Reliable Background Screening Services: How to Tell

You need reliable background screening services for your organization. But let's back up a second. What does "reliable," in this context, even mean? And how can you evaluate background check companies for reliability anyway?

So glad you asked! Keep reading . . .

What we mean when we say "reliable" background screening services.

When we say reliable background screening services, we're talking about background check vendors that deliver the following:


1. Accurate results.

Obviously, accuracy matters. It matters to the organization doing the hiring, and it matters to the applicants. Here's the thing, though: Accurate results don't just happen.


Well, some background checks require specific technologies (like ways to access online databases). Other checks involve humans (such as court runners). And all checks must abide by applicable laws and regulations, some of which change (hello, new marijuana laws and their effects on drug testing!).

And, of course, sometimes the information reported on a background check might be inaccurate through no fault of the background check vendor (for example, the courts make a clerical error). Applicants are allowed to dispute any findings on their reports. All of this falls under the umbrella of FCRA compliance, an incredibly complex element of consumer protection and employment law.

Lastly, accurate results are complete and up to date. A background check vendor that reports information pulled from a criminal database without verifying the information at the primary source (i.e., the county court) runs the risk of reporting stale data that is not the most recent activity on the case (a common occurrence is reporting a charge as “pending” when it has since been “dismissed”), or that has since been removed from public access and is not lawfully able to be viewed or considered (like expunged records).

So, in order to get accurate results, you need a reliable background check vendor that provides the human touch, primary source validation, technological savvy, and legal expertise in consumer reporting and employment law.


  • Tell me about the different technologies your background check company uses for various types of checks, like criminal, social media, drug testing, MVR, etc.
  • Does your company have in-house counsel with expertise in employment law? If you outsource this work, whom do you outsource to?
  • Do you have a dedicated compliance team that oversees an FCRA-compliant disputes process?
  • How do you assist customers when it comes to maintaining adverse action compliance?


2. Responsive account reps.

The very definition of "reliable" means "dependable" and "able to be trusted." How can you depend on someone if 1) the person never responds to calls or emails and/or 2) your so-called main "contact" constantly changes?

Unfortunately, both scenarios are quite common in the background check industry. Oftentimes, once the sales rep gets you to sign up for services, the attentiveness that existed throughout the wooing process suddenly disappears.

This is bad news for you and your applicants, since they often have questions regarding the background check process. The longer it takes for someone to respond to their questions, the longer it takes to fill your open positions (plus, a poor candidate experience can have other repercussions).


  • Will I have my own dedicated account rep?
  • How often will I talk to my account rep? (Note: The answer shouldn't be "whenever you have a problem." Ideally, you want a proactive rep who reaches out to YOU first.)
  • How do you handle/funnel questions from candidates? Is there an easy/obvious way for candidates to reach a live human when they need help? (Note: Double check what candidates have to say about the background check vendor on sites like Trustpilot.)
  • Do you have an online Candidate Help Center with answers to commonly asked questions?


3. Expertise across critical areas.

For some positions, you might need to run MVR checks on the candidates. For other positions, the candidates might need to undergo a drug or health screen. Still other positions might require criminal background checks. And certain positions (or industries) might require all of the above—or any combination—along with, say, ongoing monitoring in certain areas.

A reliable background screening vendor won't be a one-trick pony. The most reliable screening partners will have expertise across multiple areas, like drug and alcohol testing, criminal checks, verifications, social media checks, and so forth. The vendor will likely have industry "sweet spots" as well (think DOT background checks, healthcare, and retail, just to name a few).

Working with a vendor who has experience in your industry as well as expertise across different types of background checks means that they will be better equipped to customize a package that works for your company's specific needs.


  • Tell me about your staff's expertise in different types of employee screening. Do you have specialists in, say, drug and alcohol testing? Verifications? Criminal?
  • What industries do you specialize in?
  • What's your process for creating custom screening packages that will meet my organization's hiring goals?


Remember, if you want reliable background screening services, do your homework!

Look for background check vendors who stand by their results, provide dedicated account reps, and have deep expertise across different types of screenings and industries. Or you can make it easy for yourself and talk to Good Egg today!

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Danielle Deutsch

Posted by Danielle Deutsch

Danielle is the Senior Digital Marketing Coordinator at Good Egg & Foley Services. In her spare time you can find her either visiting an aquarium, enjoying a Broadway show or competing in a Crossfit competition.

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