It’s a question that a lot of people have: employers, job candidates, volunteers. Are all background checks the same? The short and sweet answer to this question is no.

Size of Background Screening Company

Google the words “background check” and you’ll get millions of results. Many of these are links to companies that do some form of background screening. Some are big organizations with many specialized employees, others are little more than a one- or two-man operation with a computer and a phone. Most companies fall somewhere in between those two extremes. The size of a company may affect the quality of the work that it does. That’s not to say that only the big guys do good work – the quality of work depends on the company principles, its work ethics, commitment to quality, etc. not the size of the company.

Background Screening Customer Success Rate

Going from there, it’s logical to assume that some companies are more thorough than others. The quality of the work itself is a differentiating factor in background checks. Does a background provider have good references? Prospective customers should ask the company to provide some names of its satisfied customers, then they should call those clients and ask questions. Another factor to consider is whether or a not the background screening company is accredited. Many background providers are members of the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA), but not all of them are accredited. Successfully undergoing the accreditation process is a sign that a company places a high standard on quality, is committed to excellence, and has high professional standards. And of course, checking the work of a company is a good way to determine the quality of its work.

[INFOGRAPHIC] Key factors to consider when comparing background screening  service providers »

Thoroughness of Background Screening Reports

Background screening reports don't all contain the same information, either. What is contained in the report depends on what employers ask for. Employers have differing needs, and request different searches. Examples of things they ask for are criminal, credit, employment, and reference checks to name a few. Drug and health screenings may also be requested. Additionally, the type of industry also makes a difference, as certain industries require specific searches.

Continuous Alignment with Laws and Regulations

And finally, laws and regulations affect background checks. There are federal laws that everyone must follow, but there are many state-specific and local laws that need to be taken into consideration.

Ultimately, all of these factors mean that all background checks are NOT the same.

New call-to-action