Background checks seek the truth about your candidates’ and employees’ connections with potential crimes. Screening products, packages, scope, actual order product mix, and methodologies used all contribute to how comprehensive a background check is. When added up, you can get a good sense of how likely it is you’ll prevent relevant information about a candidate from slipping through the cracks.
The painful truth is that gaps in background checks occur. In addition to knowing popular order configuration for job/role or group in your industry, you may take a step back to examine key areas of background check scope to see where you have opportunities to avoid gaps like this in the future. Understanding where those gaps occur can be the first step to developing a plan for more coverage. Let’s take a look at a list of some potential common gaps to be on guard about in your background checks.
Not searching broadly enough
“Broad” generally means covering a wide range. In the case of background checks, this not only refers to the span of where you search but also what names and locations you search. A search that is not broad enough could leave you:
- Failing to complete searches of a candidate’s alternative names.
- Not identifying all relevant search areas related to a candidate’s social security number-based address history.
- Missing outlier criminal records in locations outside of a candidate’s known geographic footprint.
Finding names and locations associated with candidates can be done simply, and with background checks that exist in most screening packages. Using a Social Security Number search, also known as an ID Trace, and a National Criminal Database to find tips of leads for potential crimes nationwide helps you expand your current search to cover potential gaps.
Not searching all sources
Statistically speaking, you’re probably using some mix of a County Criminal Record Search and National Criminal Database Search in your background checks. But if you stop there, the horizon could be riddled with gaps that could result in missing fundamental candidate history. You could potentially miss out on:
- Potentially serious criminal offenses committed like fraud or hacking.
- Traffic offenses, which in some cases include DUIs and other dangerous behaviors.
- Current and comprehensive records related to sex offenses.
A Federal Criminal Record Search, Motor Vehicle Record Search, or National Sex Offender Registry Search could set you up to locate records like these and more. To pigeonhole criminal history using only the most popular criminal record sources could create small fissures where potential records could be unfound. An augmented criminal background strategy may include an extended network of sources. A background screening program with a layered source approach typically covers more records, which could leave less space for something serious to slip through unseen.
Strategically closing the gaps in your screening program can set you up for successfully locating more records over time. Download our eBook “3-Step Plan to Stop Missing Records” for an in-depth look at potential solutions to these gaps and details on another common area where records go unfound in background screening programs.