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10 Myths About Background Checks Debunked

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Posted by: David Garcia January 16, 2024
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Whether you’re doing them for your business or you’re an employee who’s being subjected to one, you’ve likely heard of background checks. The problem is that there is a lot of misinformation out there on what a background check is, the types of background checks, and what the outcomes mean for your company or position.

ScoutLogic, we’ve taken several of these areas of misinformation and myths surrounding background checks and debunked them for you. Read on to find out more.

1. They Take a Long Time To Complete

Contrary to popular belief, background checks are actually relatively quick. The process is designed to be efficient, and while enough time must be taken to get an accurate picture of the person being investigated, you’d be surprised by just how quickly that can be completed.

The great majority of background checks are completed within three working days, and many can be done as quickly as 24 hours. Whether using it in a hiring process or in the middle of employment, that short turnaround is guaranteed to keep all systems moving as swiftly as they should.

2. All Providers Use The Same Identity Verification Process

When it comes to the investigation, most background check services will use what is known as a National SSN Trace. Each search will use a database to find all the required information. But that doesn’t mean that each database is equal – or that each provider will use the same one.

It’s essential that the services you use go to databases that have thousands (if not more) of sources to pull from. That way, you will get the most accurate and reliable results.

The whole point of a background check is to gather information that will help decide if a person is fit for the role, so it’s essential the information you are basing your decision on is comprehensive.

3. Checks Are Only Needed for Pre-Employment

This is one of those myths that has taken on a name for itself, but it’s just not true. There’s no reason why you – as an employer – should be limiting your checks to the hiring stage. In fact, there’s a big argument that you should be doing continuous background checks throughout your employees’ time with you.

That’s because circumstances change, and a person’s eligibility for a role can change with them. It’s important that you have the right people in place in your company. Whether that be for the safety of others or even for the protection of themselves, doing regular background checks can ensure this is the case.

4. All Providers Are Equally Reliable

We’ve already debunked the idea that all background check providers use the same identity verification process; this step goes hand-in-hand with that. The reliability of each provider depends on many factors. Not just which databases they are using but how in-depth they are searching, the kind of information they are looking for, and how comprehensively they are searching.

When choosing your background check provider, it’s important to do your research to ensure that you get the right one. As the results of these checks will likely help to inform the hiring process, you should feel secure in the knowledge that your provider is reliable.

5. Small Businesses Don’t Need To Use Background Checks

For some reason, the idea that small or medium companies don’t need to do background checks made its way into the business universe. While we’re ensure where that logic came from, what we do know is that small and medium-sized businesses absolutely should be doing background checks. Here’s why:

A background check is about ensuring you get the best candidate for the role you are hiring (or that a current employee is still the best fit). Having good hires is just as, if not more, important in small businesses. You deserve reliable and valuable employees just as much as the larger organizations.

6. Employers Get Access to Motor Vehicle Reports (MVR) Instantly

This might be something that pulls you in towards the advertising company, but it’s red flag territory in the background check business. While it is possible to obtain motor vehicle reports relatively quickly, a lot of the time, further checks are needed before they can be released. Any company releasing them immediately will have bypassed these checks, so you should be wary of them.

These additional checks might exist to ensure the results are entirely up-to-date, as sometimes databases aren’t updated in real-time). Likewise, others might be to check various state regulations – especially if your (potential) employee has moved states recently. All these things take time and should not be rushed.

7. All Providers Give the Same Information

This is potentially one of the most damaging myths on this list because it can mean employers bypass excellent service providers for not-so-reliable ones, which can have hugely adverse effects on you and your team. You should always check exactly what kind of information the provider you choose will search for because there might be some areas you require that they don’t cover.

At a minimum, we recommend looking for a company that looks at the criminal backgroundcredit history, and credentials of each person.

8. Background Checks Can Delay the Hiring Process

As we mentioned in our first point, background checks have a pretty quick turnaround. That means the likelihood of them delaying the hiring process is next to none. All that is required is for the checks to be factored into the hiring process, which will be absorbed into time spent doing other initiation tasks.

9. Employers Are Looking For a Reason Not to Hire You

This is probably the top myth circulating around, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Hiring the right person is important not only for the company but also for the employee. You wouldn’t want to be in a role you are not suitable for.

If your employer is doing a background check on you, know it is nothing personal; this is likely standard procedure for every candidate. 

10. A Criminal Record Will Disqualify You As A Candidate

If you take away one point from this article, let it be this. A criminal record does not automatically disqualify you from being a candidate for a job. Each employer has a different set of requirements, and it’s worth speaking to your potential employer about this to ascertain their requirements, but a lot of the time, it won’t disqualify you. More often than not, the employer just needs to be made aware – and they can make their own decisions from there.

Final Thoughts

While background checks may have less than favorable reputations at times, they are valuable parts of the hiring process. Furthermore, they should be used throughout an employee’s time with your company. 

Contact us at ScoutLogic to learn more about the types of background screening services we offer and how we can help you.

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