Get the Most Out of Your Background Checks

Nov 3, 2014

There are thousands of criminal searches available so, how do you know which one to use? This article will give you an insight to perform a quality background check so you can get the most out of your consumer reports.

DATCS started providing motor vehicle records in 2008 as part of DOT driver compliance and soon after added criminal searches. If you are anything like us, we were overwhelmed with all of the available criminal searches. In a perfect world it would be great to use all of them but unfortunately, a single database search does not exist. Another important factor is budget. The more searches you conduct, the higher the cost. As employers, you want to conduct the most effective searches while keeping your costs as low as possible.

First, you should be conducting proper identity research. This includes gathering names, aliases, and dates of birth, Social Security Numbers (SSN), and previous addresses where the employee has lived. Identity research should be requested from the employee but, it would be ignorant to assume that the employee will give you accurate information, especially if they may be attempting to hide something. Take advantage of the validation tools in your DATCS certified screen web system. This tool will validate SSN and drivers licenses to help insure the information entered is accurate before the order is placed, helping to save you time and effort. As a best practice, request the actual driver’s license and social security cards from your employees. DATCS offers a SSN Trace to identify the name with the SSN and provides an alias and address history for the name and SSN.

Research should be conducted in each jurisdiction associated with the applicant. “National” and State databases cover a large scope and are great searches for identifying jurisdictions associated with the applicant but can miss a large percentage of criminal records. Since only certain jurisdictions report and update at different time intervals, these reports do not contain “live” data and may contain outdated information. County courthouses are the best source for “live” criminal records in that they reflect pending and the most up to date criminal cases. Also, don’t limit your searches to single counties. Single county searches may miss offenses in other jurisdictions. The national and state databases should be used to “point” to the jurisdictions associated with the applicant.

Federal criminal records, although uncommon, should still be considered. Federal criminal records are in a separate criminal system but only contain a small percentage of the criminal records compared to the county level due to the severity of the cases involved. Federal criminal records are only identified by names and do not contain identifying information such as SSN and dates of birth so, the verification process can be difficult. If you are looking to budget any of your searches, a Federal search is where you can cut cost but only due to the rarity of these types of records. You should consider your company’s policy in regards to disqualifying offenses for specific job positions.

Contact DATCS for more information about implementing background screening into your workforce at 888-201-0242.