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Top Background Check Providers

Best Background Check Software for Pre-Employment Screening

We tested 30+ background check tools, here are the top background check software providers, reviewed and compared by our HR experts.

Anh Nguyen
Written by
Anh Nguyen
No ads, just real software reviews. An independent writer and a bad BUT wholeheartedly enthusiastic dancer
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Last Updated: Apr 11, 2024
TOP
15+ screening products
Certn
4.5
Popularity Score
4.8
User Score
4.8
Product  Score
Visit Website
TOP
15+ screening products
Certn
4.5
Popularity Score
4.8
User Score
4.8
Product  Score
Learn More
TOP
Best background check software for ease of use
Checkr
4.6
Popularity Score
4.1
User Score
4.5
Product  Score
Visit Website
TOP
Best background check software for ease of use
Checkr
4.6
Popularity Score
4.1
User Score
4.5
Product  Score
Learn More
TOP
Comprehensive background check software
VerifiedFirst
4.7
Popularity Score
4.3
User Score
4.7
Product  Score
Visit Website
TOP
Comprehensive background check software
VerifiedFirst
4.7
Popularity Score
4.3
User Score
4.7
Product  Score
Learn More
Over 3 million HR leaders trust our advice

Introduction to Background Check Services

Background check software or pre-employment background screening solution is designed to streamline the process of running identity verification, employment history, education and certifications, criminal records, drug testing, and more on your potential hires. Top background check service providers help employers focus their recruiting efforts on the right candidates, stay compliant with the latest screening regulations, and create a safe and more diverse working environment.

We’re confident that this guide on the top background check vendors includes everything worth knowing to help you find the best option for your budget and needs.

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Top Background Check Providers

Certn

: 15+ screening products

Checkr

: Best background check software for ease of use

VerifiedFirst

: Comprehensive background check software

HireRight

: Top international background check tool

Our Criteria: Here's How We Chose The Top Background Check Providers

To choose the best background check service providers, our experts attended demos, tested these services first-hand, and interviewed industry experts. The five factors we found most crucial to make background check tools useful are: accuracy and comprehensiveness, compliance and legal considerations, turnaround time, user-friendliness, and customer service.

  • Accuracy and comprehensiveness: Any data that guides your hiring decisions should always be accurate and comprehensive. We’ve looked for vendors whose searches carried out on multiple public and private data sources to provide comprehensive background check report on criminal records, employment history, education verification, and more.
  • Compliance and legal considerations: To ensure that you follow all applicable screening laws like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), we only picked employment background screening providers that are compliant with federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
  • Turnaround time: Delayed results are harmful for both candidate experience and the employer’s finance and reputation. That's why we chose services with efficient background check processes and access to extensive databases for quicker results.
  • Ease of use: Both you and candidates deserve a service that makes background checks easy and hassle-free. We sought out solutions with mobile-optimized interfaces that lets applicants finish and track their screening easily. These tools also makes things simple and efficient for employer users to order checks, communicate with candidates, and interpret the results.
  • Customer care: We selected tools with a good balance of self-service (help centers and live chat) and human support (phone and email). Some of our top picks, such as HireRight and Certn, even offer region/country-specific support for better assistance.

If you want to know more about our evaluation process, check out our HR software evaluation guidelines.

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Compare the Top Background Check Providers

Popularity Score
Best for
Key Differentiator
Pricing
Free Trial
Customers
Users Score
Product Score

Certn

Most Popular
4.5
4.8
4.8

Checkr

Most Popular
4.6
Gig and marketplace companies
Agile, easy-to-use background check software
$29.99/check
No
10,000+ companies
4.1
4.5

VerifiedFirst

Most Popular
4.7
4.3
4.7

HireRight

Most Popular
4.3
Running international background checks
150+ screening services available in 22+ languages
Custom Pricing
No
37,000+ companies
2.2
3.4
Phil Strazzulla
HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Software Enthusiast

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Detailed Reviews of the Best Background Check Services

Certn

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Certn
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Popularity Score
4.5 / 5
User Score
4.8 / 5
Product Score
4.8 / 5

Why we picked Certn

Certn's slick user interface can reduce your hiring time by 80%. In fact, it only takes about 15 minutes for workers to get through the screening process. And even if you're hiring internationally, Certn can help verify country-specific documents in a jiffy.

PROS

CONS

Certn Review

Certn is a newer entry to the pre-employment screening company.  They were founded by data scientists and have built a next generation tech stack that allows them to process background checks in record time with competitive pricing.  Additionally, they allow for international background checks, and customized checks for different types of employees.

Certn Customers

Telus Ventures, Hudson's Bay, Grammarly, WestJet, ATB, Beacon HR.

Certn Pricing

Each of Certn’s screening services is priced separately at a flat fee for employers that conduct 50 or fewer checks a year. For employers that conduct more than 50 checks a year, custom pricing can be provided by Certn’s sales team. Visit Certn’s pricing page to learn more.

Best For

Businesses of all sizes across different industries.

Certn in action
Reviewer's Rating
9/10

Certn is our background check provider, we use it for Criminal Background checks post offer. We have it integrated into our ATS, Pinpoint, which makes a seamless process for the Talent Acquisition team and the candidates.

What do you like about this tool?
  • Mobile Friendly
  • Easy for end users to use
  • Very quick responses for Canadian background checks
  • You pay per check, so the cost is variable

Why did your organization buy this tool, and how long have you used it for?

We have used Certn for over 2 years. We hire a number of frontline employees in the US, and our previous background check system wasn't as optimized for mobile and easy to use. Both of which were an issue for the workforce we were hiring. Certn is very mobile-friendly and easy to use.

What do you dislike about this tool?
  • Account reps keep leaving, so we keep getting new account reps.
  • yearly price increases
  • Billing UX is poor

How is this tool different than their competitors?

Better mobile vs other competitors

What Instructions should people think about when buying this type of tool?

Understand your requirements before searching for a new tool. Integration to your ATS is likely key, and it was part of our decision-making process.

How has this tool changed or evolved over time to meet users needs?

It keeps evolving, but nothing massive has changed (in a good way)

What specific type of user or organization is this tool very good for?

Any organization that is looking to do criminal background checks. Big or small, it works well.

What specific type of user or organization would this tool not be a good fit for?

Not sure, I don't think there’s any.

Checkr

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Checkr
Learn More
Popularity Score
4.6 / 5
User Score
4.1 / 5
Product Score
4.5 / 5

Why we picked Checkr

Checkr uses AI-powered technology to produce clear, transparent background screening progress and results. Plus, this platform has a user-friendly UI and first-class product training resources.

PROS

  • Frequently updated Compliance Engine ensures only legally reportable info is included.
  • Intuitive, mobile-friendly design.
  • Native chatbot for quick candidate support.
  • Comprehensive training materials.
  • Mass-invite candidates via email.
  • Multilingual support (English, French, Spanish, and German).
  • NAPBS, BBB, and PBSA accredited.
  • Frequently updated Compliance Engine ensures only legally reportable info is included.
  • Intuitive, mobile-friendly design.
  • Native chatbot for quick candidate support.
  • Comprehensive training materials.
  • Mass-invite candidates via email.
  • Multilingual support (English, French, Spanish, and German).
  • NAPBS, BBB, and PBSA accredited.

CONS

  • Turnaround time is longer than competitors, with some checks taking weeks.
  • Additional costs for multiple checks on top of package fees.
  • No phone support. Support response time can be slow.
  • Turnaround time is longer than competitors, with some checks taking weeks.
  • Additional costs for multiple checks on top of package fees.
  • No phone support. Support response time can be slow.
Checkr-background-check-tool-screenshot

Checkr Review

Of all the employment background check software tools we have tested, Checkr’s UI is by far our favorite. It’s clean and tidy, with all essentials placed neatly on the dashboard: candidate check statuses, order background checks, analytics, and more.

The product training materials this platform has built out also deserve a shoutout. In addition to the help center, you get bite-sized tutorial videos and regular live training, so it’d be rare to experience any head-scratching moment when checking out the tool.

Laying AI in user experience elements is another thing that makes Checkr stand out. Most of the feedback we’ve seen comes from employers saying this solution’s native compliance engine helped them save time by providing easy-to-digest reports that filter out all info that is not legally reportable and that they loved how it was proactive at updating itself with new legal requirements.

As for the candidates, they appreciate that Checkr’s mobile-friendly app provides clear context on what information and documents they’ll need to provide, the estimated turnaround time, and a chatbot that keeps them posted on their screening progress.

That said, Checkr does take more time than its peer Certn to produce check results. On another note, since incorrect applicant inputs and system errors are anticipated from any background check software, we’re disappointed that Checkr has no phone support, and its current support channels can take days to get back to customers’ queries.

Checkr’s screening services include: Identity verification, adverse media checks, criminal background checks, current and previous employment verification, professional license verification, professional and personal reference verification, Fraud and Abuse Control Information System (FACIS), driving record (MVR) checks, transportation (DOT) checks, drug testing, credit checks, healthcare checks, education verification, international background checks, global watchlist search, and I-9 verifications.

Checkr Customers

10,000+ organizations, including AirBnB, Netflix, and Lyft, have used Checkr to conduct employment background checks.

Checkr Pricing

The platform offers three plans for teams running under 300 background checks per year: Basic+ starts at $29.99/check, Essential at $54.99/check, and Professional at $79.99/check. Package add-ons are available at $1.70 to more than $60 per check. Possible additional fees apply.

Checkr also has a custom plan for teams running more than 300 background checks per year.

Best For

The acquisition of GoodHire accelerates Checkr's expansion into the small business segment. Now businesses of all sizes across different industries can benefit from Checkr, but it’s worth mentioning the major customers of this background check tool are gig and marketplace companies.

Checkr in action
Reviewer's Rating
10/10

Checkr is incredibly user-friendly and requires minimal effort to use. The process starts with selecting the desired background check for the candidate. Then, HR enters the candidate's basic information, such as their email address, and sends the request to the candidate. The candidate then inputs their complete information, and HR is notified once the process is entire. Finally, Checkr generates the test report and charges HR accordingly.

What do you like about this tool?

Checkr is a standout tool for HR departments due to its simplicity and ease of use. The two-step process for sending background check requests to candidates is a breeze for HR, making the process quick and effortless. Furthermore, Checkr's integration with popular HRIS systems like Rippling adds value and convenience. These factors make Checkr a highly efficient and effective tool for HR departments.

Why did your organization buy this tool, and how long have you used it for?

Our organization decided to purchase Checkr to simplify the background check process for HR. One of HR’s most significant challenges was gathering personal information from job candidates, sensitive information like Social Security Numbers. This made many candidates uncomfortable and resulted in HR needing to ask for more information than they would have preferred.

With Checkr, the process became much more straightforward. Firstly, HR only needed to gather a candidate's name and email address. Then, using the tool, HR would select the desired background check, either national or county-level, and an email would be sent to the candidate. The candidate would then be able to complete and submit their personal information directly, without HR having to collect and manage it.

The ease of use and improved experience for candidates has made Checkr an asset to our organization. We have been using it for almost two years, and it has become a crucial part of our HR processes. In addition, the implementation of Checkr has allowed us to focus on other essential tasks while also ensuring that we can perform thorough background checks on our job candidates.

Overall, we are happy with our decision to purchase Checkr. The tool has proven to be a valuable resource that has helped us to streamline our HR processes and improve the candidate experience.

What do you dislike about this tool?

One potential issue with Checkr is the response time of their support team, as it can take a long time to receive a response, which can be frustrating. Additionally, some candidates have reported that emails from Checkr sometimes end up in their spam folder, which can cause delays and inconvenience. These factors may impact the overall experience of using Checkr for background checks.

How is this tool different than their competitors?

In my opinion, Checkr stands out from its competitors due to several unique features. Unlike other tools used in the past, Checkr can be easily integrated with ATS and HRIS software, making the process smoother for HR and recruiters. Additionally, Checker’s interface is user-friendly and doesn't require HR/recruiters to input much information from the candidates.

Furthermore, Checkr's ability to perform various background checks sets it apart from other tools in the market and makes it a standout option for HR departments.

What Instructions should people think about when buying this type of tool?

When considering a tool like Checkr, there are a few essential factors to remember. Firstly, the ease of use of the tool is crucial. The process of sending background checks to candidates should be straightforward, without requiring too much information upfront. For example, the device should not require personal information like a driver's license number or social security number to be entered initially. This can help prevent losing potential candidates in the early stages of the hiring process.

How has this tool changed or evolved over time to meet users needs?

Checkr has changed and evolved to meet the needs of its users better. In the past, Checkr was a standalone tool. However, now it can be easily integrated with other HR information systems (HRIS) and applicant tracking systems (ATS), which makes it a more convenient solution for companies. This integration allows all the necessary information to be stored in one place, making Checkr a perfect tool for any company.

What specific type of user or organization is this tool very good for?

I think Checkr is ideal for a specific type of user or organization. It's particularly well-suited for warehouses, trucking, and logistics companies, as well as any firms that experience high levels of seasonal hiring. These organizations often require a fast and efficient solution for conducting background checks on many candidates in a short period, making Checkr an excellent choice for them.

What specific type of user or organization would this tool not be a good fit for?

Checkr may not be a suitable option for organizations that don't use technology for background checks and rely solely on paper-based applications.

VerifiedFirst

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VerifiedFirst
Learn More
Popularity Score
4.7 / 5
User Score
4.3 / 5
Product Score
4.7 / 5

Why we picked VerifiedFirst

VerifiedFirst has built a simple to use background check product that allows recruiting teams to request checks directly from the ATS via a Chrome extension versus having to login to yet another tool. It’s similarly easy on the employee side as they can complete the process from their phones without having to create a login.

PROS

  • The majority of users are able to get on with Verified First with little to no training needed. Verified First also offers video tutorials which can be helpful to first-time users
  • The platform integrates with several HR, ATS, and payroll software. 
  • It comes with a browser extension that helps you conduct background checks right there from your browser, without needing to log into the Verified First dashboard.

CONS

  • The platform’s pricing isn’t transparent and free trials aren’t available.
  • Zapier integration isn’t available at this time.
  • Some users reported that the background screening process can take a while.

VerifiedFirst Review

Verified First is a background screening tool that allows you to conduct a variety of background checks before hiring an employee. It covers criminal background checks, drug screening, civil records check, Form I-9 verification, E-verify verification, identity verifications, and driving record checks - eliminating any need to supplement it with other background check software or services.

VerifiedFirst Customers

Among Verified First’s many customers are ITI Global, Hawkinson Nissan, The Major Group, and Elica Health Centers.

VerifiedFirst Pricing

Verified First tailors their pricing based on the number of checks that you conduct or the number of hires. As such, their pricing is not listed on the website, but you can reach out to a Sales representative for a custom quote. The Sales rep will also be able to provide you with a live demo of the software on demand.

Best For

Verified First would best suit a mid to large-sized large organization that hires hundreds or thousands of employees a year.

VerifiedFirst in action
No items found.

HireRight

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HireRight
Learn More
Popularity Score
4.3 / 5
User Score
2.2 / 5
Product Score
3.4 / 5

Why we picked HireRight

HireRight boasts a 40,000+ customer base that includes nearly half of the Fortune 100 companies. Its USP is that it's a truly global platform and offers both international and local screening features.

PROS

  • Great international background check features.
  • Native fingerprinting capabilities.
  • 70+ ATS integrations.
  • Supports more than 22 languages.
  • ISO 27001 certified, BSCC accredited, GDPR-compliant, and PBSA-certified.
  • Great international background check features.
  • Native fingerprinting capabilities.
  • 70+ ATS integrations.
  • Supports more than 22 languages.
  • ISO 27001 certified, BSCC accredited, GDPR-compliant, and PBSA-certified.

CONS

  • Undisclosed pricing.
  • Turnover time for screening results and customer support both take longer than competitors.
  • Undisclosed pricing.
  • Turnover time for screening results and customer support both take longer than competitors.
HireRight-background-check-software-screenshot

HireRight Review

HireRight is widely known for its international background check services and huge customer base (over 40,000 companies, including many of the Fortune 500).

Feature-wise, HireRight offers quite a range of pre-employment screening services. From global-country-state criminal checks to fingerprinting and virtual I-9 that lets you remotely verify applicants’ identity via live video call, there are more than 150 services to choose from.

Of the tools we tested, only VerifiedFirst has better integration capabilities than HireRight, which can pair with 70 ATSs. And, if your software provider isn’t one of the tool’s integration partners, HireRight is open to providing an API key for free.

When we noticed that HireRight offers different email and phone support for the regions and countries it serves, we expected really good customer service coming out of this. Frankly, it’s quite the opposite. Several users from both the employer and applicant sides agreed that HireRight support is rather slow and not very helpful. It usually takes days and several follow-ups from these users themselves to get their problems resolved.

If you’re after a quick turnaround time for your background checks, HireRight is not the best bet either. It can be slow to deliver results and a bit vague too about the screening statuses.

HireRight screening services include: Criminal background services, financial background services, identity verification, education verification, professional license verification, professional qualification verification, global employment verification, aviation screening, motor vehicle records check, adverse media search, global civil litigation, compliance services, drug and alcohol testing, business services, extended workforce screening, DOT drug and alcohol verification, and DOT employment verification.

HireRight Customers

The pricing of HireRight’s plans and services isn’t disclosed on its website.

HireRight Pricing

The pricing of HireRight’s plans and services isn’t disclosed on their site. Contact a HireRight sales representative for a demo as well as a price quote according to the size and needs of your business.

Best For

HireRight is best for global enterprises screening remote and/or international candidates.

HireRight in action
Reviewer's Rating
8/10

We used HireRight to make employment decisions post-offer. (i.e. If there is a discrepancy in dates of employment) is the offer rescinded or do we allow the new hire to explain their circumstance.

Also regarding criminal history - Depending on what comes up in the background check, this is a point from a risk management perspective where we evaluate if it makes business sense to still forward with the candidate. We also used this tool to verify educational credentials as well.

I would say HireRight is used every employment new hire cycle so once a month.

HireRight at times is also used for regulatory agencies (i.e. When a regulatory agency wants to check the SOP's an employer used to hire an employee, this tool is something we refer back to.

What do you like about this tool?

HireRight can verify a good amount of employees in mass.

HireRight already has access to large aggregate data repository centers such as " The Worknumber for Everyone" and "National Student ClearingHouse" so they can verify many employers/schools pretty quickly.

HireRight’s report is easy to read.

Why did your organization buy this tool, and how long have you used it for?

My company purchased HireRight in 2015 to do background checks and new hires that we are bringing on board. I have personally used it since 2020

The benefits it provides is a quicker turnaround time in verifying criminal history, employment and education history for incoming new hires.

It provides reports of how often Hireright attempted to verify the records.

What do you dislike about this tool?

HireRight is not as thorough with verifying every specific detail. They are not as tenacious as other background check companies that I have used in the past.

How is this tool different than their competitors?

I wouldn't say they are too different compared to their competitors - in terms of pricing, they are probably better than their peer group.

What Instructions should people think about when buying this type of tool?

How many people internally in HR are going to use this platform. You can just have a few superusers and share the login to save money.

How has this tool changed or evolved over time to meet users needs?

I think it has been basically the same.

What specific type of user or organization is this tool very good for?

All organizations since they have pricing models for different sizes of an organization.

What specific type of user or organization would this tool not be a good fit for?

I think it works for all organizations

Key Features of Background Check Software

Key features you can expect to find in a top background check tool include FCRA compliance, applicant tracking system (ATS) & API integration, and mobile optimization.

  • Compliance: Arguably, the most important functionalities of any background check provider in this space is their FCRA compliance. FCRA-compliant providers come with adverse action notifications and clear disclosure to candidates. Some are also accredited by the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA), so you can rest assured that the data they pull is accurate and compliant. EEOC and Ban-the-Box policies are some other compliances to check for to eliminate biases and promote fair screening practices.
  • Integration with ATS and other HR software tools: With an integration, key data collected from the background check software, like previous employers, education history, and criminal history, will be automatically stored in your ATS or HRIS. Some providers, like Verified First and Atlantic Employee Screening, even let you screen a candidate from the ATS.
  • Mobile-optimized: Most vendors will also provide a mobile-optimized self-service portal where employer users can initiate and manage background checks efficiently while candidates can access their screens right from their mobile devices.
  • Status tracking and real-time reporting: Top background check service providers give you nearly up-to-the-minute results, so you’ll know you’re getting the most accurate information on a candidate’s background. These providers also often provide real-time status tracking so you can keep track of your screening progress.
  • Log of candidate communications: Store your communications with a candidate in case there is ever an issue that requires an audit.
  • Ability to send 613 notice to candidates: The 613 notice refers to section 613 of the FCRA, which says that if a potential criminal record is found, the reporting agency (i.e, the background check tool you choose) must notify both the candidate and the company (i.e. you) of the findings.
  • Streamlined onboarding: To make things less admin-heavy for both employers and potential hires, many background check services nowadays provide digital versions of Form I9, E-verify, and other tax and onboarding forms, including direct deposit forms and emergency contact info.
  • Global reach: Most background screening companies on this list (like Sterling and Certn) can collect relevant records from up to 200 countries, so if you typically hire candidates internationally, you can easily take care of their background checks, too.
  • Customer support: Being with top background check software means a reliable customer support team will be available by phone, email, and/or chat during and outside normal business hours if you or a candidate have any questions about a particular step in your screening process.

Pro Tips on Background Check Services

How Much Do Background Check Services Cost?

When it comes to pricing options for background check software, there are five common choices:

  • Free: A few background check vendors offer free plans. For example, Seon is free for 2 users and 500 manual checks per month and HiPeople allows for 1 candidate check free of charge. These plans are quite basic yet can serve as a good starting point for small business owners. 
  • Free trial: Veriff and Turn are a rare few preemployment screening providers that have a free trial.
  • Per-check: Most vendors structure their offerings this way, with fees ranging from as low as $5 to $10, though the average is typically around $30 per check.
  • Enterprise usage: This option is for users who typically run more than 300 checks per year and often comes with a discounted volume price.
  • One-time license: While not as common, some vendors like WorkWolf offer a one-time license fee for perpetual access to the software, without ongoing subscription fees.

It's also essential to be aware that additional fees, for example passthrough fees, may apply for accessing certain data sources. For example, county fees can cost from a few cents to as much as $100.

Benefits of Employment Background Check Services

68% of organizations say they experienced an increased risk of employee fraud after COVID-19. Lowering that risk and building a safer work environment are some of the benefits you can get from using a top background check tool.

  • Improve recruiter productivity: These tools are designed to reduce the time-consuming administrative tasks associated with running background checks and even onboarding new hires. Armed with a good background check software tool, you can expect faster access to candidates’ records, and digitized versions of necessary tax and onboarding forms (like direct deposit, emergency contact, etc.)
  • Stay compliant: The last thing you want to do is violate any labor laws that could result in a lawsuit or a government fine. Using FCRA-compliant screening providers ensures that you’re using the right practices to hire the right people for your company.
  • Keep a safe working environment: Accurate background check reports tell you if someone is a known criminal, sex offender, or even a terrorist. Plus, the screening can be ongoing, as in before and after a candidate gets hired. This means you’ll only hire people who do not pose a risk to the safety of your company and people in long-term.
  • Better hiring overall: Not only can you make more informed decisions and move more quickly through the hiring process by only focusing on the right candidates, but you’ll have more inclusive hiring as well. After all, you’ll be running the same checks on everyone, thereby eliminating any bias or human error that might otherwise cause someone to be overlooked.
  • Improve candidate experience and conversion: With user-friendly forms, mobile-friendly options, and real-time report update automation offered by background check service providers, candidates will have a better application and hiring experience. As a result, they’ll be more inclined to accept an offer.

Common Mistakes When Using Background Check Tools

While many background check service providers are similar, not all are created equal. Watch out for these common mistakes to make sure you choose the right vendor for your company and needs.

  • A rushed screening investigation: A background check that is done too fast could set you up for costly hiring mistakes, from unintendedly turning down a potential employee due to incomplete/inaccurate data to ending up onboarding applicants whom you shouldn’t have. For example, if a criminal check only takes a few hours, you likely aren’t getting data from the county-level criminal system. In general, you should expect to get such result from a compliant provider within 24-48 hours.
  • Overlooking vendor’s compliance practices: Not all companies that run background checks are FCRA-compliant. Oftentimes, the cheaper a background check service is, the less likely it’ll have a robust compliance department that continuously monitors regulatory changes to make sure its screening processes remain above board.
  • Failing to keep a consistent, uniform screening process for all: Even if your gut tells you there is definitely something/nothing wrong about a candidate, always make sure you run the same background checks on them as you do with the rest of the applicants to keep things fair and consistent.
  • No people oversee reports: Not all “hits” are criminal, so you need human review. A fingerprint could just mean someone was arrested, not guilty of a crime. To make sure you are accurately interpreting results, you need to have an actual person look at the results to determine the criminal nature, if any.
  • Going too far with background checks: Background checks generally cover varying timeframes. According to iprospectcheck, it’s 7 to 10 years for criminal and federal checks, 3 to 7 years for employment verifications, 3 to 7 years for motor vehicle records (MVR) checks, and 7 years or longer for credit checks based on the position. Per FirstAdvantage’s 2023 data, 69% of companies request at least 5 years of address history when performing criminal checks. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that some states, including California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts, restrict reporting on criminal cases that are older than 7 years. Plus, some don’t allow employers to obtain certain personal info.

Demo Questions to Ask Background Check Vendors

Here are some detailed questions that can help you better evaluate background check vendors.

  • Where do you obtain candidate data from, and do you operate in all states where we employ people?
  • Do you offer global background checks?
  • How do you stay updated on regulatory changes? Can you provide examples of how your software handles discrepancies or outdated background information?
  • How does your software integrate with our existing HR tech stacks?
  • What is the typical turnaround time for conducting background checks?
  • Is there a self-service portal for candidates to track the progress of their background checks? Can you show the candidate workflow as well as the HR workflow for our hiring team?
  • Could you provide examples of situations where your software may not be the best fit for certain organizations or industries?
  • How fast do checks typically take, and what Personally Identifiable Information (PII) do you collect? How do you ensure the security of this PII?
  • Do you obtain county-level data for criminal checks, and do you include both arrests and convictions in your reports?
  • Can reports be ordered in batches for convenience?
  • Is screening performed by people in the US? If not, how is data privacy protected?
  • What level of customer support do you offer? Do you provide training and ongoing support?
  • What security measures do you have in place to protect against data breaches or unauthorized access?
  • Could you provide details on your pricing structure, including any additional fees or hidden costs?
  • Any chance you share the contact points of clients who have used your software we can talk to?

Background Check Software FAQs

What is a background check?

A background check is the process individuals or organizations go through to legally verify someone’s personal and/or professional information.

What type of background check do most employers use?

The types of background checks employers typically run on their potential employees and sometimes, current ones are identity verification, criminal background check, reference checks, fingerprint background check, credit check, Motor vehicle records check, professional license and education background checks, e-verify background check, drug screening, Executive investigations, and ongoing employee screening.

What is background check software?

Employment background check software is a tool used by organizations to verify the background and credentials of candidates. It scans various aspects of an individual's background, including criminal history, employment history, education, credit history, and professional licenses.

Employers, human resources professionals, talent acquisition specialists, and hiring managers typically use background check services to ensure the reliability and suitability of candidates for job positions.

Why conduct background checks?

Employers run background checks for several purposes, but the three most commonly cited reasons are to protect their people and organization, to spot fakers, and to see if the candidates actually meet the required qualifications for the role.

What industries do the most background checks?

Not all industries require background checks, but it wouldn’t be surprised to see finance, childcare, healthcare, government, regulation, and law enforcement always do.

What do employers typically look for in a background check?

Based on 2023 FirstAdavantage’s data on 100 million screens it has conducted for over 33,000 customers, most employers conduct background checks for:

  • Identity: Do we have relevant name and address information on the candidate?
  • Criminal history: Does the candidate have a criminal history that will impact performance, safety, or brand reputation?
  • Experience: Does the candidate have the right education and experience for the role?
  • Risk exposure: Is the candidate’s history appropriate for any role-specific risks, including access and exposure to sensitive data or vulnerable populations?
  • Compliance: Does the candidate clear all checks required by law or industry regulation for compliance?

What is included in a background check report?

While it can vary based on the type of check conducted and federal regulations, a background check report generally includes an individual's employment history, education, criminal records, credit history, and relevant licenses or certifications.

How far back do background checks go?

Background checks typically go back seven to ten years, but exact time frames differ for each type of check, position applied, industry regulations, and state or local laws.

How long are most background checks?

A background check usually takes two to four business days, but this timeframe can fluctuate based on various factors. Here are rough estimates for reference:

  • Identity check: Instant–2 days.
  • Credit check: 24–48 hours.
  • Employment verification: 2–3 business days or longer.
  • Educational verification: A few days.
  • Professional qualifications verification: Within 2 business days.
  • Global watchlist checks: 24–48 hours.
  • Criminal check: 24–48 hours for U.S. check, 3–30 business days for international check.
  • Motor vehicle records: Varies by state, ranging from a few days to a couple of weeks.

What background check company do most employers use?

The top popular employment background check service providers to date include GoodHire (100,000+ customers), Good Egg (part of Foley, 50,000+ customers), HireRight (37,000+ customers), Accurate (16,000+ customers), Checkr (15,000+ customers), First Advantage (used by 55% of Fortune 100), and Certn (10,000+ customers), Xref (9,000+ customers, most are staffing and recruitment agencies).

Final Advice on Background Check Software

Screening candidates with an FCRA-compliant background check service provider is a great way of making sure you save your recruiters and candidates’ time, hire the right people, and sustain a safe and more diverse workplace.

For those considering running social media checks on applicants, one thing to keep in mind: While these checks may help you gauge a person’s character or judgment, they are risky—and not always legal. Make sure you understand the ethics and pitfalls around social media screening in recruitment to do it the right way.

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