Frequently Asked Questions for Pre-Employment Background Screening

business man in black suit Below are answers to frequently asked questions about background screening and employment verification and how pre-employment background screening companies can help.

1. Why do background checks?

Conducting background screening on employees has become a matter of necessity for employers for several reasons. Many applicants make false claims on their job applications and/or resumes. There are instances where applicants have been involved in criminal activity, yet choose not to disclose it. If you want to ensure a safer workplace and avoid negligent hiring lawsuits, the amount you would pay to pre-screen your applicants is very small compared to the legal fees you may potentially pay later.

2. What searches are included in a background check?

County Criminal Record Checks, MVR Reports, Employment Verification, Education Verification, and Social Security Number Address Traces are basic searches ordered as a part of most background checks.

3. What does a Social Security Number Trace reveal?

This is a very essential search that comes from credit headers. The results of this search will reveal all of the counties your applicant has reported using their Social Security Number, as well as dates reported and any other names your applicant may have used. This search is highly recommended because your applicant could have purposefully or inadvertently failed to disclose this information when they completed the disclosure and authorization for background investigation form, because they may be trying to hide something.

4. How long does it take to get reports from pre-employment background check companies?

Results will be returned in 24 – 72 business hours in most cases. There are cases in which a county search may have delayed results. You should select a screening company you know will keep you constantly updated because excellent customer service should be a huge deciding factor.

5. Does your company provide services nationwide?

Yes. Employers Choice Screening is a nationwide provider of employment background screening services, as well as internationally.

6. Does my applicant need to complete a signed release?

Yes. Each applicant needs to complete and sign a release in order to be in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

7. May I just use my own release form?

No. The Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA), who is providing you with the confidential information about your applicant, must be listed on the release form. Your applicant is entitled to know who is providing you with the information. This is also required in case of any adverse action.

8. Are your processes compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)?

Yes. Employers Choice Screening is a founding member of the National Association for Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). We adhere to all guidelines set forth by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), federal, and state laws.

9. How do you ensure confidential information is secure?

Our organization ensures the privacy and protection of our clients’ data through systematic security measures in the areas of information technology. This information is hosted on our own secure servers. We back-up all of our data on a daily basis and have all the necessary firewalls in place. Our reporting system is available only to our clients (authorized users), and all transmitted information is encrypted.

10. What is negligent hiring?

Negligent hiring refers to a cause of action that arises from an employer’s obligation to not hire an applicant that they knew or should have known was likely to undertake conduct against other individuals or otherwise subject employees or third parties to actions which can create legal liability. Through negligent hiring lawsuits, many employers have been found liable for their failure to conduct appropriate due diligence through a pre-employment background investigation. Negligent hiring and retention lawsuits have cost many companies millions of dollars in damages. Conducting background checks prior to hiring employees will help to protect your organization from the potential of civil litigation.

11. How far back does an employment background check go?

Typically, employers requesting an employment background screening on an applicant will request a seven year history, although some states allow reporting information of up to 10 years. If in the state of California, a potential applicant would be offered a salary of at least $125,000.00, the CRA can go back as far as 10 years. If this is not the case, the maximum allowed reportable period the state of California is seven years.

Aside from California, there are 11 additional states that limit the reporting of a conviction to seven years from the date of disposition, end of parole, or release from prison. The states listed and income exceptions are as follows:
Colorado – $75,000.00 (income exception), Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York – $25,000.00 (income exception), Texas – $75,000.00 (income exception), and Washington – $20,000.00 (income exception).

12. What are my obligations as an employer under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)?

The applicant must complete and sign a release form provided to you by your background screening company. The release must be submitted to the background screening company, prior to conducting any type of background investigation, where an employment decision will be made. Provide your applicant with “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act,” and if in California, the California statement of consumer rights. These forms are hand-outs, advising your applicant’s of their rights when a consumer report is being requested about them. It is your obligation as an employer to maintain this information in your records for a minimum of five years.

13. If I decide to not hire someone based on the results of the background report, may I just “tell” them I am not going to hire them because of the results of the background check?

No. You are legally obligated to go through the following steps to disqualify someone employment due to the results of the background check:

  • Provide your applicant with a pre-adverse action letter, a copy of the entire background report, a Summary of your Rights Under the FCRA form, and if in California, The California Statement of Consumer Rights form.
  • Your applicant has 3-5 business days to resolve and/or dispute any negative information contained in their report.
  • The pre-adverse action letter must include the name of the CRA, address and phone number so your applicant can contact the CRA, if they wish to do so, in order to find out the details regarding the negative information they wish to dispute.
  • Should the period of 3-5 business days pass and your applicant has not demonstrated they are in the process of disputing the information contained in their report, you must then provide your applicant with an adverse-action letter, a copy of the entire background report, “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act,” and if in California, the California statement of consumer rights. The adverse action letter communicates to your applicant they are no longer being considered for employment and their decision was influenced by in the Consumer and/or Investigative Report, made at the employers request and provided by the name, address, and phone number of the CRA.

14. Does your price include a 9-panel drug test?

No. We can add a 9-panel urine drug screen for an additional $39.99.

15. Are you a NAPBS Accredited firm?  If so, when is your accreditation up for renewal?

Yes.  We were certified in March of 2017; therefore, our accreditation will be up for renewal in March of 2019. Additionally, all of our employees are FCRA Certified by the NAPBS.

Note: we are also ISO 9001-2015 certified

16. Do you cap your county criminal searches, if the volume of individual counties ever go over a certain amount per candidate on an order?

No we do not cap our county criminal searches. We include all counties resided in within the last 7 years, any alias are an additional $10.99 for all counties

If so, what do you cap your county criminal searches at per candidate? N/A

17. How many calls/attempts do you make per verification (Employment, Education, References) before closing out the verification?

We make two attempts each day to get verification, the length (typically 3 business days) of time is completely up to the client.

18. Do you charge extra for additional attempts?

If you would like us to contact more than twice a day, there is a fee of $5 per additional attempt.

How much detail do you provide on the candidate report for each call/attempt made (e.g., “made quality attempt”, “busy signal” versus a date and time stamp plus who was called and when you are calling back)?

Below is a example of pending notes that our clients can view from the search page:

pre-employment background screening

19. Do we have a dedicated customer service team and point of contact?

Yes, you will be assigned your own dedicated account rep to handle all customer service related questions, here in the USA and speak English.

20. What times are our customer service teams available?

7:00 am PST – 5:00 pm PST

21. Do you have offices in all time zones?

No, our physical location is on the west coast, and do have a live person answering our phones 24/7.

22. Are you currently in any litigation or have ever been in class action litigation?  If so, can you describe the general cases and when they occurred?

No to both questions, we have been in business for 15 years.

23. Do you provide free integrations with ATS/HRIS Systems?

We currently use ADP Workforce Now.

Our system does integrate with ADP workforce, I will have to check with my programmers to see if there are any fees for(implementation, ongoing maintenance, etc.)

24. How much would you charge if we move to a new ATS in the future (e.g., SAP/SuccessFactors)?

I will follow up with you on this question (There may or may not be a charge depending on the ATS system).

25. Do you provide 3rd party and state/county fees at their raw rates (with no additional charges other than what the states, counties and 3rd parties charge)?

All (court, state DMV, & 3rd party verification) access fees are raw and simply a pass though fee and we do not mark up these fees.

26. Will you place in writing that you will not charge additional rates other than what the actual/specific pass through rates are from those state, county and/or private agencies?

Yes, this language is already in our end-user client service agreement.

27. Will you provide monthly set meetings to all of our locations/local systems, reviewing turnaround time, volume trends and discussing additional efficiencies?

Yes, we can schedule a monthly meeting to discuss performance and concerns (re: reviewing turnaround time, volume trends and efficiencies)

28. Will there be any additional charge for monthly meetings with turnaround time and volume data provided and discussed each month in a set conference call with each local system?

There would not be any additional cost incurred.

29. What do you charge, if anything, for candidate contact if we select an adverse action based on results of your report?

There is no additional cost for us to facilitate the per-adverse/adverse action process. It provided as a value added complimentary service.

30. Do you review and audit all national criminal database potential hit information at the local counties (for false positive information)?

Yes, any hits on our database searches must be researched in the county of record.

31. Do you charge for the review of potential hits at the local county levels?

Yes, there is an additional charge for each hit at the county level search.

32. Do we have access to all of your senior management personnel whenever needed to call direct?

Yes.

33. How fast will you get back to us as a Service Level Agreement guarantee?

All customer service questions are issued a trouble ticket instantly we respond within the hour during normal business hours.

34. How fast will you add on additional services and  packages when new services and packages are requested on the account?

Adding additional searches/custom packages to the client account is done within minutes after approval from client.

35. Do you send court runners into all of the county court houses nationwide, as a primary step of each package containing county criminal courts, when those courts are not on real-time data?

Yes, we do provide “hand searches” by licensed court researchers in counties that do not offer real time public access.

36. What is your % of missing criminal hits per year?

Our accuracy is to within 1%.

37. Do you have your Soc2 Certification?

development of our applicant screening system. Attention is given to high publicity threats such as viruses, denial of service attacks, and other malicious activities over the internet, as well as, to maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive application data such as credit reports, social security numbers, and other personally identifying information.

Our applicant screening system development staff uses industry-leading technology to secure operating environment, including client authentication (password-controlled access), data encryption, public-private key pair, firewalls, intrusion detection, filtering routers, and data backups. Each component acts as a layer of protection to safeguard information from unauthorized users, deliberate malfeasance, and inadvertent loss.

We maintain PCI-DSS and E13PA compliance certifications and subscribe to QUALYS for continuous monitoring for system security and compliance. We also use a shared responsibility model with Amazon web services who participate in SOC Compliance. This SOC 2 Audit Report confirms that ECS meets the high standards set by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) for confidentiality, privacy, and security in protecting consumer data used in background checks. Documents can be viewed at https://aws.amazon.com/compliance/soc-faqs/.

38. Have you ever been breached and what security measures do you have in place?

We have never had a breach. You can find our Privacy Statement located here.

39. Now that Marijuana is legal, how can employers use positive drug tests?

Please keep in mind that the federal government still considers marijuana a schedule I narcotic (illicit drug), therefore you can use positive marijuana drug results in making a hiring decision due to the fact that you are enforcing your 100% drug free workplace policy.

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