Whether you’re preparing applicant information for the first time or have been working in a human resources department for years, there are always questions about background checks. The Background Check Express team addresses some of the most common questions received and what they mean for your background check process.

What do I need from the applicant?
This is one of the best questions to ask because some information is required for the most basic checks, while some will depend on what you need to know about your applicant. The essential information required will often be on an authorization form, and includes the applicant’s current name and any alias names used, current address and addresses used within the past seven years, date of birth and social security number. Many businesses with company automobiles need to provide a driver’s abstract for insurance purposes. In this case, a driver’s license number will be required, as well which state it was issued and how your name appears on the license.


Want to have professional references contacted? Be sure to obtain the name of the reference, their relationship to the candidate, and a current phone number and email address. One of the most common roadblocks experienced is when a reference’s email is not correct or the phone number has changed, which can delay the process.


Want to have employers contacted for employment verification? Determine how far back you want to go for recent employment and ask applicants to record which employers they had for the determined amount of years. Alternatively, many employers will ask for the three or four most previous employers in lieu of years, as some applicants could have held a job for a  majority of the length in which you’re seeking. Ask for a valid phone number and name of their supervisor, or if their supervisor is no longer there, the name and contact information for the human resources department will be sufficient.


When will I get the results back? An estimated return date can always be given, but varying factors, including inaccurate information, court delays, a common name, or multiple hits can also delay the return. Certain factors, such as the applicant having a commons name or court delays, can’t be faulted.  Court delays occur for a variety of reasons, including inclement weather prohibiting employees from getting work or state budget restrictions. Some courts experience a delay in processing returns when a common name has been requested, or there are multiple hits. Even though technology has made many records easily available online, many court recorders still have to dig through paper files in order to retrieve results prior to a certain date.


What happens if the applicant has a record? You can be guided through the process based on what action you want to take. Minor offenses that are reported are often disregarded because mistakes are made. But once you start to see criminal felonies or misdemeanors, you can choose to take adverse action if said offenses will cause you to not hire the applicant. Adverse action is mandated by the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and gives the applicant the chance to see why they were denied the job. Adverse action materials are often provided by your background check provider and detailed information about it can be found at Consumer Compliance.


How much will this cost? If you’re in the beginning stages of finding a background check provider, or you’re looking to use a new provider, make sure you’re asking about packages the company can offer you based on your needs. This will allow for you to only have to think about one cost per applicant, and you may receive discounts if additional services need to be added at a later time.


Do you have more questions? Let us know in the comments below!


By: Sarah Masa-Myers