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The Attorney-Preferred Private Investigators

Insights of Investigative Techniques

Pre-Employment Screening Services Overview

Applicant background screening (Pre-Employment Reports) are conducted so that objective and informed decisions may be made by those responsible for hiring. Job positions and responsibilities require different degrees of background screening. We offer various levels of Pre-Employments Reports; from a basic, one-jurisdiction criminal check to full executive profiles detailing an applicant’s business and personal background relevant to employment.

Choosing a Pre-Employment Report That Fits

To simplify choosing a background report that fits, we offer three Pre-Employment Report packages that contain the most commonly requested background options. Background options can be removed and added to each package as needed to customize a Pre-Employment Report that suites your needs. You can place orders online. Once a request has been submitted, a professionally produced and documented background report is delivered within 24-72 hours.

NOTE: Our Pre-Employment Reports are accurate and thorough, and this requires the involvement of an investigative researcher. We are not a background report “factory” producing fully automated reports like many national screening companies. The cost and completion time of the two background approaches is the same but the difference in result and quality is significant. Mass produced, automated reports often have false positives and false negatives and have many hidden “information holes.” It comes down to either having a pre-employment background done for the sake of meeting a hiring or policy requirement or having it done to truly verify an individual’s background and have something you can rely on. The bottom line…if you are going to pay for a background investigation, it should be something useful and supported with research documentation.

View Full Pre-Employment Packages Here
View Criminal Background Checks here

Full Pre-Employment Reports

Applicant background screening (Pre-Employment Reports) are conducted so that objective and informed decisions may be made by those responsible for hiring. We offer clients various levels of background checks; from a basic one-jurisdiction criminal check to full executive profiles detailing an applicant’s business and personal background relevant to employment.

Criminal Record Checks

ORDER CRIMINAL CHECKS HERE. Various levels of criminal records checks are available on applicants and individuals. Please click to see a description, cost, and turn-around-time for each. Most checks are completed in 6 to 24 hours

Frequently Asked Pre-Employment Screening Questions

General Pre-Employment Background FAQ’s2021-12-30T12:47:29-05:00

Q:        Can I run an employee background check on someone who we have already hired?

A:        Yes, provided you have the required authorization in place.

 

Q:        Can I run a background check if we have information that our employee recently got into some type of trouble?

A:        Provided you have the required authorization in place, yes. You must be careful here, though, depending on the type of “trouble”, since you do not want to be seen investigating, for example, an employee’s real or perceived disability.

 

Q:        Can an employer inquire about a candidate’s personal habits and lifestyle, like sexual preference, marital status, etc.?

A:        As a general rule, no. Matters such as these are frequently protected by the state, local and federal anti-discrimination laws.

 

Q:        If we begin conducting pre-employment background checks, are we obligated to run them on our current employees as well?

A:        No, provided you are making the distinction for business reasons and not as a pretext for discrimination against a protected class of employees or prospective employees.

 

Q:        If we have a background check conducted and there are adverse findings in the report, can we ignore them and hire the candidate anyway?

A:        Yes, the information produced by a background check is just that; information. It is up to you to weigh the results of an investigation to determine whether it has sufficient weight to affect the hiring decision.

 

Q:        If an applicant is new to this country or here on a work visa, are we obligated to conduct a background investigation in their home country?

A:        No, you are not obligated to conduct an investigation in a foreign country, which can often prove impractical or cost-prohibitive. One alternative is to request a prospective employee’s visa file under the Federal Freedom of Information ACT, which often contains a fair amount of background information.

 

Q:        Can we deny a candidate a position based solely on a poor credit record?

A:        The answer to this question may vary from state to state and from position to position. While some states allow the use of credit records as part of the screening process, other states have limited the use of credit to only positions where the applicant will be placed in a position of financial responsibility within the hiring company.

For those states that do allow the use of credit records, there is no express prohibition against denying an applicant based solely on a credit record, but the use of credit records alone has been challenged on the grounds that it is used as a proxy for other, clear discriminatory bases, such as race or sex. Federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because they have filed for bankruptcy protection. Great caution should be taken when considering this category of information; the benefit of a complete background check is that it provides a multi-faceted picture of the applicant, allowing the employers to make a decision based on the entire record, not just one aspect of it.

 

Q:        What do we do if the candidate insists that the information contained in the background report is not accurate?

A:        If the candidate is denied employment due solely to the negative background check, the candidate should be given an opportunity to dispute the information and prove that it is incorrect. Typically, the candidate will dispute the information with a credit reporting agency or other source of the allegedly bad information.

 

Q:        I only have a few employees. Does the FCRA apply to me?

A:        Yes. The FCRA does not distinguish between a small business owner and large corporation. If the information you seek on an applicant or current employee meets the definition of a consumer report and the information is compiled by a consumer reporting agency, the FCR applies no matter how many employees you have.

 

Q:        Does the FCRA apply to current employees we wish to screen?

A:        Yes. The same law applies to ALL checks made for employment purposed. IT covers a report used “for the purpose of evaluating a consumer for employment, promotion, reassignment or retention as an employee.” (15 USC §1681 a (h)) The same is true whether you are a California business owner or located in another state in which only the FCRA applies.

 

Q:        How long should it take for a background investigation to be completed?

This all depends upon the state or states that the applicant has resided in and the types of searches you request. Some states offer resources that produce same-day results. Others take additional time to search for records and return their findings. Typically, one to five business days are normal.

 

An additional factor to take into account is the verification of employment and or education. These types of verifications can take up to two weeks to complete in extreme cases because the cooperation of the past employer is required. After making contact with applicant’s previous employers, there may be some time for them to search their records or have the appropriate person call us back. In these cases, the screening agency often produces a report with the initial findings and then provides a supplemental report when the employment or education verification is complete.

 

Q:        Why do some employee screening companies offer Instant On-Line Results?

A:        Unfortunately, these Pre-Employment Background Checks companies are selling you free information that is very poor substitute for an actual investigations. What these firms do is collect old public record information on individuals or purchases it from some other firms that collect it, limiting their searches to just that data. The bad news is, these types of instant searches are almost always incomplete and usually outdated. Essentially they are trying to lure you into purchasing their “instant” turn around time, but they fail to tell you how poor the quality of information really is. With these companies, you are buying their disclaimer, not the background check.

 

Q:        How many years do criminal records go back?

A:        Each state, county and city is different. Some courthouses choose to only maintain seven years of records, some hold on to cases for ten years and others have no time limit to age of their records. Arrest records are often maintained the same way. Whereas one state may keep arrest and conviction data for seven years, some for ten and others have records that go as far back as they have been recording them. Unfortunately, there is no set rule, but seven to ten years is most common.

 

Q:        What are the costs involved with conducting Pre-Employment Background Checks on potential employees? Are there additional fees associated with these searches?

A:        This will largely depend on how much security you need in your hiring process. Legitimate background checks can cost as little as thirty dollars. For a more sensitive hire, you may elect to have a more comprehensive search conducted. Most employee screening firms offer packages searches and can customize those to save money.

Are Social Media Profiles Off-Limits For Background Checks?2021-12-27T16:32:22-05:00

This is a common misconception especially among job applicants with unsavory online habits. They assume that recruiters won’t check out their social media profiles. Although this may have been true in the past, recruiters are now sensitive about employees’ online behavior. They know this can impact their brand in one way or another.

Currently, most background checks focus on criminal records, education or previous employment. However, some recruiters now ask background vendors to perform social media background checks and comb through applicants’ social media profiles. Any questionable behavior such as abusive or profane posts and indecent pictures or videos can cause them to reconsider their hiring decisions.

In a nutshell, those are the six most common pre-employment background check misconceptions. For employers, some of the misconceptions (e.g. about criminal records and the power of applicants) can create avenues for getting sued. For job applicants, some of the misconceptions (e.g. about lying in resumes, and social media profiles) can cause them to engage in behaviors which can reduce their chances of getting hired. Therefore, both employees and job seekers need to seek factual information about pre-employment background checks.

Can Lying In A Résumé Cover Up Employment Background Information?2021-12-27T16:31:35-05:00

Some job applicants think that they can throw background screeners off-track by lying in their résumés. This is common among those who had not-so-good experiences with previous employers. It is also common applicants those which criminal records.

This approach may actually work if the background check is carried out by a sloppy vendor. However, any decent vendor will unveil the truth, and the applicant will be guaranteed not to get hired. The reason for this is simple: some employers can give even someone with a criminal record a benefit of the doubt. Almost no employer can even consider hiring someone who lied in their résumé.

Will Having No Previous Conviction Lead To A Clean Background Check?2021-12-27T16:30:52-05:00

This misconception is common among job seekers. Some employers also harbor it. The assumption is that if someone has never been convicted, any criminal background check on them will be clean.

However, background check results sometimes reveal criminal records – even for someone who has never been convicted. There are two possible explanations for this. First of all, a background check can sometimes yield someone else’s criminal records – often someone with a name similar to the applicant. This is similar to the scenario in which innocent people sometimes find themselves on the “No Fly List”, simply because their names resemble that of a terrorist.

The second possible explanation is identity theft. An applicant may have been a victim of identity theft and not even know it. Someone may have stolen their identity and used it to commit crimes.

The bottom line is that a background check can reveal criminal records for someone who has actually never committed a crime. This is why employers are often cautioned to give applicants an opportunity to clarify the information in the background checks. Applicants are often urged to commission background checks on themselves, so that they can see what information comes up.

Are All Background Checks The Same?2021-12-27T16:30:02-05:00

This misconception is common among employers. In fact, it is often perpetrated by vendors of cheap background check services. The goal of such vendors is to convince employers that their services are as good as the more costly ones.

However, this is a fallacy. For starters, there are different types of pre-employment background checks e.g. criminal background checks, education verification, employment verification, and sanction checks. These are clearly not the same.

Even for the same type of background checks, the results are rarely the same. Take criminal background checks for instance. There are numerous sources of data e.g. national crime databases, FBI fingerprinting, state crime databases, international databases (e.g. INTERPOL’s database), court records, and even the DMV (for traffic crimes records). Not all vendors look into all these sources of data.

The bottom line is, not all background checks are the same. The checks are conducted depending on their intended purpose. Also, each vendor has their own approach to background checking. As a result, two background checks on a single individual can yield very different results.

Are Applicants Powerless?2021-12-27T16:29:16-05:00

Most job applicants believe that they are powerless when it comes to background checks. They think that employers hold all the cards. In fact, some employers and background check companies also think that job seekers have are powerless.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives job applicants a lot of power. For instance, a background check cannot be carried out without the applicant’s permission.

Also, FCRA mandates that, when the background check leads to a “no hire” decision, the employer is supposed to explain to the job applicant in writing, why the decision was taken. An applicant is also entitled to a copy of the background report, and can even challenge the contents.

The EEOC places restrictions when criminal background checks can be used during the hiring process. Many state “Ban the Box” laws place similar restrictions. A job seeker is allowed to sue any employer who conducts background checks outside the bounds of the law. Basically, job seekers aren’t as powerless as they imagine.

Does A Criminal Record Mean A No Hire?2021-12-27T16:28:30-05:00

Both employers and job seekers tend to have this misconception. Most recruiters think that by virtue of having a criminal record, an applicant shouldn’t be hired. Most job seekers also think that a criminal record means they won’t get hired.

The reality is seldom black and white. For starters, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) places certain restrictions on when criminal records can be used to deny employment. One EEOC requirement is that the nature of conviction must directly affect the nature of the job. For instance, a DUI may disqualify someone applying to be school driver, but it cannot be grounds for disqualifying a would-be accountant.

Also, as most employers and staffing companies have realized, employment background checks sometimes return false results. Therefore, rushing to make decisions can lead to lawsuits. As such, most employers now offer applicants an opportunity to clarify their criminal records. In some cases, such a clarification can tilt the tide in the applicant’s favor. The bottom line is that a criminal record doesn’t automatically mean No Hire.

Pre-Employment Screening Services Overview

Applicant background screening (Pre-Employment Reports) are conducted so that objective and informed decisions may be made by those responsible for hiring. Job positions and responsibilities require different degrees of background screening. We offer various levels of Pre-Employments Reports; from a basic, one-jurisdiction criminal check to full executive profiles detailing an applicant’s business and personal background relevant to employment.

Choosing a Pre-Employment Report That Fits

To simplify choosing a background report that fits, we offer three Pre-Employment Report packages that contain the most commonly requested background options. Background options can be removed and added to each package as needed to customize a Pre-Employment Report that suites your needs. You can place orders online. Once a request has been submitted, a professionally produced and documented background report is delivered within 24-72 hours.

NOTE: Our Pre-Employment Reports are accurate and thorough, and this requires the involvement of an investigative researcher. We are not a background report “factory” producing fully automated reports like many national screening companies. The cost and completion time of the two background approaches is the same but the difference in result and quality is significant. Mass produced, automated reports often have false positives and false negatives and have many hidden “information holes.” It comes down to either having a pre-employment background done for the sake of meeting a hiring or policy requirement or having it done to truly verify an individual’s background and have something you can rely on. The bottom line…if you are going to pay for a background investigation, it should be something useful and supported with research documentation.

View Full Pre-Employment Packages Here
View Criminal Background Checks here

Full Pre-Employment Reports

Applicant background screening (Pre-Employment Reports) are conducted so that objective and informed decisions may be made by those responsible for hiring. We offer clients various levels of background checks; from a basic one-jurisdiction criminal check to full executive profiles detailing an applicant’s business and personal background relevant to employment.

Criminal Record Checks

ORDER CRIMINAL CHECKS HERE. Various levels of criminal records checks are available on applicants and individuals. Please click to see a description, cost, and turn-around-time for each. Most checks are completed in 6 to 24 hours

Frequently Asked Pre-Employment Screening Questions

General Pre-Employment Background FAQ’s2021-12-30T12:47:29-05:00

Q:        Can I run an employee background check on someone who we have already hired?

A:        Yes, provided you have the required authorization in place.

 

Q:        Can I run a background check if we have information that our employee recently got into some type of trouble?

A:        Provided you have the required authorization in place, yes. You must be careful here, though, depending on the type of “trouble”, since you do not want to be seen investigating, for example, an employee’s real or perceived disability.

 

Q:        Can an employer inquire about a candidate’s personal habits and lifestyle, like sexual preference, marital status, etc.?

A:        As a general rule, no. Matters such as these are frequently protected by the state, local and federal anti-discrimination laws.

 

Q:        If we begin conducting pre-employment background checks, are we obligated to run them on our current employees as well?

A:        No, provided you are making the distinction for business reasons and not as a pretext for discrimination against a protected class of employees or prospective employees.

 

Q:        If we have a background check conducted and there are adverse findings in the report, can we ignore them and hire the candidate anyway?

A:        Yes, the information produced by a background check is just that; information. It is up to you to weigh the results of an investigation to determine whether it has sufficient weight to affect the hiring decision.

 

Q:        If an applicant is new to this country or here on a work visa, are we obligated to conduct a background investigation in their home country?

A:        No, you are not obligated to conduct an investigation in a foreign country, which can often prove impractical or cost-prohibitive. One alternative is to request a prospective employee’s visa file under the Federal Freedom of Information ACT, which often contains a fair amount of background information.

 

Q:        Can we deny a candidate a position based solely on a poor credit record?

A:        The answer to this question may vary from state to state and from position to position. While some states allow the use of credit records as part of the screening process, other states have limited the use of credit to only positions where the applicant will be placed in a position of financial responsibility within the hiring company.

For those states that do allow the use of credit records, there is no express prohibition against denying an applicant based solely on a credit record, but the use of credit records alone has been challenged on the grounds that it is used as a proxy for other, clear discriminatory bases, such as race or sex. Federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because they have filed for bankruptcy protection. Great caution should be taken when considering this category of information; the benefit of a complete background check is that it provides a multi-faceted picture of the applicant, allowing the employers to make a decision based on the entire record, not just one aspect of it.

 

Q:        What do we do if the candidate insists that the information contained in the background report is not accurate?

A:        If the candidate is denied employment due solely to the negative background check, the candidate should be given an opportunity to dispute the information and prove that it is incorrect. Typically, the candidate will dispute the information with a credit reporting agency or other source of the allegedly bad information.

 

Q:        I only have a few employees. Does the FCRA apply to me?

A:        Yes. The FCRA does not distinguish between a small business owner and large corporation. If the information you seek on an applicant or current employee meets the definition of a consumer report and the information is compiled by a consumer reporting agency, the FCR applies no matter how many employees you have.

 

Q:        Does the FCRA apply to current employees we wish to screen?

A:        Yes. The same law applies to ALL checks made for employment purposed. IT covers a report used “for the purpose of evaluating a consumer for employment, promotion, reassignment or retention as an employee.” (15 USC §1681 a (h)) The same is true whether you are a California business owner or located in another state in which only the FCRA applies.

 

Q:        How long should it take for a background investigation to be completed?

This all depends upon the state or states that the applicant has resided in and the types of searches you request. Some states offer resources that produce same-day results. Others take additional time to search for records and return their findings. Typically, one to five business days are normal.

 

An additional factor to take into account is the verification of employment and or education. These types of verifications can take up to two weeks to complete in extreme cases because the cooperation of the past employer is required. After making contact with applicant’s previous employers, there may be some time for them to search their records or have the appropriate person call us back. In these cases, the screening agency often produces a report with the initial findings and then provides a supplemental report when the employment or education verification is complete.

 

Q:        Why do some employee screening companies offer Instant On-Line Results?

A:        Unfortunately, these Pre-Employment Background Checks companies are selling you free information that is very poor substitute for an actual investigations. What these firms do is collect old public record information on individuals or purchases it from some other firms that collect it, limiting their searches to just that data. The bad news is, these types of instant searches are almost always incomplete and usually outdated. Essentially they are trying to lure you into purchasing their “instant” turn around time, but they fail to tell you how poor the quality of information really is. With these companies, you are buying their disclaimer, not the background check.

 

Q:        How many years do criminal records go back?

A:        Each state, county and city is different. Some courthouses choose to only maintain seven years of records, some hold on to cases for ten years and others have no time limit to age of their records. Arrest records are often maintained the same way. Whereas one state may keep arrest and conviction data for seven years, some for ten and others have records that go as far back as they have been recording them. Unfortunately, there is no set rule, but seven to ten years is most common.

 

Q:        What are the costs involved with conducting Pre-Employment Background Checks on potential employees? Are there additional fees associated with these searches?

A:        This will largely depend on how much security you need in your hiring process. Legitimate background checks can cost as little as thirty dollars. For a more sensitive hire, you may elect to have a more comprehensive search conducted. Most employee screening firms offer packages searches and can customize those to save money.

Are Social Media Profiles Off-Limits For Background Checks?2021-12-27T16:32:22-05:00

This is a common misconception especially among job applicants with unsavory online habits. They assume that recruiters won’t check out their social media profiles. Although this may have been true in the past, recruiters are now sensitive about employees’ online behavior. They know this can impact their brand in one way or another.

Currently, most background checks focus on criminal records, education or previous employment. However, some recruiters now ask background vendors to perform social media background checks and comb through applicants’ social media profiles. Any questionable behavior such as abusive or profane posts and indecent pictures or videos can cause them to reconsider their hiring decisions.

In a nutshell, those are the six most common pre-employment background check misconceptions. For employers, some of the misconceptions (e.g. about criminal records and the power of applicants) can create avenues for getting sued. For job applicants, some of the misconceptions (e.g. about lying in resumes, and social media profiles) can cause them to engage in behaviors which can reduce their chances of getting hired. Therefore, both employees and job seekers need to seek factual information about pre-employment background checks.

Can Lying In A Résumé Cover Up Employment Background Information?2021-12-27T16:31:35-05:00

Some job applicants think that they can throw background screeners off-track by lying in their résumés. This is common among those who had not-so-good experiences with previous employers. It is also common applicants those which criminal records.

This approach may actually work if the background check is carried out by a sloppy vendor. However, any decent vendor will unveil the truth, and the applicant will be guaranteed not to get hired. The reason for this is simple: some employers can give even someone with a criminal record a benefit of the doubt. Almost no employer can even consider hiring someone who lied in their résumé.

Will Having No Previous Conviction Lead To A Clean Background Check?2021-12-27T16:30:52-05:00

This misconception is common among job seekers. Some employers also harbor it. The assumption is that if someone has never been convicted, any criminal background check on them will be clean.

However, background check results sometimes reveal criminal records – even for someone who has never been convicted. There are two possible explanations for this. First of all, a background check can sometimes yield someone else’s criminal records – often someone with a name similar to the applicant. This is similar to the scenario in which innocent people sometimes find themselves on the “No Fly List”, simply because their names resemble that of a terrorist.

The second possible explanation is identity theft. An applicant may have been a victim of identity theft and not even know it. Someone may have stolen their identity and used it to commit crimes.

The bottom line is that a background check can reveal criminal records for someone who has actually never committed a crime. This is why employers are often cautioned to give applicants an opportunity to clarify the information in the background checks. Applicants are often urged to commission background checks on themselves, so that they can see what information comes up.

Are All Background Checks The Same?2021-12-27T16:30:02-05:00

This misconception is common among employers. In fact, it is often perpetrated by vendors of cheap background check services. The goal of such vendors is to convince employers that their services are as good as the more costly ones.

However, this is a fallacy. For starters, there are different types of pre-employment background checks e.g. criminal background checks, education verification, employment verification, and sanction checks. These are clearly not the same.

Even for the same type of background checks, the results are rarely the same. Take criminal background checks for instance. There are numerous sources of data e.g. national crime databases, FBI fingerprinting, state crime databases, international databases (e.g. INTERPOL’s database), court records, and even the DMV (for traffic crimes records). Not all vendors look into all these sources of data.

The bottom line is, not all background checks are the same. The checks are conducted depending on their intended purpose. Also, each vendor has their own approach to background checking. As a result, two background checks on a single individual can yield very different results.

Are Applicants Powerless?2021-12-27T16:29:16-05:00

Most job applicants believe that they are powerless when it comes to background checks. They think that employers hold all the cards. In fact, some employers and background check companies also think that job seekers have are powerless.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives job applicants a lot of power. For instance, a background check cannot be carried out without the applicant’s permission.

Also, FCRA mandates that, when the background check leads to a “no hire” decision, the employer is supposed to explain to the job applicant in writing, why the decision was taken. An applicant is also entitled to a copy of the background report, and can even challenge the contents.

The EEOC places restrictions when criminal background checks can be used during the hiring process. Many state “Ban the Box” laws place similar restrictions. A job seeker is allowed to sue any employer who conducts background checks outside the bounds of the law. Basically, job seekers aren’t as powerless as they imagine.

Does A Criminal Record Mean A No Hire?2021-12-27T16:28:30-05:00

Both employers and job seekers tend to have this misconception. Most recruiters think that by virtue of having a criminal record, an applicant shouldn’t be hired. Most job seekers also think that a criminal record means they won’t get hired.

The reality is seldom black and white. For starters, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) places certain restrictions on when criminal records can be used to deny employment. One EEOC requirement is that the nature of conviction must directly affect the nature of the job. For instance, a DUI may disqualify someone applying to be school driver, but it cannot be grounds for disqualifying a would-be accountant.

Also, as most employers and staffing companies have realized, employment background checks sometimes return false results. Therefore, rushing to make decisions can lead to lawsuits. As such, most employers now offer applicants an opportunity to clarify their criminal records. In some cases, such a clarification can tilt the tide in the applicant’s favor. The bottom line is that a criminal record doesn’t automatically mean No Hire.

Insights of Investigative Techniques
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