Blog by Danny Davila, Executive Director, GroupOne Background Screening

The background screening industry has access to a vast amount of data. One of the first lessons learned in my human resources (HR) career was that a background report was not the source of a single database, but a collection of information from many agencies.

The report consists of five components, including criminal, sanction, employment, education and licensure sources.

Criminal information is secured from multi-jurisdictional sources and run against courthouse records. This identifies if the candidate has a criminal record. It’s not unusual for names to be common. We then explore birth date, driver’s license and social security numbers to avoid misidentification. Lawsuits can arise when employers are too quick to report inaccurate criminal results.

Sanction information is obtained by using several databases to identify candidates listed by the government. Sources include Medicare, Medicaid, Office of Foreign Assets Control, Drug Enforcement Administration and Office of Inspector General. Matches are then reviewed against other databases for accuracy.

Employment verification has evolved, with many employers assigning verification to third-party firms. Otherwise, verification is conducted through HR offices. Verifying the accuracy of the candidate’s and employer’s information can cause delays.

Education verification is coordinated through the National Student Clearinghouse. Colleges rarely provide records directly, therefore, the clearinghouse conducts due diligence to ensure accuracy. Confirmation of high school education is more convoluted, with no standard system in place. The difficulty in verifying names used at graduation also extends the time frame.

Licensure verification is conducted directly from accreditation sources online, driven by the certification number and date of birth. Licensure verification could provide disbarment or other information that may delay turnaround time.

In summary, there is no one source for information. A common HR observation concerns the length of time to receive reports. In the age of data security and stolen IDs, GroupOne ensures the information is accurate, vetted and confirmed.