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Background Checks for Everyone!

By Richard Scott, VP Outsourcing Services, General Information Services Inc.

Everyone knows that they should be performing background checks on their employees. Background checks promote safety, reduce turnover, and help ensure that you have the best possible employee performing your tasks and working with your clients. It’s really a no-brainer.

So why wouldn’t you Require your Outsourced Suppliers to Screen their Employees?

These vendor/supplier employees are just as responsible for making sure that your company is successful and, depending on the service they’re providing, may have equal or greater opportunity to prey on your business than any one of your direct employees. The risks are as real as with a direct employee, so the background checks should be as robust.

Still, we’ve found that businesses tend to shy away from requiring suppliers to perform background checks because of the perceived logistical and legal issues, even though these are easily overcome.

“One key way to weigh a background screening company’s abilities is to look at their national criminal database”

 

Perceived Logistical Issues

A lot of background screening companies offer some sort of vendor or non-employee screening program, which would be ideal for the relationship between organizations outsourcing work and organizations providing the outsourced work. But frequently the systems are convoluted, made to fit within the background screening company’s framework rather than being made to fit what makes sense for the company doing the outsourcing.

The typical system relies on the sponsor company – the one for whom the work is being done – running the reports with their chosen screening company and charging their vendor for all associated costs. It puts the burden squarely on the sponsor company.

The ideal system, though, is very different. Take the backgroundchecks.com system as an example. Essentially, the sponsor company negotiates with GIS and/ or backgroundchecks.com to get a rate for their vendors. They are provided with a discount code and landing page to send out, and then their work is done. (If the sponsor company wishes to provide more information, like preferred searches or packages, we can accommodate that but it’s not required.)

Once the sponsor company has a program set up, the vendor simply registers for an account using the provided code to get the preferred pricing and then runs their background checks – from traditional county/ state/federal criminal history searches to non-traditional national database searches, from Motor Vehicle Records to education and employment verifications and beyond into basically anything they could ever need to know. They pay for everything themselves – nothing is invoiced to the sponsor company, meaning that they don’t have to deal with getting reimbursed or asking for credits from their vendors.

Once the check is finalized, the vendor can provide a completion certificate to the sponsor company. The completion certificate includes the individual that was screened and the checks that were run. No other information is provided – done purposefully to protect the sponsor company from legal issues.

And that leads us to…

Perceived Legal Issues

The major concern with requiring your outsourcers to perform background checks is the co-employer conundrum. By requiring that background checks be done, and by dictating what constitutes an acceptable risk (and therefore who should be hired), you could be held liable as the candidate’s employer if it came to a lawsuit.

That’s why the system proposed earlier is ideal. You can require that background checks be done – even specify which checks and ensure that they’re using an organization that you trust – and receive confirmation that the checks are done. But by leaving the final decision in the hands of your outsourcer – the actual employer – you can’t be held responsible for EEO or negligent hiring claims. The balance gives you the best of both worlds.

Of course, regardless of how awesome the system is, your primary concern needs to be working with a background screening company that provides the services you need in a way that you can trust.

One key way to weigh a background screening company’s abilities is to look at their national criminal database. Whatever they choose to call it, the national criminal database would be a file of millions of records pulled from sources around the United States. Most screening companies provide one, but comparing them isn’t as simple as just looking at the number of records and sources. Instead, you have to compare their data acquisition, data integrity, data updates and data searching technology.

Data Acquisition

From what sources are the screening companies getting their data? Are they going only for the 'low hanging fruit' or outdated flat files of information? Or do they have an entire team dedicated to uncovering new county, state, department of corrections and security sources? The former leads to outdated and frequently unusable information, where the latter leads to one of the most comprehensive criminal database available.

Data Integrity

How do the companies ensure that they’re staying current on expungement information? Do they have a partnership with an expungement law firm that allows them to remove the most current expungement and order of non-disclosure records? Do they even have a process in place? Or are they simply relying on the courts to provide information as they can? While that’s not necessarily a bad process, it can lead to missing the removal of some records.

Data Updates

How quickly will data be updated once the information gets to the background screening company? The accuracy of database searches is heavily reliant on the refresh rate of the data sources that are acquired. When update files are received from a source, they need to be searchable in a time measured within days. Not weeks. Not months. Days.

Data Searching Technology

How strong is the query search logic tied to the data? Even with the most extensive record set available, any search is only as strong as the search logic. You want a company with search logic that employs algorithms that have been proven in side-by-side comparisons against competitors.

Conducting background checks provides a solid ROI. Not only does it help you meet legal requirements, but also that you are hiring the type of individual you want within your organization. When selecting a background screening provider you should ensure that they can provide you a complete array of products and services incorporating the latest technology.

GIS has a vast industry experience of 45 years in background screening solutions. Headquartered in Chapin, USA, the company provides worldwide service to top Fortune 500 companies in all market sectors and has received numerous awards for customer service and customer satisfaction.