“Just the facts ma’am,” as they used to say on a popular television show. Here at GroupOne Background Screening, that’s exactly what we are going to provide. The facts in a timely manner to support your hiring process. With that in mind, here’s a few facts so that you can create a system that works for your business. Here’s everything you might not know about background checks and how your company can develop a strong screening process.

1. There isn’t one central database for criminal background checks
The top misconception about background checks is that there is a single database that includes every criminal record ever filed in the U.S. The truth is that criminal records are scattered across thousands of databases from county courts to federal criminal databases.

2. Background checks can include multiple checks for each applicant
Because of the wide variety of criminal records, you will want to run county criminal history checks where your business is based because those checks will have the best odds of turning up any red flags. State or multi-jurisdictional checks are also worthwhile.

3. Criminal history is just one part of a background check
There are also sex offender registry checks, credit history checks, driving record checks, civil history checks, employment history verification checks, educational verification checks, professional license checks, and more. GroupOne recommends that you go beyond just criminal checks.

4. Reference checks are different from background checks
When you contact a reference, you are asking to hear insights about an applicant from a previous boss or colleague. These checks can give you a window into a person’s strengths and work ethic. Background checks are typically used to check verifiable pieces of information such as criminal history, driving records and employment dates.

5. Social media searches do not qualify as background checks
The idea of the “social media background check” has become increasingly popular in recent years. However, looking up applicants on Facebook does not qualify as a background check. While it is due diligence, it will not protect you from liability. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) frowns upon social media checks because they can reveal discriminatory information (sexual orientation, religion, etc.) about an applicant.

6. Inaccurate resumes can be identified with a background check
Surveys show 60% of employers have discovered inaccurate information on a resume. A good background check can help you verify this information. At GroupOne, we can offer verification checks where we look into the education, employment history and professional licenses of an applicant. If a candidate lied about receiving a degree, a past job title or a professional license, verification checks can discover the truth.

7. Background checks are more difficult than you think
Verifying work history is something you can do without a formal check by calling former employers. The problem is that many employers aren’t sure what they are legally permitted to say – especially if their comments are negative. As a result, many past employers will not give you much information past the facts such as employment dates, job titles and salary information. GroupOne can usually obtain more information because there is more anonymity involved in the process.

8. Laws can impact when you can run background checks
“Ban the box” laws have increased over the past few years. Such policies forbid employers from asking about criminal history. Many of these laws also bar employers from running background checks until they have made conditional offers of employment. It’s always a good idea to research the laws and regulations in your area.

9. You need to get applicant permission when you run a background check
Since background checks are so common for jobs these days, employers make the mistake of thinking they are an expected process. Keep in mind that if you run a background check on an applicant, you must always get their written permission to do so. This permission must be granted in a single, standalone form.

10. Good background check policies go beyond the hiring stage
The best background check policies include provisions for ongoing checks of existing and new employees. A criminal history check is single a snapshot of someone at one moment in time. Running criminal background checks on each of your employees every few years is a smart way to ensure the safety and security of your business.

For questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at GroupOne.