The Background Check Lullaby
Written by Matt Visser
Background checks have been a hot topic lately because of the on-going gun control discussion. In many ways, background checks are misunderstood and largely a misplaced stigma surrounds them and the accuracy of them. Many of the movies and television shows we watch have convinced us of capabilities that the government simply does not have. This post is intended to be informational and create a general awareness. Should there be sufficient interest in the subject, I will provide specific citing’s and research to collaborate my statements.
I am the President and Founder of a background screening company (consumer reporting agency) and have been in the industry for almost 10 years. Our organizations services employers of all sizes, in all industries, all over the country as well as property managers and volunteer organizations. I have intimately interacted with criminal record repositories from almost every county and parish in the country, every statewide repository, numerous private nationwide record databases, the FBI’s universal record platform, and other federal and state ancillary record databanks. My company processes many thousands of background checks monthly. A background check is only as good as the data that can be searched and unfortunately, in our country the data is not great.
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Need a custom application?
Screening applicants can be a hassle, whether you’re an employer looking to expand your business or a landlord seeking to fill a vacancy. Our built-in embedded QuickApp helps to ease this burden by allowing you to e-mail your chosen list of applicants a personalized, one-time link to collect the applicant’s authorization and personal identifiers. You can view the blog post about the embedded QuickApp here. However, in some cases, you may not want to take the time to compile a list of applicants, send out the e-mails, and manage the list of pending QuickApps. You may prefer to just put a link on your website that allows applicants to apply at their leisure, or you might even have some needs that the embedded QuickApp doesn’t meet. In those cases, we have another option for you – the custom QuickApp.
To help explain the difference, you might prefer to think of the embedded QuickApp in comparison to a “private casting call”. With default disclosures available for employment, tenant, and volunteer screenings, and at no additional cost to you, your chosen few receive a personalized e-mail invitation to complete the data entry for a background check. The custom QuickApp, by contrast, may be compared to an “open audition”. For a one-time fee, we build an application site that is exactly to your specifications. Once this site is completed, any applicant that is provided with the link may complete an authorization for a background check and submit their personal identifiers for processing at any time. While remaining FCRA-compliant and secure, this customizable site opens up other possibilities that may not be available through the embedded QuickApp.
When designing the custom QuickApp, you may choose to collect any personal identifiers or history from the applicant that you need to complete your applicant’s file, in any format you’d like. For example, the custom QuickApp may be branded with your logo and formatted to exactly match your paper application. You may provide an applicant with a drop down list of positions or properties to apply for, and automatically order the appropriate package for their selection. Some positions may require an applicant to provide five years of employment history or three past employers, whichever is longer. You might want to allow an applicant to admit to their own criminal background, by providing a list of questions about their criminal history with a YES/NO drop down and requiring the applicant to explain any YES answer. Some landlords may choose to ask an applicant if they own a waterbed, or if they plan on smoking on the property. The applicant’s answers are automatically recorded and stored with the printable authorization forms from the applicant’s report results page. If you would prefer to vet each applicant that comes through before ordering their background check, we can send orders to a queue for review before submitting them for processing. You can also require applicants to pay the cost of their own background check with a credit card, or provide them with options to pay your additional fee via check, money order, or any other payment methods you may offer.