Not All Pre-Employment Screening Firms Are Alike

 In Affiliates/Partners, Recruitment Strategies (TA)


Pre-Employment Screening


Andy Anderson, Precise Hire, Inc.

We all know that businesses are vulnerable to many factors that can increase costs, including regulations, economic uncertainty and even the people we hire.

When it comes to hiring the best candidate for the job while protecting your employees, your assets and your reputation, a critical element that helps makes this determination is the pre-employment background check. These background checks are typically provided by a pre-employment screening firm and not all screening firms are alike.

Many employment screening firms are burdened with large expenses and charge rates to cover these expenses that can only be described as “obscene.”

Additionally, some firms charge setup fees, administration fees and other hidden charges while still other firms make claims about their turnaround time that they simply cannot deliver on.

When considering an employment screening firm for background checks, you should definitely shop around. Here are some questions to ask when you are shopping:

  • Does the screening company require “setup” fees? Unless integration with a applicant management system like Taleo is required, there should no be setup fees.
  • Does the screening company require a minimum number of orders or a minimum dollar investment each month? If so, they are serving their own interests – not yours.
  • Will the screening company guarantee its turnaround time? How many times is the hiring decision held up by the background check? Screening companies know that turnaround time is important and many promote their ability to get results back fast, but very few companies guarantee their turnaround time – with a discount, for example – and they are most likely to deliver. As the old saying goes, “put your money where your mouth is.”
  • Does the screening company push Nationwide Criminal Database searches as an attractive “low-cost” and “instant” option? While this search can yield helpful supplemental information, the data should never be relied upon a stand-alone search. First, the Federal Trade Commission issued an Open Letter in 1999 stating that employment screening companies are not in compliance with FCRA guidelines if they furnish negative records from database searches (like the Nationwide Criminal Database) to employers without first verifying if the information is complete and up to date. Second, the Nationwide Criminal Database is a hodgepodge collection of records from different state agencies. Again, it can reveal useful information, but for maximum accuracy, it should only be used in combination with a County Criminal search, where all criminal records originate.

Some other factors to consider when hiring a screening firm include:

  • How long they have been in business?
  • Average length of time their clients have been with them
  • Offering a user-friendly web-based system for orders
  • Being purely performance based with no contractual requirements
  • Offering flexible payment terms, including a pre-pay option

With many companies to choose from, you shouldn’t settle for less. In fact, you should expect more for less from your employment screening partner and choose one that will provide the best value for your money.

Andy Andersen is a shareholder with Precise Hire, Inc. You may connect with him on LinkedIn at: – The fastest and most affordable background checks in the market, Precise Hire helps companies cut costs, secure talent, enhance productivity and increase earnings. 

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