The Dangers of DIY Background Checks


It seems so easy.

Click a button and find out all the information you need right online, quickly and cheaply! But before you press ‘search,’ take some time to review what you are risking with the DIY approach to background screening.

Why You Need Background Checks

It comes as no surprise that background screenings should be part of your hiring process. As an employer, you are responsible for the people you bring on your team – and if they are not who they say they are, you could run into trouble. Your background screening process can include a criminal records search, performance and education verifications, social media screenings, drug screenings, and more.

The information provided by these verifications is customized to the company and the position you are hiring for – making it crucial to an informed and safe hiring decision. A professional background screening process can protect the employer and your employees.

Facing Legal Trouble

Employers and background screening companies are responsible for complying with the laws set by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Equal Opportunity Commission. The FCRA regulates public records and ensures the accuracy and privacy of files and reports. It also mandates that applicants' consent is obtained before any information is released. Under the FCRA, many states also mandate a 7-year reporting scope, which limits the timeframe of reporting convictions for background checks. These regulations exist to protect applicants' information and ensure that businesses don't use incomplete or inaccurate information.

Employers must also comply with the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), which protects potential hires from discrimination in the hiring process. Each state is mandated by law to comply with these regulations to avoid discrimination in hiring. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, and disregarding compliance and oversight can lead to legal action against the business.

Time Loss

Although it may seem like doing an online DIY background screening saves you time, a comprehensive background screening process can be a detailed and complicated process involving multiple jurisdictions (states, cities, and counties). Background screening involves more than just searching for criminal records online. Employers, whether conducting background screenings themselves or using a third-party provider, are responsible for their hiring decisions and the accuracy of the information used to make those decisions. Compliance is crucial, and if you're unfamiliar with state and federal laws regarding background screening, you may spend a lot of time researching them. On the other hand, background screening companies know exactly where to look for information, making informed decisions easy and time-efficient while adhering to the rules.

Incomplete or Inaccurate Results

One of the biggest risks you run with DIY background screening is incomplete or inaccurate information. Many websites claim they can help you run free, cheap, or instant background screenings for your DIY process, but these are oftentimes not accurate, out of date, or don’t have name verification. If it seems too good to be true, it probably isn't reliable.

While you may be tempted to use tools like social media profiles to run your background checks, this can create bias in your hiring decisions when you discover personal details about your candidates and won’t give you all of the information you need to make an informed hiring decision. Companies like Risk Assessment Group provide custom-filtered social media reports so that you don’t see anything you’re not supposed to.

Hiring the Wrong Person

Background screening reports give you verification of your candidate’s certifications, education, performance verifiers, and more. Without understanding how to verify this information, you can put your company at risk of hiring an inexperienced person in a critical position, which can endanger your intellectual and physical property as well as the safety and comfort of your employees.

While doing your own background checks may seem cheap and fast, it can put your company at risk for negligent hiring and potential lawsuits in the future. It's important to ensure that your pre-employment background screening process is reliable, accurate, and compliant. By partnering with a reputable and accredited background screening company, you can save time and avoid the risks associated with DIY background checks. If you have questions about your background screening process or need hiring solutions, our team at Risk Assessment Group is here to help.

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