How Accurate are Background Checks?
If done by a reputable organization, background checks are accurate and can provide a detailed history of the job candidate. An accurate background check is vital to the hiring process. If not done by a reputable organization, you are putting the company at risk of hiring someone who is unfit for the position or putting that candidate at risk of losing an opportunity to false information which can result in a lawsuit.
How can I make sure that my background check is accurate?
To ensure that your background screening provider can provide a high-quality accurate background check you should make sure they:
- Follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Guidelines.
- They know they local laws and can educate you on them if necessary.
- Can educate you on how you can use your background check in the hiring process.
- Are a member of the PBSA (Professional Background Screening Association) or the NAPBS (National Association of Professional Background Screeners).
- Use verified and up to date sources for all their information.
How a Background Check Works
There is no singular database for criminal records. Many counties aren’t required to submit their criminal records to state or national databases. This is why accurate background checks start with a social security number trace. This will help us out previous areas that the candidate has lived. Once all the counties have been identified, a criminal records search is done individually in each of these counties. Attention to detail during this process is critical. An accurate background check requires work. Having no one there to oversee this process can prove to be problematic.
The Issue with Free Background Checks
The problem with many free background check services is that no one is paid to put time into a thorough accurate background check, no one is paid to maintain an up-to-date database, no one is paid to verify the sources. Let’s talk about what this means for you.
Not verifying the sources of your background check can result in a few different situations, none of them good.
- When the criminal records databases are out of date, you will have an incomplete and inaccurate background check. You could be presented a background check which has missing criminal records, which can be dangerous to the safety of your employees and customers.
- When the sources of your background check are not verified your background check could have Mixed or false information. There have been instances where candidates have lost opportunities because an unverified source had mixed up records for the candidate and someone else with a similar name.
Inaccurate Background Screening can be Problematic
Nearly 21,000 workers were victims of workplace violence in 2019, Over 400 people were victims of workplace homicide in 2018. If someone who has a history of being convicted for violent crimes is hired because of an incomplete background check, you can see how this situation can present concerns for workplace safety.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, drug and alcohol abuse is the cause of 65% of on-the-job accidents. They also reported that 38 to 50 percent of all workers compensation claims are related to workplace alcohol and drug abuse. Drug tests are often done for positions that require the use of heavy machinery. If your Background check is inaccurate, you could potentially miss someone’s history of substance abuse and put them, your employees, or even your company at risk.
How Long Does a Criminal Record Last?
This information varies from state to state. While some states can report indefinitely, many have limitations on how long a criminal record is reported for. Some states have 7-to-10-year restrictions for felonies and some states have 5, 7, or 10-year restrictions for misdemeanors. While a criminal record might show up for a long time, it is up to the employer to determine the weight of it in their hiring process. Many employers do consider the length of time since conviction. If a candidate has had a clean record for a long time most people would not consider them to be a potential threat anymore. Many states prohibit the use of criminal records in the hiring process unless the conviction is directly related to the type of work.