In the current economy, the job market is over-saturated with potential employees. This leaves employers with the task of sorting through applicants to find the best person for the job. One of the most important parts of the interview process is the background check; failure to do a proper background check can result in financial loss and even dangerous situations for companies, as seen from the tragedy at a Charlotte, NC store. The best way to avoid such an outcome is to partner with a company that specializes in background screening; however it can be difficult to find a company that works to your advantage. There are ten important things to consider for selecting a background screening partner that can avoid undesirable circumstances for any employer.

1. Experience

When choosing an employment screening firm, look for longevity with a solid service record that can be verified with client references. Also, check for professional memberships in organizations such as the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) and Public Record Retriever Network (PRRN).

2. Accurate, Reliable Research Methods

Gaining a complete understanding of how criminal records and other research will be conducted is critical when relying on a screening firm to perform the background checks you’ll use to make hiring decisions. Asking if they physically visit the courts or use databases for criminal background checks is especially important to understand. Relying solely on compiled criminal databases can result in missed records and a false sense of security that a thorough investigation has been conducted.

3. Legal Compliance

The company should be a complete understanding of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) as well as other Federal, State and Local statutes that may apply to the process of conducting legal background checks in your area. They should also provide sample forms and educational materials to help you understand applicable laws and how to comply with them. While they shouldn’t technically offer legal counsel, they should be able to answer most of your questions and convey how their screening methods meet compliance requirements.

4. Secure Data Handling Procedures

Ensure that the screening company has procedures to govern the handling of sensitive data containing information such as Social Security Numbers, Dates of Birth, Consumer Reports and other confidential information pertaining to your applicants and employees. This should include how materials and data are handled within the company during the research process, as well as how they are securely archived and destroyed.

5. Services That Meet Your Needs

Your screening partner should understand the needs of your particular business and industry. Make certain that they offer all of the services you need to complete the required or recommended background checks for your organization. Ask for client references of other companies they’re serving in your industry.

6. Flexible Order & Delivery Options

Investigate whether the firm offers a way to place orders and receive results according to your preferred methods. If you want to conduct all your checks online, make sure the company offers a secure, web-based screening system with the features that important to you. If you prefer to fax or email your orders, make sure they allow this.

7. Responsive, Reliable Customer Service

Because critical questions can arise during the screening process, it’s advisable to gain a clear picture of the customer service provided by the firm. Do they offer personalized service, i.e., does someone answer the phone when you call? Are you assigned an account manager? When and how is support available? Do they proactively call you? Asking questions about representatives’ training, experience, and areas of expertise will also help ensure you’ll receive reliable answers when needed.

8. Contract Terms / Billing Options

As with many industries, contract terms vary widely from firm to firm. Reviewing contracts from all prospective screening companies will help determine whether terms or conditions exist that are not agreeable to your organization. Some companies may require longer-term contracts to get their best pricing, require set-up fees, have monthly minimums or require credit card payment. Fully investigate the terms of working with each organization before deciding g on the right firm. Ask about any additional charges, including court and MVR access fees.

9. Insurance Coverage

In the event that the screening company would be found liable for any part of the services they provide to you, you’ll want to be certain that they have adequate insurance coverage. Partnering with a firm that does not have insurance, or one that does not have adequate coverage, can put you and your firm in a precarious situation should a consumer have cause to file litigation and the screening company be found guilty of negligence in any form.

10. Competitive Pricing

While accuracy, service responsiveness, reliable customer service and more are key factors in determining the right partner firm, costs understandably play a significant role in selecting a screening company. Determine if the firm you are considering has used technology, strong supplier relationships and smart business practices to offer you the best possible price.

At Advanced Background Check, we work hard to provide exemplary service to our clients. Our premiere screening process fulfills all the qualifications listed above, and we continue to work to go above and beyond what is necessary for a thorough background check. Contact us today to get more information about our services and how you can partner with our firm.