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What are Background Checks?

Posted by Margot Nash on July 12, 2012

Yesterday, Hireology CEO, Adam Robinson wrote a blog post about whywhat are background checks? background checks are necessary for new hires and the potential consequences if you choose not to. In my role as Product Development Director, I get a lot of questions about background checks including: What's on them and what should they be used for? Today I will cover what information background checks contain, the most popular background check orders, and how you can easily order them through Hireology.

What are Background Checks?

A background check is the process of looking up and compiling criminal records, commercial records and financial records of an individual you may hire. Most of our customers order some variation of these four separate background check services: County Criminal Search, National Criminal Index Plus, Social Security Trace, and a Motor Vehicle Report. They also like to order our discounted "packages" which also include these services.

If you're not familiar with the world of background checks, there are lot of options and most vendors tend to bundle self-branded packages together and market them as individual services, or sell individual services for a low price while charging you a high "subscription" fee. For those reasons, it's particularly tough to compare pricing between background check vendors. Before you decide what you want to order, be sure you know what you're getting out of the package, whatever the vendor might call it.

What is a County Criminal Search?

For all intents and purposes, a County Criminal Search will tell you a candidate's criminal history, according to the court system. It includes felony and misdemeanor convictions and is retrieved directly from the originating source at the county level. These reports include dates associated with any offenses, disposition information, classifications, and what the sentence was. County access fees are different everywhere, so the prices for these searches depend heavily on the candidate's hometown regulations. County court access fees are publicly available online so you should be able to figure out how much your search will cost if you know what counties your candidate has lived in.

What is the National Criminal Index Plus?

The National Criminal Index Plus is a nationwide, instant search of all criminal record databases.  Our National Criminal index searches over 223 sources including all the states’ Sex Offender Registries, county records, state repositories, Department of Corrections’ records, Office or Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), Interpol, and Denied Persons. Basically, it will tell you if the candidate is registered offender, anywhere.

What is a Social Security Trace?

The Social Security Trace will tell you if the candidate is who they say they are by verifying that the number given by the candidate matches the format issued by the Social Security Administration. We cross-references over 300 indexes and reports additional names and addresses associated with the Social Security number. If the person is who they say they are, you know that all your other searches reflect accurate information.

What are Motor Vehicle Reports?

Finally, for any jobs that involve driving, our customers order Motor Vehicle Reports. Conducting a successful motor vehicle report requires searching the current and historic status of the candidate's driving history using the driver's license number. The history included within the report includes: points, tickets, and accidents. Based on many states statutes this is the best locater for obtaining alcohol related driving offenses. State access fees also vary for this type of search, and can generally be found online.

Through Hireology, our customers can choose from over 20 different types of services depending on what you need to find out. Just click on the job, click on the magnifying glass next to the candidate you're interested in checking, and select the service of your choice! We will handle getting authorization from your candidate, and take care of the rest!

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Margot Baill is the Product Development Director for Hireology- a web-based tool that provides customized interviews, job profiling, and one-click background checks to help companies hire the right person. Start your free trial at www.Hireology.com today! 

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Margot Nash

About the Author

Margot Nash is Hireology's VP of Product where she integrates her experience in psychology, selection consulting and recruitment into Hireology's platform. As a self-proclaimed "selection junkie," Margot has a true passion for understanding the psychology of success and is determined to pioneer a shift in the way businesses approach the hiring process.