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Why conduct a background check during pre-employment screening?

Pre-employment screening is not a sign of mistrust or an invasion of privacy, but rather an important step in protecting your company from the risks that come with an untrustworthy employee. Consider the following:

  • Corporate Screening’s statistics show that 12% of applicants screened have a criminal history.
  • A U.S. Department of Justice report released in 2003 showed that 67% of criminals were rearrested for at least one serious crime within three years of being released from prison.
  • According to a 2005 University of Florida survey, retail employee theft is responsible for 47% of inventory shrinkage, or $17.6 billion in stolen property per year.
  • Drug users cost their employers 300% more than non-drug users in medical costs and benefits according to Crain’s Business.

Employers cannot rely on resumes alone to determine which candidates will make good employees. According to the National Association of Background Screeners, 56% of applicants’ resumes contain one or more significant discrepancies. Simply having a background check policy in place encourages applicants to be more forthcoming in their resumes and interviews.

While a pre-employment screening policy does not guarantee that all “bad” applicants will be weeded out, it does provide employers with the hard data they need to help make informed hiring decisions.

What is negligent hiring?

If an employee harms someone on the job, his employer can be charged with negligent hiring if a court determines the employer knew or should have known through a background check the employee was dangerous. Employers are increasingly being held responsible for negligent hiring, and more than 70% of employers involved in negligent hiring cases lose their lawsuits.

How can I avoid being accused of negligent hiring?

Employers can show that they practice the due diligence required to avoid negligent hiring by having solid pre-employment screening practices in place. The first step in designing a solid pre-employment screening program includes a comprehensive review of your existing program by a professional background screening firm like Corporate Screening. This assessment should identify risk, inefficiency and opportunities for improvement as well as the most effective products and services needed to mitigate your risk. Most pre-employment screening programs include a criminal background search conducted at the court for each place the candidate has lived for the last seven years. Employers should also verify work history at each company the applicant has worked for the last seven years. All degrees and licenses claimed by the applicant should also be verified. These simple steps may be enough to show that an employer took reasonable precautions before hiring an applicant.

What types of background screening services are available at Corporate Screening?

Corporate Screening’s variety of pre-employment screening services allow you to take care of all your screening needs in one place. Our background check services include:

  • Database searches
  • Criminal record searches
  • Verification services/reference interviews
  • Public record searches
  • Substance abuse screening
  • Employment physical examinations
  • Fingerprinting
  • International screening
  • Electronic I9 form compliance
  • EVP Right to work verification
  • ApplicantSorter – Online employment application and applicant tracking
  • VerifyStudents – Online background screening portal for students
  • Applicant tracking system integration solutions

What do I need to conduct a background check?

Once you have completed and signed the Corporate Screening new account paperwork and successfully complete our client vetting and verification process, you are able to order background checks using any of the methods Corporate Screening makes available including; fax, online, email, ATS system integration or customized solution. Employers also have requirements under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act as well as some state consumer reporting laws. Those requirements are covered in answers to other FAQ’s listed on this page.

Do I have to supply my applicants’ dates of birth?

Next to the applicant’s legal name, the date of birth is the most important identifier used in pre-employment screening. Most courts use it as a primary identifier, and some actually require it to process a record search. For employers that are not able to request the date of birth of candidates, Corporate Screening offers solutions by which the candidate can confidentially supply the date of birth and other confidential information to Corporate Screening.

Do I need an applicant’s authorization to conduct a background check?

Authorization and disclosure are two distinct terms in pre-employment screening that are unfortunately used interchangeably. While authorization from an applicant to search various sources of information is strongly recommended, a disclosure to your applicant that you are going to procure a background check is required under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) as well as some state consumer reporting laws. Under the FCRA the disclosure must be made using a separate document that consists solely of the disclosure statement and may also include authorization language. Some state consumer reporting laws have more stringent requirements of the disclosure.

What are my obligations as an employer under the Fair Credit Reporting Act?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires employers that procure a background check from a consumer reporting agency that will be used in a hiring decision to disclose to the candidate that a background check will be conducted. If the background check contains items of information that may cause you to make a hiring decision that will adversely affect your candidate for employment, you must provide the candidate with a letter advising that adverse action might be taken, provided a copy of the background check report, and also provide the FCRA state of consumer’s rights document that explains the rights consumers have under federal law. This gives the candidate an opportunity to dispute any inaccuracies that may be part of that report. At a time that you decide that you will definitely take action based on the background check report that will adversely affect your candidate for employment, you provide to the candidate a second letter explaining that you are taking action based on the background check report, include in the letter the name, address and telephone number of the consumer reporting agency that prepared the report, and provide a second copy of the consumers rights under the FCRA. Please be advised that several state consumer reporting laws which may apply require additional steps to these under the FCRA.

What are my obligations as a healthcare employer under the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO)?

The Joint Commission is the organization that accredits U.S. hospitals and health care providers. Under their standard HR1.20 The Joint Commission requires that health care organizations that have a background screening policy for their employees apply those same background screening requirements to their non-employee staff including volunteers, students and agency staff. Further, the Joint Commission requires background checks mandated by law apply to non-employee staff as well. HR1.20

How far back do your criminal record searches go?

All criminal record searches go back seven years.

The length at which records can be searched depends on the record bearer. For example, some courts allow for a quick and efficient search of their records further back than 7 years. The length at which criminal records can be reported to a customer of a consumer reporting agency depends on the type of information being reported as well as applicable federal and state laws that contain prohibitions on reporting certain types of information. As an industry standard, criminal conviction searches date back 7 years. A criminal record search program through Corporate Screening Services will take into consideration, when reporting records, the type of criminal record as well as all applicable state and federal laws. This process increases the integrity of the pre-employment screening program by allowing for a more comprehensive search.

How long does a background check usually take?

Criminal record searches typically take between 24 and 48 hours to report. However, a number of factors can affect the length of time a search takes; including, the need to match an applicant’s identifiers to court records, the lack of identifiers like date of birth or Social Security Number, common applicant names, court holidays, and multiple records for the same applicant. At Corporate Screening, you will receive constant background check updates and have access to our system 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What can I do to improve my pre-employment screening turnaround time?

Our primary goal is always to get you the information that you need as quickly as possible and without compromising quality by cutting corners. Let’s use employment verification as an example. Background screening companies can quickly turn those verifications around when a former employer is currently in business, complete information on the former employer is provided by the candidate and the former employer replies to verification requests quickly. But what happens when things don’t work out that smoothly as is often the case? Where many competitors report that the verification cannot be conducted or decide to use a source for verification that does not have complete and accurate information (supervisors, secretaries and other coworkers) simply for the sake of turnaround, Corporate Screening Services focuses on quality. Vague, incomplete and inaccurate information returned quickly leaves a customer with a false sense of security.

We understand the intricacies of pre-employment screening and we share this information with you when initially building your customized program. We then consult you on how we can work together to provide the quality service you require with turnaround times at or better than the industry standards. The fact is, there are many variables that contribute to an inefficient pre-employment program and slow turnaround times. Only through an assessment of your current background check program can solutions be found to create efficiencies and speed the process.

How will I receive my background check information?

We use an Electronic Applicant Screening Engine free to all our clients. It requires no set-up fees, no software to buy and no upgrade. You will receive email notifications when our office receives your case and when your case has been completed. You will have access to the system 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, along with direct access to the investigator working on your case. Because the system is Internet-based, it is paperless and will give you access to your records two years after the search was ordered.

Can I expect my background check to be 100% foolproof?

No pre-employment screening firm can guarantee that all information on its reports is 100% accurate simply because we must rely on information source for that accuracy. CS does accurately transcribe information 99.998% of the time. For example, data will not show up if it was incorrectly entered or missing from the legal system in the first place, if a county does not report its information to the correct agency or if an applicant gets through the legal system using false identifiers. However, we are committed to training and developing the industry’s finest pre-employment screening personnel who adhere to the highest quality standards so we can provide the most accurate reports possible to our customers. We earn our customers’ trust by putting them first and providing them with honest, dedicated service.

How much does a background check typically cost?

Pre-employment screening is a very diverse and complex process requiring access to numerous information sources. Generally speaking, a background check costs far less than the new employee’s first day of work, but your cost will vary depending on your customized program. Calculating the cost of a background screening program requires a thorough understanding of your organization, your industry, your process, and your philosophy on background screening. Our pre-employment screening consultants can help you build a background check program unique to your organization that is efficient, cost effective and offers the integrity all employers deserve.

What are my payment options?

Invoicing and payment can be made based on your customized background check program and can included company check, credit card, EFT, or order-to-pay.