A few of our most
Frequently Asked Questions
Get thorough answers to your questions about the background screening process.
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How common are pre-employment background checks?
Thanks to a combination of prevalent security concerns and the online data revolution, reliable background checks are no longer exclusive to large corporations. In fact, nearly 80% of employers perform some form of pre-employment background check on job applicants, regardless of size or industry.
Pre-employment background checks must be conducted in strict accordance with local, state, and federal privacy laws and regulations. The Fair Credit Reporting Act, for instance, requires written consent from the applicant to conduct a credit history check, while other background information is a matter of public record, such as some criminal records data, bankruptcies, and workers’ compensation claims.
What does a typical background check consist of?
Background checks vary depending on your industry and the specific requirements of the job. For example, will the candidate be handling cash transactions or driving a company vehicle? The standard background check is meant to verify that the applicant is being honest about their criminal record (or lack thereof), education credentials, and employment history. Criminal record searches and reference checks are the most common background checks currently available.
Are job applicants required to consent to background checks?
Yes. Some state laws and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (a federal law that regulates the access and use of personal information), generally require written or electronic consent from job applicants before allowing a third-party screening company like Shield to conduct background screenings like criminal record searches, credit history checks, or reference checks.
Which background checks offer the best results?
The best background checks will depend on your specific needs and the depth of the background information being requested. For most, a courthouse criminal records search will suffice, which is standard best practice. A criminal search will check for misdemeanor and felony records where an applicant has resided for the past seven to ten years. Many employers choose to supplement the standard check with searches of various other databases, including the sex offender registry, government sanctions lists, and motor vehicle records; just to name a few. The more comprehensive the background check, the more accurate and reliable the results.
How can I verify the accuracy of an applicant’s work and education history?
Shield can help you determine that the information listed on an applicant’s resume is factual and accurate. Our highly-trained team of screening experts contact former employers direction to gather employment history data, such as job titles and descriptions, as well as start and end dates. We also provide in-depth education history and professional licensure verifications, as well as certification checks, to determine if the candidate is being truthful on all accounts.
How can I ensure my background checks are legal?
At Shield, we consider ourselves to be compliance experts. Our background checks comply with all federal and state background screening laws, and our compliance team continually monitors both current and pending legislative and regulatory changes. To ensure all background screenings are 100% compliant, our intuitive screening technology automatically applies the necessary content filters based on the state and location where the background checks are being conducted.
Should a pre-employment background check be performed before or after making a job offer?
Performing a pre-employment background check is a best practice before making a job offer. While the FCRA does not restrict the performance of a background check after a job offer is made, you may be restricted by some state laws if you attempt to screen a candidate after a position has been accepted.
What turnaround times can I expect with a background check?
Turnaround times vary significantly based on the types of data searches required and the efficiency of the screening company conducting the searches. Shield offers the fastest turnaround times in the industry with round-the-clock access to report requests and results. Clients typically experience 20% quicker turnaround times with Shield than with any other provider.
What information is required for an accurate and reliable background check?
Reliable background checks require the applicant’s first and last name (spelled correctly), date of birth, and social security number.
What are my rights when my background is being checked?
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions (FACT) Act was enacted in 2003 as an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The FACT Act gives consumers the right to obtain one free copy of their credit report from each of the major consumer reporting agencies during each 12- month period.
With Shield’s Consumer Corner, we make it quick and easy to request a copy of your background check.
How are background checks requested and processed?
Our online interface is designed to be intuitive and easy to use. Log on with a confidential username and password to gain exclusive access to reliable background checks with industry- leading turnaround times and verified results. We can also facilitate the electronic signing of all documentation to allow applicants to e-authorize and disclose personal information for the purposes of submitting their own background checks.
How long will the records stay in the system once an applicant is processed?
All records are stored secretly and indefinitely in the cloud where they are always available right at your fingertips.
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