has identified the following practices of highly effective background screening firms. While every employer has unique requirements these practices provide a solid set of criteria for employer’s to use in selecting a qualified background screening firm. Les Rosen, past president, National Association of Professional Background Screeners states in an article in Occupational Health & Safety, ‘Background Screening and Safe Hiring: An Introduction:’ “An employer should look for a professional partner, not just an information vendor selling data at the lowest price. An employer should apply the same criteria that it would use in selecting any other provider of critical professional services. For example, if a employer were choosing a law firm for legal representation, it would not select the cheapest-it would clearly want to know it is selecting a firm that is competent, experienced, and knowledgeable, as well as reputable and reasonably priced. The same criteria should also apply to critical HR services.” A good background screening firm can keep you out of hot water, while a poor one can get you into hot water.


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10 Practices of Highly Effective Background Screening Firms




Provides ‘Full Service’ background screening including the following:

    • Verification of identity, e.g., social security, etc.
    • Criminal and civil records; Felonies and misdemeanors (where allowed by law)
    • County, State and Federal records
    • Driving and professional license records
    • Previous employment, resume and education verification


    • Credit history as applicable



Certifies that all information sent to clients will be in compliance with all applicable federal, state and local privacy, EEO, consumer reporting and other appropriate laws.


Certifies that all permanent and temporary staff have criminal background checks conducted on them and have acceptable histories.


Response time meets their client’s hiring needs (turn around time to provide data for a decision to be made)


A written procedure exists that defines their firm’s process for protecting applicant information, destroying necessary information and protecting the privacy of sensitive data.


Has certification in states that require Background Screening firms to be certified.


Fully explains limitations of National Databases to clients.


Has the capability for their database(s) to interface and/or to be integrated with the client’s HR and/or Employment information system(s).


Has the capability to collect information from court houses in jurisdictions appropriate to meet clients needs and provides reporting processes congruent with client’s needs, e.g. web based reporting. Etc.


Has specific procedures and processes in place to shield client from acquiring or viewing ‘protected information’ or information that might expose the client to legal liability. Documentation exist verifying that staff is properly trained in appropriate information management.