Conducting Background Checks

We are looking into conducting background checks on new hires. Does anyone have any advice reagrding how to go about it? Local versus national? What do you do with the information? Is there guidlines that need to be followed for dealing with what you find out? Like, can you still hire an employee with a criminal history as long as they disclosed the information first? Thanks!


  • 8 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • A gpood background check vendor wille educate you on many or all of the things you need to know.  However, the first issue is how you will comply with FCRA.  You have to ask permission to do the background check in advance.
  • USIS is an excellent TPA for background checks and can provide the education, training, and support necessary


  • We were planning on having them done at the sheriff's department, so there will not be a compnay to train us and tell us anything. I tried to ask them some questions but they seemed very busy and I was not high on their importance chain. Can you use USIS for information or do you have to pay for their services first?

  • The first thing you need to know about is the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  I'm not certain if FCRA comes into play if the source of your report comes from the Sheriff.  On the other hand, if your report comes from the Sheriff, you will probably not be able to get a report that encompasses other states or that will be based on an actual paper document check and computer records are often well behind.

    Hitting a local employment law update through SHRM wouldn't be a bad idea, either, as there are several kinds of checks you can do and you don't want to do any that are not "job related" and you don't want to spend money needlessly.

  • You can certainly call USIS and find out if they can offer you some assistance and point you in the right directions at no charge.
  • You are going to want to look into what your state law says regarding Background Checks.  If you have a membership to this website ( for your state then you should be able to get some of the information you need.  You can also look online to see if your state has a guide for employers that may talk about background checks.

    What you check for and what convictions will make the candidate not hirable will also depend on your industry.  Example - if you are hiring for the position of delivery driver and the candidate has been convicted of two DUI's in the last 5 years then you are probably going to not hire them for the position. 

  • To check laws in your state or others where you operate, you can access a free state-by-state chart from BLR that shows how and whether you can legally use arrest records or must consult only conviction records. Here's the link: Hope it's helpful.
  • We are also looking into background checks for new hires. We have traditionally left reference checking to our hiring supervisors and have found this practice to be questionable at times. A concern I have is I view reference checks and background checks as two different things. We are an environmental agency with a technical focus and while I would like to receive more information on new hires (background check) than just previous employers info (reference check) I don't believe we have a need for credit info and would like to stay away from the requirements of the FCRA. I would like to draft a policy that encompasses exactly what a reference/background check would entail but have questions about the level of checking between covered and exempt employees (i.e. clerical vs professional) or even if there should be a difference. I know I would like arrest and conviction records and educational verification. I have explored some of the services out there and while we are not making a large amount of hires cost is still an issue. Does anyone have any advice, insight or policies they could share on reference/background searches and using a service vs elbow grease?
Sign In or Register to comment.