5 Background Screening Myths

Traditionally, the words “background check” or “background investigation” may have been associated with government intelligence agencies, conducting screening on candidates for high-security positions. Images of fingerprints, espionage, and in-depth information probing may still be in the back of people’s minds. 

On the other hand, some might question the integrity of background screening data, underestimating the tools and resources that background screening organizations have access to.

Either way, there are a lot of background screening myths out there and we are here to debunk them.

Clarifying the Misconceptions

Today, background screening is commonplace within organizations looking to make sound, informed hiring decisions. Background screening reports can range in depth and detail depending on the needs of the organization but are often misunderstood by candidates, and at times, employers. Below are some of the biggest misconceptions.

1. Fingerprints Mean Better Background Checks

Many people hear the word fingerprint and think “official” or “infallible.” Fingerprint background checks are most commonly used for public sector hires. These checks require an inconvenient errand from the candidate (fingerprint collection), often take weeks to complete, and can be far less thorough than private-sector name-based background screening searches.

At the end of the day we are comparing a fingerprint background check that takes up to 6 weeks, is an inconvenience to the candidate, and may not be all that comprehensive, with a non-fingerprint background check that is often completed within 2 business days, is simple to initiate, and can be incredibly thorough. Myth debunked.

2. Dismissed Records Won’t Show Up on Your Report

There is often confusion when it comes to the terms ‘expunged’ and ‘dismissed.’ While an expunged record is effectively removed from court archives, dismissal simply means ‘not convicted.’ In most states, dismissal information can and will show up on a background report and can be used in a hiring decision. Myth debunked.

3. Using an Alias Will “Trick the System”

Depending on the screening provider, a candidate’s aliases will be gathered from records associated with their social security number and compared against a nationwide database of criminal records data. If there is a record tied to any one of their alias names, it will likely be found. Whether the alias record is then verified with the courts is another consideration. Myth debunked.

4. All Criminal/Civil Records Are Retrieved From a Single Source

Background check information comes from a variety of sources. County, State, and Federal criminal information is usually retrieved directly from the corresponding County, State and Federal court. Local civil case information is received from the County or municipal courthouse civil division. Federal civil records are retrieved from the federal courts, and so on. There is not one single source of information when it comes to criminal/civil data retrieval. Such a practice must be driven by integrated technology as well as human expertise. Myth debunked.

5. All Convictions Can Be Reported

Just because an individual has been convicted of a crime does not mean it can lawfully be used to make a hiring decision based on their background check report. Take California, for example. State law states that no conviction older than 7 years can be present on a background check report for employment in California. This includes all classes of convictions including homicide, assault, theft, etc. 

Where and how convictions can be reported is largely determined by state law. Myth debunked.

Conclusion

Background screening is a safe, common, and ethical practice that provides organizations insights into the people that represent them. With the right partnerships in place, employers can rely on accurate and actionable background check information without much hassle. It’s important for employers and candidates alike to know the basics of background screening so they don’t fall victim to the influence of unproductive myths.

For more information, visit us online.

Share Our Blog

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
the word 'myths' in wood blocks on a wood table

Follow Us

Recent Blogs

the word 'myths' in wood blocks on a wood table

5 Background Screening Myths

Traditionally, the words “background check” or “background investigation” may have been associated with government intelligence agencies, conducting screening on candidates for high-security positions. Images of

Read More »