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Why Being “Happy” With Your Current Background Check Provider Could Be a Lawsuit Disaster

Blog Post By: Tyler Lucas, National Account Manager, HR ProFile, Inc

Before Declaring Your Happiness, Let’s Take a Closer Look

If I had a nickel for every time I called a Human Resources Director and heard, “We’re happy with our current background check provider,” I would never have to make another phone call again. When I call to inquire about a company’s Background Check provider, this is the most common response. To be fair, I understand where the HR representatives are coming from. Managing your company’s Background Check services is near the very bottom of the list - but, it has to done.

In an ideal world, you hire a firm to take care of these services and it runs like clockwork. You pay a small fee per search, you don’t hear any bad news and you hire great employees that flourish and develop within in your company for years and years – and – grow your overall company.

The problem: This “ideal” world, doesn’t exist and unfortunately, being “happy” could be a disaster waiting to happen because, unfortunately, what you don’t know – could hurt you.

Me: I was hoping to get some time to discuss the service that you’re getting from your current employment screening provider.

HR Rep: No thanks, we’re happy with our current provider so we’re not looking to make any changes right now.

Me: I understand. Most companies have ways to measure systems that they have in place. How are you currently measuring the accuracy of your background checks?

HR Rep: We really don’t have a way to measure this. Or We’ve been using the same company for years and we’ve never had any issues.

Me: When your background check misses criminal information, how do they let you know?
HR Rep: So far they really haven’t missed anything so they haven’t let us know.

The Facts: It’s easier to be blissfully unaware of providers’ shortcomings – and – no news, is good news, right? …WRONG!

As someone who understands the life of a human resource representative, I get it. Why would you go out of your way to dig up unflattering information about your Background Check provider when there currently aren’t any issues… to the best of your knowledge? Why would you put yourself through the inconvenience of setting up a new employment screening program when what you have is working – or, at least you think it’s working.

Let’s dive deeper. Warning: Don’t hold your breath on this one….

Why would you go out of your way to dig up unflattering information about your Background Check provider when there currently aren’t any issues … again…to the best of your knowledge.

First of all, you wouldn’t really have to go out of your way. We do all the heavy lifting. We do this FREE accuracy assessment for potential clients. In one case* we found criminal information on 53% of employees that the current provider missed! Unfortunately, these employees were hired and the company suffered involuntary turnover costs.

Why would you put yourself through the inconvenience of setting up a new employment screening program when what you have is working?

You really can’t afford to assume that your program is working.

“But my current provider only charges $5.00 per check and they use the National Database”.

When it comes to employment screening, I can tell you that this is one arena where you truly get what you pay for. I would love to believe that there is an official national database that holds every possible criminal record online. This so called National Database is out there, but it is flawed at best. You don’t have to take my word for it, just google National Database and you will find numerous websites that are now setting the record straight so, the National Database may create a false sense of security.

Criminal information originates in the county courthouses. There are 3144 counties in the United States. These counties more than likely will have at least one upper court and one lower court. Some counties have up to 9 courthouses. These courthouses are not legally obligated to update online databases and a good number of them choose not to.

The best way to find the most up to date information is to physically, in-person, hand search the courthouse records or hire a credible CRA like us to do it for you!

I hope by now that you understand that being happy with your current provider could very well be a recipe for disaster. When it comes to the safety of your employees or when it comes to keeping your organization out of a million dollar class action lawsuit, you cannot afford to be complacent. It is imperative that you either know for a fact that your current provider is giving you accurate information or that you at least have a process in place to test their competency. We’re not here to simply provide a service. We are here to educate human resource professionals about the ins and outs of this industry. We do this because we firmly believe that insight is better than hindsight.

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