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Basic Employee Background Checks

LD Staff Writer

There are a variety of investigative searches that can be used by potential employers.

Many commercial sites offer specific searches to employers for a fee. Services like these will actually perform the checks, supply the company with adverse action letters, and ensure compliance throughout the process. It is important to be selective about which pre-employment screening agency you use, though… A legitimate company will be happy to explain the process to you.

Many employers choose to search the most common data – such as criminal records, driving records, and education verification. Other searches such as sex offender registry, credential verification, skills assessment, reference checks, credit reports, and Patriot Act searches are becoming increasingly common. Employers should consider the position in question when determining which types of searches to include, and should always use the same searches for every applicant being considered (Source).

Background checks can vary considerably depending on the thoroughness of the inquiry.

For a low-level job, the check may simply consist of checking the person’s name and social security number against criminal records. For a high-level job, the check may include contacting previous employers, educational institutions, a credit check, a detailed internet search, and other methods, such as interviewing neighbors and former coworkers.

The process includes the investigator using the subject’s information and performing a search through their system, contacting public offices, and conducting internet research to learn as much as possible about the person. This procedure varies per company slightly (source).

Note: The ONLY way to be 100% certain that a criminal record does not exist is to run a guaranteed on-site manual countywide criminal search. This is because not every county jurisdiction reports every charge to the state repositories, and the state repositories do not always report every charge to the national database repositories.

Types of Checks:

  • Employment References
  • Character Reference Check
  • Gaps in Employment History
  • Identity and Address Verification – A search to determine if the applicant is who he or she claims to be. This generally includes verification of the candidate’s present and previous addresses, and can include a search for money laundering, identity, and terrorism, and checks to verify the validity of passports.
  • Criminal History Report

List of 2012’s Best Background Check Services:

TopTenREVIEWS compares and reviews 10 background check companies for 2012. Research includes overall rating, price breakdown, and more:

US Search

Pros – “No-hit, no-fee guarantee,” provides multiple ways to find information, quick results (less than 24 hours), well designed system
Cons – Less than comprehensive subscription model, subscription policy automatically renews and charges credit card every month, does not provide driving reports or check international criminal records, advertisement pop-ups are frequent while navigating the website

PRICE (approximately):
Basic Background – $19.95
Advanced Background – $39.95
Expert Background – $79.95


Pros – Easy to use website, free 7-day trial, quick results
Cons – Does not provide customized report options, does not include a “no-hit, no-fee guarantee”

PRICE (approximately):
Basic – $49.95
Advanced – N/A


Pros – Licensed private investigators oversee all searches, option to search criminal records all over the world, high level of flexibility with option to build customized reports (Build Your Own Background Check), offers live online support, low price guarantee
Cons – Slower results than competitors

PRICE (approximately):
Basic Background 1 – $14.95 (does not include federal criminal database search or on-site countywide criminal search)
Basic Background 2 – $19.95 (does not include on-site countywide criminal search)
Basic Background 3 – $29.95


Pros – Quick results, offers monthly membership or one-time searches
Cons – Cannot reach company by phone or live chat

PRICE (approximately):
Contact Report – $4.95 ($1.95 with free trial and 1-year unlimited search access for $35.40)
Background Report – $49.95 ($39.95 with free trial and 1-year unlimited search access for $35.40)


Pros – Offers multiple search options and combinations, license CA Private Investigative Agency, well designed website
Cons – Slower results (2-3 business days)

PRICE (approximately):
Basic (County Criminal Record Search) – $24.00
Basic National (County Criminal Record Search & National Criminal Database) – $39.00
Basic National PLUS (3 County Court Criminal Record Search & National Criminal Database)- $59.00

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