Criminal Background Checks

My company is wanting to start doing criminal background checks for specific jobs. We want to conduct the search ourselves through the State Patrol.
I know we to to get authorization, provide a copy of the report if adverse action is taken and provide information on their rights. We plan to make a job offer contingent on the outcome of the report. I have read and re-read FCRA.
What are the pros and cons of us conducting our own search and does anyone have forms as mentioned about that would be willing to share?
Thanks for your assistance!



  • 4 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • We currently outsource our background checks, but here's some things to think about for doing it yourself.

    The DIY approach is probably more cost effective, but you have more resources through outsourcing. Say someone just moved to your state from Hawaii and you are running a background check on them - are you going to have the resources to do a criminal background check in Hawaii? Also, when you DIY, YOU have to interpret the information - through outsourcing, someone else interprets the court information to decipher if there are outstanding warrants, cases, etc.

    There are a lot of great screening companies that only charge 30-40 bucks per my opinion, the convenience and resources you get when using a company outweigh any cost savings. On another note, make sure that you apply background checks evenly - you don't want to be accused of discrimination.
  • If you conduct the background verification process yourself with a business entity whose provision of the information is incidental to their primary business, FCRA will not apply. As an example, if you confirm data yourself directly with your state's law enforcement office, the office is in the business of law enforcement and as a matter of incident has the history. The state office is not a business who main focus is conducting background/information investigations for employers. Therefore, FCRA does not apply.

    We are in Florida and link directly with the Florida Dpt of Law Enforcement. We collect a signed consent from applicants, tell them that the background verification process is required and that job offers are contingent, make decisions based on convictions only, and inform the candidate of the outcome. For federal background verifications, we collect finger prints and run them through a state agency for screening with the national FBI database. The state level cost in Florida is around $25 per person. The FBI process is just under $50.

    It works well for us, and all the disclosure steps required in FCRA are slightly relaxed because we are not contracting with an investigative agency.

  • I am an HR Manager in City government. We do a local back on all applicants that we recommend for an interview. This is free with our district court. Once the applicant is selected for the position we do a national background check that is 19.95 per applicant. It takes less than 1 hour for the results.
  • In Virginia, the background checks that we can obtain through our State Police only check for convictions in Virginia - not out of state. I would ask about that.
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