Most businesses don’t pre-screen employees on their own. Usually, they partner with another company. This is known as a third-party background check. So, what does this mean?
What Is a Background Check?
People often equate background checks with criminal record checks, yet screenings can investigate much more than criminal history. Background checks also include motor vehicle record searches, credit reports, civil record searches, professional license verifications, academic verifications, reference checks, drug screening and more. Generally, the more responsibility a person has, the most comprehensive their background check should be. For instance, a company may only run criminal record checks on their salesclerks but more extensive screening on their executives.
What Is a Third-Party Background Check?
Let’s say a company decides to screen a new hire. They could send the HR manager to the local courthouse to check for any criminal records. In this case, there are just two parties involved in the verification process. However, most organizations don’t have the resources or the expertise to conduct background checks on their own. As a result, they choose to outsource screening to third-party provider. This may be a credit reporting agency (CRA) or a background screening firm.
Why Should You Consider a Third-Party Provider?
- Save Time
Ordering an MVR, verifying someone’s education and checking references can be done by anyone, but they require a time commitment. As with other specialized tasks, it may be easier (and more economical) to pay someone to do this for you. That way, you can focus on running your business.
- Receive the Most Accurate Information
Conducting a thorough background check is not a straightforward task. For example, let’s say you are trying to pull criminal records by yourself. If you simply look at area courts, you may be missing critical information. A candidate could have committed a crime in another state, and this won’t show up at the county level. Professional screening companies have the tools to span federal, national, state and local databases. Thus, giving you the most complete, accurate and up-to-date information.
- Take Advantage of Expert Advice
The right screening firm will offer guidance and advice to help your organization make the best-possible hiring decisions. They can assist you in answering important questions such as: Which screening services should we run? Should we conduct different searches for distinct roles? Which results raise red flags? Which results can we disregard? And what types of issues require follow up?
- Stay Complaint
The rules for background checks are complicated and every changing. In many cases, your organization will be subject to federal, state, county and even city laws. Keeping track of everything may seem nearly impossible. That’s where third-party providers come in. As background checking experts, they’ll keep on top of all the rules and regulations. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about facing fines or lawsuits over compliance issues.
Does Third-Party Background Verification Require Extra Steps?
Yes! Third-party background checks are regulated by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act or FCRA. Although the name is misleading, the FCRA applies to all consumer reports not just credit reports. Basically, the FCRA requires business to receive an individual’s consent before conducting a background check. Why is this necessary? Because there are multiple parties involved, sometimes mistakes happen. And ultimately, denying someone a job over a reporting error negatively impacts both that person AND your organization. Not only have you potentially lost a top performer, but you could have subjected your company to costly FCRA litigation.
Are Online Searches Considered Third-Party?
They can be. Therefore, proceed with caution. If you run a third-party online search without someone’s consent, you could be violating the FCRA as well as Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) laws.
How Can You Choose the Best Screening Partner?
- Look for PBSA Accreditation
The Professional Background Screening Association or PBSA is national organization dedicated to promoting excellence in the background screening industry. To receive PBSA accreditation, providers must undergo a rigorous series of audits every five years. The PBSA seal of approval helps to guarantee you are working with a highly rated service. This acts as an added layer of protection against bad hiring decisions, negligent hiring lawsuits and compliance issues. You can easily find an accredited firm by searching the PBSA Directory.
- Ask About Online Portals
Today, most screening services offer 24/7 online portals. These interfaces make it simpler for candidates to submit their consent forms and easier for you to request and view reports. When you’re searching for a partner, be sure to request of demo of their portal. Assess usability as well as security protocols such as multifactor authentication. After all, you’re dealing with sensitive information, and it’s your business’s responsibility to keep this data safe.
- Evaluate Price
If the price tag seems too good to be true, it probably is. Remember, top providers put considerable time, effort and resources into their processes. Thus, they need to charge accordingly. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t expect to pay top dollar either. Many companies offer package deals, discount bundles (for larger corporations) and customizable packages (for smaller businesses). Shop around to match the best services with the best price.
Does Your Company Need Help Running Background Checks?
As Western New York’s leading pre-employment screening firm, Metrodata Services would be happy to partner with your business. We offer comprehensive background checks, customizable packages, cutting-edge technology and reasonable pricing. Contact us today to find out if Metrodata could be the right choice for your organization!