Business Loans

Best Background Check Sites for Small Businesses

A background check allows you to check and verify a person’s work history, education, criminal record, financial history or social media use. While it’s true that a simple internet search can tell us a lot about a person, sometimes that information is incorrect or links to another person with a similar name.

Employers, including small- and medium-sized businesses, will pay for background checks to help with the hiring process for job applicants. A 2017 study by HireRight found that criminal, employment, identity, education and motor vehicle searches have been the most popular types of background checks for the past decade. Additionally, 85 percent of the study’s participants reported having found a lie or misrepresentation on a resume or about a job applicant. That’s a pretty high percentage, and it’s one of the reasons why many employers perform background checks.

Some employers also perform credit checks as part of an applicant’s background screening. A 2016 CareerBuilder study reported that of the 72 percent of employers who performed background checks on applicants, 29 percent also checked their credit history. Many employers pull an applicant’s or employee’s consumer report to assess their money handling history, decision-making ability and overall character.

But you can’t just randomly pull a job candidate’s credit report, no questions asked.

The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which covers any type of background check, requires that you disclose to applicants that information such as a credit check or medical records from a consumer reporting agency may be used for employment consideration and notify them if the information plays a role in your decision to not hire them. You also have to provide them with the name and contact details of the agency that provided the information and give them the opportunity to dispute the findings.

Who uses background checks?

As an employer, it’s important for you to verify an applicant’s resume to ensure its validity. While cross-checking an applicant’s resume with their LinkedIn page can be helpful, it isn’t foolproof. Believe or not, some people are bold enough to lie about their employment on public forums, even though it seems that someone could easily call them out on it. This is one of the reasons why employers will pay for background checks.

As previously noted, background checks can include something as simple as an identity verification, employment or education verification, or criminal history search. What they can entail can depend on the job itself. For example, many government agencies will do extensive background checks on applicants that include in-person or phone interviews with references. And the background check for someone working in health care may require more than a check performed for an office assistant.

It’s illegal to use the information uncovered in a background check to discriminate against a potential employee based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, genetic information and age. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal laws that protect job seekers and employees from discrimination. It’s important to follow these laws to avoid a potential lawsuit.

One of the biggest problems employers face is not understanding all of the various compliance implications and obligations they have to honor when it comes to performing background screenings, said Dawn Standerwick, vice president of strategic growth at Employment Screening Resources.

“It’s really important for them to be selective in choosing their screening firm and seek out companies that are going to help support them and their compliance obligations,” she said.

This is one of the reasons why many employers choose to work with firms that are certified by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), at which Standerwick is a board member, or Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP), an organization for background screeners, to ensure that the searches performed are compliant.

Looking for business funding? Learn more about small business loans here

Top websites for background checks

Fees accurate as of Oct. 31, 2018

GoodHire.

This Redwood City, Calif.-based company promises pre-packaged rates and offers employers up to 50 screenings. You have to contact GoodHire for a quote if you need more than 50 checks and customized screenings.

Basic package costs $29.99 and includes:

  • Social Security number trace
  • National Criminal Database search
  • Sex Offender Registry search

Standard package costs $54.99 and includes:

  • Social Security number trace
  • National Criminal Database search
  • Sex Offender Registry search
  • Domestic Terrorist Watch List search
  • Seven-year county criminal court search

Premium package costs $79.99 and includes:

  • Social Security number trace
  • National Criminal Database search
  • Sex Offender Registry search
  • Domestic Terrorist Watch List search
  • Seven-year county criminal court search
  • Education verification
  • Employment verification

Employment background checks include:

  • Criminal records search
  • Traffic violations search
  • Address history search
  • Identity verification
  • Sex Offender Registry search
  • Domestic Terrorist Watch List search

Pros:

  • Fast and accurate results
  • Can integrate its employment screenings into your company’s workflow
  • NAPBS-accredited

Cons:

  • Slow response time

For more information, visit www.goodhire.com.

Chekr.

Based in San Francisco, Checkr is a web-based product that offers real-time applicant tracking and screenings. It allows you to choose the screenings relevant to your needs. Checkr is compliant with EEOC regulations.

Staffing screenings start at $35 and include:

  • Criminal records search
  • Identity verification
  • Credit check
  • Drug screenings
  • Driving records search
  • Education verification
  • Employment verification

Pros:

  • Flexible
  • Mobile-friendly
  • NAPBS-accredited

Cons:

  • Slow turnaround time for reports
  • Hard to get assistance by phone

For more information, visit www.chekr.com.

AccurateNow.

This Southern Pines, N.C.-based company offers pay-as-you-go packages with speedy turnaround times for small- and medium-sized businesses. Contact its sales team for custom package options.

A basic report costs $24.95 per report and includes:

  • Social Security number trace
  • Current county criminal search
  • National Criminal Database search
  • National Sex Offender Registry search

A standard search costs $44.95 per report and includes:

  • Social Security number trace
  • Seven-year criminal history search
  • Address history search
  • National Criminal Database search
  • National Sex Offender Registry search
  • Global Watch List search

A premium report costs $63.95 per report and includes:

  • Social Security number trace
  • Seven-year criminal history search
  • Address history search
  • National Criminal Database search
  • National Sex Offender Registry search
  • Global Watch List search
  • Education verification
  • Employment verification

Employment screenings can include:

  • Social Security trace
  • Current county criminal search
  • National Criminal Database search
  • National Sex Offender Registry search
  • Address history search
  • Seven-year criminal history search
  • Global Watch List search
  • Education verification
  • Employment verification
  • Motor vehicle report search
  • Federal criminal search
  • Professional license verification

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • No monthly fees
  • Fast
  • Good customer service

Cons:

  • None

For more information, visit https://accuratenow.com.

Backgroundreport.com.

If you’re cash-strapped, but must do an employee check, this site may be worth your consideration. Based in Bellingham, Wash., this company offers affordable, DIY background checks that obtain records from public sources, the Social Security index and civil court records.

Its basic package starts at $19.95 and includes:

  • Social Security number validation
  • Social Security Death Index check
  • Nationwide instant criminal convictions check
  • Sex offender records check
  • Patriot Act Terrorist Watch List check

Its premium package starts at $29.95 and includes:

  • Social Security number validation check
  • Social Security death index check
  • Nationwide instant criminal convictions check
  • Sex offender records check
  • Patriot Act Terrorist Watch List check
  • Address history search
  • Alias name search
  • Phone number history search
  • Eviction records search
  • Bankruptcy records search
  • Lien records search
  • Judgment records search

Pros:

  • Do-it-yourself service
  • Affordable
  • Notifies subject that you’re doing a background check

Cons:

  • Non-accredited

For more information, visit www.backgroundreport.com.

Employment Screening Resources.

This Novato, Calif.-based global background check firm operates in more than 244 countries and territories. It offers packages for small- and medium-sized businesses that have less than 100 employees. You will have to contact its sales team to get more information on this package and other services that ESR offers, but you can also check out some of the search types below.

Background screenings for a standard package range from $25 to $100 per report and can include:

  • Identity and credit report searches
  • Social Security number trace
  • Consent-based social security number verification
  • Form I-9 and e-verify services
  • Criminal history searches
  • Sex Offender Registry searches
  • ESR criminal insight
  • Civil records search at county and federal levels
  • Driving records search
  • Social media screening
  • Substance abuse testing
  • International background screening
  • Verification, license and reference checks
  • Occupational health screening
  • Global sanctions and watch list searches
  • Business searches
  • U.S. Sanctions and Excluded Parties list search

Pros:

  • Quick turnaround
  • Easy-to-read reports
  • Operates worldwide
  • NAPBS-accredited
  • BSAAP-accredited
  • No annual or set fee

Cons:

  • None

For more information, visit www.esrcheck.com.

The bottom line

There are background check solutions available at various price points. Firms offering flexible packages where you can include necessary or eliminate unnecessary checks are probably ideal for small business owners who just want to make sure they hire skilled and trustworthy employees. The firms listed have U.S.-based 24/7 customer service representatives available to answer any questions you may have, so take advantage of that before making a selection. Regardless of which firm you choose to screen job applicants, remember that you must comply with federal laws that protect job seekers from discriminatory practices.

 

Compare Business Loan Offers