How to choose an employment background screening partner

So, you want to know more about the people spending 8-plus hours working alongside you...

Do a Google search for “background screening” and you’ll retrieve 11 million results. Search for “background screening companies” and the result is a paltry 6.5 million links.

To be fair, many of those results include lists, rankings, and reviews. If you search “list of background check companies,” however, you’ll find yourself looking at 16.6 million results. Apparently, a lot of people have figured out there are a lot of people looking for help with background checks.

So how do you sift through all your background screening options and choose the right one?

My answer: Don’t. There’s an easier and better way.

Understand employment screening rules

First, understand that there are different reasons for conducting a background screen. Screening for employment purposes is one of many reasons, and has its own unique set of rules. If you (or your organization) have never conducted a background screen for employment purposes, get familiar with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the law governing employee screening. Consider retaining a professional who can help you navigate the complexities of the law.

Second, ask around! Chances are you know someone in your industry who screens their job candidates—a 2016 survey by the job-posting website found 72 percent of employers background check every new employee.

Questions to ask

When retaining a background screening provider, the kind of questions to ask are:

  • What services does the provider offer? (Criminal history, verification of previous employment, driving history?)
  • How quickly do the reports come back?
  • How easy is the service to use?
  • How responsive is their customer service?
  • What’s the price?

Why is price listed last? Businesses should be fiscally responsible, but as the old saying goes, “don’t trip over pennies to chase a dollar.” The survey put the cost of a bad hire at $17,000 in terms of the impact it can have on business. Protecting your business’s reputation, employees, and customers is worth a few dollars now compared to potentially thousands of dollars later.

Lastly, figure out how much assistance you want or need. There are companies that simply provide the reports that you ordered, and there are companies that stand on the shoulders of their customer service teams and do a great job helping you understand what the reports actually mean. Every background screening company promises fast, accurate information with great service. Those are table stakes. But this isn’t poker: Ask for proof.

iiX is a proud member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), which accredits firms in our industry. Take a look at the NAPBS website, where you’ll find a wealth of great resources to help you pick a partner and manage your organization’s background screening program.

Corey Koslin

Cory Koslin is strategic sales manager of the Verisk Analytics iiX unit, a premier provider of motor vehicle reports (MVRs) and preemployment screening services. He is a 1993 graduate of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, making him one of the few people at iiX who isn’t a diehard fan of Texas A&M. His roots in trucking and transportation go back to the mid-1990s, and for the past six years he has helped companies navigate tailored background screening and driver management solutions.

Visualize Subscribe

Get the best of Visualize!

We'll send Visualize Monthly, and our most popular content, right to your inbox.

Subscribe now