Background Checks - Money Well Spent
Any prospective employee can look good on paper. In today's tough economic environment it is not unusual to find prospects tailoring their resume to offer every qualification necessary to get a job. An applicant will not disclose that they were fired from their last job or that they have been convicted of a felony or that they are on the sex offenders' registry. It is up to the employer to discover these things before a hiring decision is made.
Experts agree that one of the first benefits noticed by employers who require thorough background checks is an increase in applicant quality. This should translate into a more successful organization and more profit for the company.
Many organizations will seek the cheapest service provider, often utilizing one of the many offered exclusively on the internet. All too often these providers rely on outdated, unproven, incomplete data. Relying on an internet based criminal records search alone is often ineffective. It's important to know that multiple levels of criminal records are available for background checking, some automated and some not. Not all states or counties make their data available electronically yet and there often is a significant time lag in getting the data online.
The majority of convictions occur at the county level and not all local level convictions are recorded in statewide data bases. There are over 7,000 significant courts in the United States that maintain criminal records. However, there is no national source or depository of these records available to the general public.
Some low cost providers advertise that they can do nation-wide criminal checks on applicants. The reality is that the only data base that compiles criminal records from the entire country is the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC), which is restricted to law enforcement use only.
Certainly there are many high quality legitimate organizations that provided background checks. The better companies have compiled data from multiple databases to create a national data base of sorts, which is legal and the best that can be done outside the law enforcement world.
A top shelf service provider will offer most if not all of the following:
· Licensed investigators on staff
· Attorneys that advise on the legality of searches
· Court runners to visit courthouses in person
· Ability to search by name, phone numbers, date of birth, drivers license number and social security number
· Reverse- address and reverse phone number searches
· Reports regarding criminal and personal background, civil court records, sex offender status, business history documents and professional license verification
· Ability to generate a high quality written report in a few days
A basic background check should include the following:
· Social Security Number search
· County and state criminal records search for at least 7 years, including all states lived during the period
· Employment history verification for 7 years
· Education verification
· Professional license verification
· Credit check
· Professional Reference check
Depending on the position to be filled the background check may be expanded to include:
· Federal criminal records check
· Civil litigation record check
· Driving record
· Sex Offender Registry
· Workers Compensation History
Expect to pay around $100 to $175 for a basic background investigation. This is small change when compared to the average of $175,000 per occurrence of reported employee frauds in the United States today.
Article Provided by MKS&H's Forensic Accounting Expert, Bob Garvey, CPA, CFE, CVA, CFF.
Bob is a principal with MKS&H and the founder and practice leader for the firm's forensic accounting and financial advisory services. With over thirty years of experience, he is well known in the Mid-Atlantic region for providing forensic accounting, fraud investigation and fraud deterrence services. He has handled cases ranging from simple contract disputes to multi-million-dollar, multi-level international frauds. In addition, Bob testifies as an expert witness on matters involving complicated financial transactions, allegations of fraud, business disputes and divorce issues.