Blog by Danilio Davila, LPI, RACR, NAPBS Basic Certification, Executive Director, GroupOne

Blame it on the evolution of the computer and the Internet. Business resources now expect information to be produced immediately – “at the speed of light” or in a “Nano second” – and along with the expectation is the risk involved in collecting and producing this data. The background reporting industry is not immune to this expectation as each talent acquisition leader is constantly retooling the various processes to complete a request within 24-48 hours.

The collection of information that goes into a background report is comprehensive, relying on technology and the competency of the sources producing the information. In some cases, if the only verification requested is a criminal history for a candidate who has lived in one county for a lifetime, a completed report could be within minutes. But in most cases, employers may request a mix of various items ranging from criminal reports, sanction reporting, employment verification, education verification, motor vehicle licensure verification, professional licensure verification and credit reports. The basis for producing these reports is employment-based.

On more than a couple of occasions, I’ve received questions from human resource associates of “Why do I need a consumer reporting agency?” Or, “Why can’t my staff perform the same tasks?” The primary rationale is the reports produced by a consumer reporting agency (CRA) provide governance and protection to the consumer (applicant) and the client (employer), and hold the CRA accountable for the background report.

The service produced by a CRA ensures we can assist your office by complying with federal and state regulations; reducing the exposure that comes with hiring processes; providing a safer workplace by addressing adverse information such as workplace violence, theft and terrorism; and preventing candidates with fraudulent qualifications from entering your workplace.

As a former talent acquisition leader, the fine line between being consumed with administrative demands and expediting a hire to ensure you have the resources needed is a difficult task. However, by rushing the guidelines as established by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, we can easily overlook consumer rights and responsibilities of the employer.

You should reach out to your CRA representatives and obtain assistance in understating the obligations an employer holds. We understand employers rely on the information provided by the CRA to validate their decision. It is our obligation to ensure you have confidence in the decision and the investment of resources results in a productive employee. As the climate for releasing information becomes much more complex, as an employer it’s important to rely on your background check company to conduct the heavy lifting. While speed and dexterity are important, in the end you want the report to assist you in making solid hiring decisions to improve your organization’s productivity and stability.