What Does a CRA Background Check?

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Posted by: David Garcia June 24, 2023

Looking for a comprehensive background check solution for applicants? A CRA background check may be the perfect solution. 

A Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) background check is conducted by third-party companies specializing in compiling and providing background information to employers. 

CRA background checks verify many pivotal components of a person’s background, including identity verification, criminal record, credit history, employment verification, and more. It’s a thorough process that involves collecting information based on consent and verifying through meticulous checks for accuracy. 

If you’re considering running CRA background checks on your applicants, continue reading to learn more about what the process entails and to determine if it’s the right type of background check for your candidate.

Identity Verification 

During the hiring process, you should ask for the applicant’s social security number. The third-party company uses databases to ensure the SSN matches their identity. It also can verify other information such as their address. Ultimately, this ensures that the applicant is who they claim to be. 

Criminal Record 

The CRA check will include a criminal background report that covers a variety of offenses, such as: 

  • Traffic offenses: These offenses are only reported if they’re criminal in nature, such as a felony or misdemeanor. 
  • Felonies: Felonies are serious criminal offenses that can involve prison time. 
  • Misdemeanors: These are crimes that are less than felonies but are punishable by county jail incarceration or fines. 

However, the criminal record won’t show non-convictions, sealed records, or juvenile crimes. 

Credit History 

Credit history can be integral to positions where employees are handling money. Generally, the screening process will pull up the applicant’s credit report, which will show the number of accounts and bankruptcies. The CRA background check will also show the person’s credit-to-debt ratio but not actual credit scores, providing detailed insight into your candidate’s responsibility for their financial obligations. 

Education Verification 

A CRA background will verify that your candidate has the proper educational credentials needed for the position. Typically, it’ll confirm the candidate’s enrollment history, type of degree obtained, major completion status, and graduation date. Some services may even request transcripts from the university or school, giving them access to specific grades obtained. As an employer, you’ll know whether your applicants are truthful about their degrees. 

Employment Verification 

Another common area where candidates tend to embellish is their work history. Some job seekers will tweak their job titles, overstate their work responsibilities, or edit employment dates. 

Consumer Reporting Agencies will contact your previous employers directly to verify the information provided in the application. Typically, employment verification will include crucial information such as their job title, employment dates, and sometimes reasons for leaving a job. 

Drug Tests 

CRAs may work with an approved drug testing provider as part of the comprehensive background check services. Typically, an employer may request drug testing, and the CRA will coordinate the details. 

The applicant will then visit the designated facility for urine, hair, or oral fluid testing. From there, drug test results will inform the employer whether the individual is positive or negative for various substances. Generally, the drug tests include ten different substances. 

Negative Results In Your Background Checks

Candidates that fail background checks can raise red flags, but that can depend on the severity of the case. When a prospect fails a criminal record search, you may want to consider the nature of the crime. However, some industries require a clean record. For example, jobs that mandate high-security clearance usually deny you for major offenses. 

One 2021 study found that 4.6% of the US workforce is failing urine drug screens. Many employers, especially in the healthcare, transportation, law enforcement, and construction industry, will make job offers contingent upon prospects passing the drug test. 

Negative results can raise concerns about the candidate’s suitability and integrity. For example, criminal records put your entire organization and the safety of your customers at potential risk. 

When finding negative results, follow EEOC and FTC regulations to prevent discrimination against employees. If employers deny an applicant based on the background check results, they usually have to provide a written adverse action notice. 

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re still curious about what’s included in typical background checks, we’ve put together an FAQ section for your reference. 

What Is Revealed During a Background Check?

Background check information can vary depending on the service the employer used. However, the most common items that may appear on the background check are credit reports, identity verification, criminal records, driving records, education history, work history, civil court records, residence history, and social media and online presence.  

Final Thoughts

CRA background checks are essential to help employers improve decision-making, increase workplace safety and protect their company’s reputation. 

Without these checks, your organization is prone to serious risks. 
Fortunately, reliable background service providers like ScoutLogic can help support your hiring process. We provide extensive searches in one place, so you can find the information you need to make the right decision. Contact ScoutLogic and let us help you handle your background checks for you.

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