Quick Guide: The Difference Between "National" and "Federal" in Background Checks

Posted by Verified Credentials on Sep 26, 2018 12:00:09 PM
  I’m sure you know that background screening terminology, services, and technology can be a little confusing. Like many other HR professionals, you may be looking for a background screening company to educate you about what exactly you can expect in their background checks. For many reasons, including how screening services are named across the industry, questions can still remain. That’s not the only problem. You don’t want to wrongly identify what service will get you the background information needed.  We have seen some employers have difficulty deciphering labels for a few searches in particular, best summed up with a central question: What is the difference between the “national” criminal database and the “federal” criminal history search? In many other situations, it is completely reasonable to assume that the words “national” and “federal” are interchangeable. Think about it, “national” parks are on “federal” lands and the “Federal” Bureau of Investigations” deals with matters of “national” security. It quickly becomes clear how industry jargon and legal distinctions can confuse HR professionals when it comes time to build a background check package. Well, when it comes to background screening, “national” and “federal” are actually quite a bit different. Understanding the difference can be beneficial to your background screening process as the terms indicate different sources that return very different results. Keep reading below and we’ll tell you exactly how these types of searches differ. Mistaking one for the other is not an error you’ll want to risk.

Topics: Background Checks, National Criminal Database Search, Federal Criminal History Search