring decisions. Now that more organizations are utilizing background screening during the hiring process, it’s common for questions to arise. 

Employers need to be thorough and efficient when conducting pre-employment background screening, ensuring compliance with federal, state, and local guidelines and regulations. Let’s discuss some frequently asked background screening questions to better guide you on your screening journey. 

Background Check Basics FAQs

What is Included in a Background Check? 

There is a range of various components that can be included in a background check depending on the level of the role, industry requirements, and screening provider. Typical pre-employment background checks include identity verification and criminal record searches. Here are common types of pre-employment background checks: 

  • Criminal History: Typically consists of searching county criminal records, state administrative courts, departments of corrections, and third-party sex offender databases. 
  • Identity Verification: Usually leverages public records and credit bureau databases to provide the associated name and address history of a given SSN.
  • Employment, Education, & Professional License Verification: Help verify an applicant’s history prior to hire. This can include contacting previous employers, institutions, and more. 
  • Driving History: Leverages information provided by a state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), including license class and status, convictions, violations, and more. 
  • Credit Checks: This can be helpful if an applicant is considered for a role with financial information. Searches can include employment credit reports, bankruptcy filings, business credit reports, and lien and judgment filing searches.

What Information is Needed to Run a Background Check?

There are two components to answering this question: 1) What is needed from the applicant and 2) What is needed to comply with legal requirements. 

  • Applicant: Different companies can require different information to be collected from the candidate, but this typically includes full name, date of birth, address, and social security number. 
  • Legal: Background checks must be conducted in compliance with several federal and state regulations. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act FCRA, employers must obtain permission from candidates or employees prior to running a background check. Certain states also adhere to different laws, such as Clean Slate and Ban the Box laws, so it’s essential to stay up to date on your company’s specific requirements. 

How Much Do Background Checks Cost?

The cost of background checks depends on the breadth and scope of the desired screen. On average, a reliable background screening package that measures up to FCRA standards costs companies between $30-$100

A unique screening package customized to your organization’s needs is a great way to streamline your hiring process while saving time and money. Verified First offers background screening packages specific to many different industries, including a la carte products like drug testing, verifications, I-9, and more. 

How Long Do Background Checks Take?

On average, a thorough background check can take between one to three business days. There are several factors that can impact the time it takes to conduct a background check, including the type of screen, court closures and delays, and more.

What if I Choose Not to Hire Someone Based on Background Check Results?

Employers that choose not to hire someone based on the results of a background check legally must follow a process known as pre-adverse and adverse action. This includes: 

  • Pre-adverse action notice: Before taking adverse action, the employer must provide the candidate with a copy of their consumer report and a summary of their rights under the FCRA. 
  • Waiting period: Before proceeding to adverse action, the employer must wait a reasonable amount of time in order to allow the candidate to dispute the accuracy of their consumer report. 
  • Adverse action notice: When an employer opts to take adverse action, they must provide candidates with a notice of adverse action, the contact information of the consumer reporting agency, and a copy of the FCRA Summary of Rights.

When choosing to revoke an offer due to the results of their background screening results, it's best to refer to legal counsel for specific steps to protect your organization from unfair or non-compliant hiring practices.

Background Screening Made Simple

Compliant background screening can be challenging. That’s why it’s best practice to work with an experienced background screening partner, specifically one that integrates with your chosen tech stack. 

Verified First has cracked the code on delivering a better background screening experience to organizations like yours. Our one-click integration makes it simple to start screening, plus we connect with 100+ HR and talent acquisition platforms to streamline your entire hiring process from start to finish. We can help you find and hire more qualified candidates quickly, maintain compliance, and save valuable time and money in the process. 

Start Screening Today!

About Verified First
Verified First is known for delivering streamlined background screening backed by the best client support, and for developing the easiest, fastest HR system integrations, for free. Our client support team is U.S.-based, answers calls in seconds, resulting in hundreds of positive testimonials and a 96% customer satisfaction. Verified First's patent-pending, award-winning integrations include over 100 applicant tracking systems, and provide clients a turn-key experience.

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