The safety of your company’s employees, customers, and associates must always be a top priority. This is why background checks that are conducted by trained, knowledgeable individuals should always be on your to-do list when hiring new employees or researching existing ones.

But, have you ever wondered how background screeners obtain the information they are able to provide to hiring managers? We thought it’d be nice to pull back the curtain a little bit and explain where and how our researchers are able to access the records necessary to help you keep your business and the people who support it safe and sound.

Basic Records

When a researcher runs a background check, the first thing he or she will do is run a Social Security Number / Address Trace through the Credit Bureaus. Using the information obtained, the researcher is then able to better guide the searches for criminal history to match where the applicant has lived and reported credit since receiving their SSN.

Education Records

Lying about education on a resume is in the top three of most common resume lies. This is why it’s so important that background screeners are as meticulous as possible, especially if the position requires a certain type or level of education.

The primary way that screeners conduct education verification is by reaching out directly to the schools themselves. While this is often effective, most verifications are limited to dates of enrollment, date(s) of graduation, and degrees achieved. Most of the time, however, this information suffices.

Employment Records

Obtaining employment records can be a tricky endeavor. Due to concerns of liability, most employers are extremely hesitant to provide anything beyond what most would consider to be very basic information about the applicant. Typically, this means that they are restricted to dates of employment, the position(s) held, and sometimes if the applicant is eligible for rehire. That being said, this is exactly what the majority of hiring managers need to verify in order to make sure an applicant’s employment history is on the up-and-up.

Financial Records

Depending on the company and position, a hiring manager or business owner may want to be provided with financial information about an applicant. In these cases, pre-employment credit checks allow hiring managers to look for any signs of “money challenges,” which include potentially negative items such as liens, bankruptcies, and delinquent accounts.

The position’s responsibilities must warrant this kind of detailed search to gain access to these types of records. As with all background checks, a signed consent form must first be obtained, which provides permission for companies to receive this information from the credit bureaus. Searches of this level are also often restricted to highly regulated industries (banking, mortgage, etc.) in addition to responsibility-specific hires.

National Records

Next up, researchers will often access criminal background and sex offender records at the national level. These records come from participating jurisdictions throughout the U.S. and will provide information on any misdemeanors, felonies, and national sex offender records dependent upon the dissemination practices and timing of information sharing of each jurisdiction. It is important to note that access to these types of records are dependent upon the dissemination practices and timing of each jurisdiction when sharing this information to the Nationwide Criminal Database.

Federal Records and Global Sanctions

At the federal level, researchers can search for criminal records that are more serious in scope, including crimes committed across state lines. Background screening companies can also check as to whether or not an applicant is on a terrorist watch list or is otherwise banned from doing business in the U.S.

State and County Records

To further expand a criminal search, researchers also check records at the state, county, and local levels. What surprises many people is the fact that these local searches are often more accurate than the national criminal search because not all courts report to the Nationwide Criminal Database on a regular, systematic basis. Knowing that this national resource may be incomplete or inaccurate for a variety of reasons, it can be much more accurate to access the information directly from the specific State or County court that the charge was adjudicated in.

This list represents just a few ways that information is obtained whenever you order a background search. Background screeners have an important job to do, and the ones employed by NationSearch take that job very seriously. If you’re a business in need of searching for employment verification, criminal records, or even screening employees for drug abuse, give us a call and we’ll conduct thorough searches that will put your mind at ease.