Recent changes in marijuana laws and federal visa compliance have lots of employers scratching their heads about their employee screening practices. But screening services aren’t just for businesses in Colorado, Seattle, or border towns; thousands of companies use these services as part of their hiring process to make sure employees really are who they say.
A lot of useful information can come out of a background check, especially when it’s paired with credit and drug screening. According to a 2014 study by CareerBuilder, 58 percent of employers have caught an employee in a lie on their resume, which probably means an even larger percentage of applicants lie and get away with it. By pre-screening employees, you can discover pertinent information that corroborates or disproves the data they’ve listed on their application.
What to Look for in Employment Screening Services
In addition to basic and extensive background and criminal history checks, the best employment screening services offer access to drug testing. Many of these services let you customize your options to include background/employment, credit, drug screening, and online history. You might even find biometrics and fingerprinting services (usually through local partner agencies). For increased safety and compliance, many providers can comb through county and state driving records, social security numbers, and county-level criminal records.
There are so many options here, but the top services generally offer:
- Fast turnaround time: You don’t want to wait weeks to give a thumbs up or down to a candidate. The best employment screening services will provide data-related search results within a week, and drug tests can take anywhere from a day for negative results to a week for more positive results.
- Data accuracy: You obviously want accurate, up-to-date information that matches the person you’re hiring. Companies that have access to local, national, and international databases will provide the best information.
- Compliance: Data sharing across state and international borders is subject to regulatory strictures to ensure privacy and security. Understand the regulatory compliance standards of your industry and region, and make sure the screening service you choose adheres to those standards.
Be careful of services that offer free or inexpensive checks, and read the fine print. One of the highly-recommended sites I researched for this post said in fine print that its services should not be used to make employment or FCRA-compliant decisions.
Top Employment Screening Services
To help you in your search for great employees, we’ve gathered a list of seven employment screening services that don’t suck (and that you can actually use to screen employees).
GoodHire offers background and credit history search products for businesses, individuals, and peer-to-peer communities that rely on the trustworthiness of their members for success. The business products include basic criminal and SSN searches, but also extend to healthcare-related and compliance searches. Build a custom background check with many different options like drug and international screening. You can test candidates for up to 10 types of prescription and illicit drugs, and the employee can take that test through a local service of their choice.
GoodHire offers web, mobile, and API solutions for testing and data transfer. They also provide an online portal for candidates to sign their consent and automatically begin the process.
Good choice for: SMB and Mid-market
Sterling Talent Solutions offers business pre-employment, verification, and monitoring services for small and large businesses, or individuals who need to check their own candidacy profiles. Dedicated executive searches via Bishops Services ensure that C-levels and partners don’t hide any potentially compromising information. Continual and periodic monitoring of FCRA-compliant lists alert businesses if an employee’s legal status changes.
I-9 validation with increased process reliability and real-time validation is reported to decrease employment verification by 75 percent. Automated workflows keep your requests moving through the system while you and candidates complete paperwork and updates on your own time. Sterling offers drug and health testing at over 12,000 sites nationwide.
Good choice for: any size business
BackgroundReport.com is a self-service portal where potential employees can log in and upload information, then you receive the reports. This option provides two main levels of background checks: basic and premium. Premium includes credit and eviction history in addition to the basic criminal and county record checks available at the basic level.
Sign up for a monthly subscription to have BackgroundReport.com scan pertinent documents and rolls for ongoing discovery. Inclusion of housing and credit documents as well as SSN validation makes this a good choice for small businesses, renters, and property managers.
Good choice for: small businesses
This background check provider gives automated access to candidate background information for small and medium businesses. Choose from basic, standard, or premium accounts, and purchase checks when you need them, rather than through a monthly or annual subscription.
The basic accounts level give you access to current-county criminal data in addition to SSN and national sex offender rolls. The standard plan includes a seven-year criminal search and global watch, which checks Patriot Act and similar registries for terrorist and fraud warnings.
Good choice for: small and medium businesses
Despite its checkered past with connections to Snowden and the doomed USIS background screening corp, HireRight has rebuilt their reputation and developed a reliable product. They offer full-service background and screening solutions, from one-off checks to enterprise-level services.
Improve your check turnaround time by getting real-time results as soon as they’re available. An extensive network of integrations with applicant tracking systems (ATS) lets you look up results from the same interface where you track your potential hires. HireRight maintains a large global presence, which gives them access to records in over 240 countries.
Good choice for: enterprise
First Advantage provides employee intelligence analytics to match historical background information against what you provide so your team gets accurate information. Encryption algorithms secure data to make sure you comply with global and local hiring regulations. Users can access data from 27 locations in 13 countries.
First Advantage is committed to customer success and employee retention; they offer free training for their tools and services, so your company can get started faster. Specialized solutions are available for fleet management, sharing economy, and staffing, in addition to general background services.
Good choice for: global and industrial companies
Corporate Screening Services offers a full-service solution designed to help companies build and maintain compliant, safe workplaces. CSS provides healthcare, higher education, and other industry-specific background checks, in addition to international, criminal and credit checks. Specialized screening services include drug testing and immunization records. You can track I-9 eligibility through electronic filing and e-verify programs, as well as verify your candidates’ professional, military, and historical claims.
Good choice for: healthcare and higher education organizations
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Many of these employment screening services can be purchased on their own or in conjunction with a larger applicant tracking system or full-service HR software solution. It’s not a bad idea to contact your ATS provider and ask about rates and partner companies.
Still don’t see what you’re looking for? Use our Product Selection Tool to compare more options and get a custom recommendation based on your needs.