5 Common Recruiter Questions About Background Checks in the U.S.

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HireRight conducted approximately 12.5 million background checks in 2017. That’s a lot of checks! And many questions are still asked about background checks – even from recruiters. So we’ve answered a few of the most often-asked here. Unlike being able to type a few keystrokes on the computer CSI style and get a full report on anyone, the actual process can be quite complex.

If you find these facts helpful, please feel free to share them with your colleagues!

Video: Everything You Wanted to Know About Background Checks

1. How long do background checks take?

It depends on the depth of information requested by the employer and other factors, including:

  • Checking backgrounds of candidates who have lived, worked or gone to school in multiple locations may require additional time. Overseas employment may add considerable length.
  • Calls to former employers and schools may be not be returned in a timely manner, particularly during holidays. Worse, schools may have closed and former employers may have gone out of business.
  • Possible findings must be confirmed and reviewed prior to reporting and may nominally increase turnaround time but help ensure accuracy and completeness.

Speed and turnaround time are critical, but thoroughness and accuracy remains paramount.

2. Why can’t you just access that “CSI”-type database and get instant criminal background info?
  • Because, in reality, no single comprehensive source of complete and accurate criminal records data exists. Public records are the responsibility of thousands of individual counties throughout the U.S. A diligent criminal background check includes sourcing criminal history at the local level.
3. What does a successful background checking program look like?
  • It may be different for government-regulated industries, global organizations that hire employees from overseas, and those that employ a large extended workforce (contractors, contingent labor, etc.).
  • Best practices may include:
    • Standardized policy and uniform processes
    • Helping candidates understand and prepare for a background check
    • Mobile technology for the candidate to input and receive information
    • Screening executives/re-screening employees
    • Adherence to applicable current regulations (FCRA, EEOC, ban-the-box and pay equity legislation).
 4. Do I actually need to conduct E-Verify checks?
  • Federal law requires all employers to fill out Form I-9 for new employees, but E-Verify is not required of all employers. However, some employers subject to certain State or Federal laws are mandated to use E-Verify.
5. Why go through all of these convoluted processes when candidates could just be looked up on a search engine or social media?
  • Legal risks. A candidate may claim that he or she was not hired because an employer, in reviewing online information, discriminated based on the candidate’s age, race, religion, medical history, or nationality.
  • A web or social media search may locate an individual with the same name as the candidate, but the search results could be for an entirely different person.

Compliance. A background check vendor is considered a Credit Reporting Agency (CRA) and along with an employer, is subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which helps protect a candidates rights by requiring that employers take certain steps when requesting and reviewing a candidate’s background report. The CRA must also ensure that the information that they report is accurate and complete.

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Lewis Lustman

Lewis Lustman is a content marketer who enjoys developing materials that engage, inform, challenge, and hopefully entertain my audience. Lewis is a former journalist for Los Angeles Magazine and the Los Angeles Times, and has worked for a number of leading advertising, marketing, technology, and PR firms over the years. Interested in a topic that he hasn't yet tackled? Drop him a line in the comments section!

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