What is a Comprehensive Background Check and How To Do It

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Posted by: David Garcia July 15, 2020

Comprehensive background checks are a form of background screening used by companies to gain a better insight into potential employees.

What is a Comprehensive Background Check?

Employers are increasingly using background checks of all varieties to gain better insight into who they may be hiring. A comprehensive background check works to provide a full profile of an individual through background screening.

This includes the review of past information including criminal records, public records, and court records. The complexity of any comprehensive background check can vary based on which service a company opts for. Some may only check for previous criminal activity, whereas others can go as far as checking education validity and employment credit reports.

The three key components of a comprehensive background check generally include:

  • Identity verification: social security number or previous address history
  • Review of public records: statewide and county criminal, public, and court records
  • Conducting verifications: to verify educational or professional attributes featured on an applicants resume

The degree to which a comprehensive background check is performed varies based on industry and position. The checks required for a physician will go further than that of a receptionist, for instance.

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Why Do You Need to Conduct a Comprehensive Background Check?

The most obvious reason for performing a comprehensive background check is to minimize risk. No employer wants to go through the arduous hiring process only to have to repeat it when they discover their new employee is a sex offender.

However, it’s important to be sensible about employment screening. There’s a difference between an applicant embellishing their professional background and outright fabricating information. While the vast majority of applicants will not be lying about their educational or professional history, you don’t want to hire the one that did.

A mistake like this is not only costly to your company financially, it can also cost you a lot of time. In addition to that, you may compromise the safety of your workplace and staff if you don’t perform your due diligence.

Depending on how severe the individual’s previous actions were, it may also affect your company’s reputation. It simply isn’t worth taking the risk. Initially, it may seem like an unnecessary cost to have a third party company perform a comprehensive background check for you. However, in the long-run, it may save you a lot.

How to Carry Out a Comprehensive Background Check?

From your perspective as a company, the best way to perform background checks is to pay for another service to handle it. At first, it might seem cheaper to do it yourself, but you will quickly discover this is not the case. Internal employment background checks are fraught with error, may not be compliant with federal and local laws, and can wrack up costs surprisingly fast.

The screening services dedicated to these background checks will provide you with accurate results that are worth the investment. Your role is mostly selecting which service to go with based on your employment requirements. Don’t try to cut corners when selecting a screening service.

The intention of a background check is to assess the criminality of an applicant. The last thing you want to do is incriminate your own company in the process. The Fair Credit Reporting Act, for instance, is just one example of how an applicant’s information is protected.

It is your responsibility to ensure that any background checks you perform do not violate either state or federal law. This is why it’s imperative to go with a screening service you can trust.


For expert advice or more information on how your company could benefit from performing comprehensive background checks, contact ScoutLogic today! We are fully FCRA compliant and offer screening including criminal history, qualification validity, and professional history checks.

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