As a business owner, it is your responsibility to ensure your office, employees, and customers are safe. Your customers are depending on you to secure their interactions with you, financial info, paperwork, etc. and your employees trust you to keep them safe in the workplace.
Criminal background checks are one of the main factors in creating a safe work environment; before hiring someone or promoting an employee, hence giving them more responsibilities in your business, you need to ensure this employee isn’t a danger to you, your employees, or your business. If you have a new hire or someone that you feel can give you trouble, a background check is what you need.
What is a Criminal Background Check? A criminal background check is running a check on an applicant, looking into their criminal record, and ensuring they don’t have any criminal or suspicious acts on their record that could pose as a threat or danger. A general background check goes through your criminal record, financial record, and employment history. It gives you deeper insight into the applicant’s info to verify their claims, work experience, and things on their resume.
- Companies of all sizes, large or small conduct background checks to avoid liability issues and future trouble in their business. Jobs like being a teacher, doctor, security guard, driver, caretaker, volunteer, etc. all require getting a background check. You’ll also need to get one if you’re applying for a permit or license (real estate license, driver’s license, etc.) The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) defines what appears and doesn’t appear on an applicant’s background check. This may differ from one company to another, depending on the job, company needs, and state regulations. There are multiple ways to get a background check and they are:
How to run a Background Check on someone?
- Use a screening or search agency: There are many third-party agencies, not governmental entities that can conduct a type of background check – they perform a thorough online search and have access to a public database like law enforcement records, court records, and through a county criminal search. The advantage of this method is that you can get a specific clearance through one search done without the rest. However, the disadvantages are more; there are fake agencies, overpriced agencies, and most importantly the results may not be 100% accurate.
- Since their database is public and available online, it may not be up-to-date and contains a lot of old data since it isn’t from a governmental entity directly like the FBI or DOJ. You can use this method as a backup to the primary check but it isn’t enough on its own. When looking for a search agency, choose an agency that has positive feedback and isn’t overpriced. You will also need the applicant’s written approval before doing this check.
- Ink Fingerprinting: Using a standard FD-258 Ink Card, you can get an FBI background check done. You can get this card online, at a Police Station, Sheriff’s Office, notary office, and some live scan locations have it too. However, you cannot put your own fingerprints onto the card because it needs to be done by a professional, any smudges or errors would result in you needing to redo the process.
- Once your fingerprints are on the card, you need to mail it out to the FBI; the address is available on the card. This check will only provide the FBI clearance, not the DOJ, CACI, Firearm, etc. You should receive the results in an average of 2 months, which is usually not the best option if you’re applying for a job or are in a hurry.
- Live Scan fingerprinting: A live scan is capturing an applicant’s fingerprints electronically, through an electronic scanner without using any ink. The process is more accurate because it excludes smudges or fingerprinting errors. You can get the FBI, DOJ, CACI, and Firearms clearance through a live scan process. And most importantly, it is a time-saving process; applicants or the employer gets the results back within 3 – 5 business days.
- You can find the closest live scan fingerprinting locations to you, by searching with your zip code or city. A live scan is done by a certified operator and the transaction is sent electronically, directly to the DOJ/ FBI for processing once it’s done. It is a fast and simple process; it is also the safest and most accurate way of getting a background check.