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3 min read

What Comes Up on a Background Check: Marriage Between Product and Scope

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The weather is warm, the flowers are in bloom, and the sun is shining. The return of summer means wedding season is upon us once again. For family and friends, there’s nothing like seeing two people who are perfect for each other come together to start a new chapter in their lives. For HR professionals ordering background checks, there’s a different kind of union that can be just as important: the marriage between product and scope. Just like a successful marriage depends on two people working together, what comes up on a background check depends on the product and scope working in harmony. Let’s take a closer look at why this relationship is so important and what you can do to make sure you and your background check process live happily ever after.

Prenup: Defining product and scope

Most people agree that a good marriage starts with communication and understanding. So, it would only seem fitting to clarify some terms before we get too far down the aisle. The “product” is the actual type of background check being ordered. County criminal history searches, federal criminal history searches, and driving record searches are all examples of different products. The “scope” of a search is the criteria being used to conduct that search. For example, how many names are used or how many locations are being searched.

The importance of a happy marriage

So, why is this relationship so important? Essentially, you need your product and scope to work together or you run the risk of missing records that could be crucial for your hiring process. Many people assume the scope of each product is the same. But the truth is that it really depends on how a background screening provider conducts their searches or what scope you selected when setting up your background check packages. Some companies may only include one name or location in a given background check, while others will go beyond that. And maybe you didn’t even realize you could miss potential records if you selected limited scope parameters. What comes up on a background check is directly tied to what names and locations are used. So, it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting from your provider.

To understand how this works, let’s consider a few examples. Suppose you have a candidate, Judy Johnson, who used to go by “Judy Smith” and has a record under that name. If you conducted a county criminal history search only for “Judy Johnson,” you might miss the record tied to her previous name. Or consider a candidate who lives in East County, but has a record in West County. If you only search in the county where they currently live, you could miss a potentially serious criminal record.

From these examples, it’s easy to see why it’s not just a matter of choosing the right product or using the right scope. Instead, it’s critical that both aspects work together to uncover as much information as possible.

How to find the perfect match

There are a number of things you can do that may help you find more records. On the product side, you can simply add new products to your background check order. After all, the more types of searches you conduct, the more likely you are to uncover important information. Just contact a trusted background screening provider like Verified Credentials to see what kinds of products may help you expand your current background checks.

On the scope side of things, there are a couple of resources that may help you widen what you are currently doing. One option is to use an ID Trace that can return additional names and locations to search based on the candidate’s SSN. Companies that use ID Trace results for county searches find an average of one additional name for half of candidates, and an average of three additional locations for all candidates. Generally, if companies are searching based on ID Trace results, they are looking at all names and addresses found.

Sometimes the product you use can broaden your scope all on its own. For example, a National Criminal Database Search expands the overall scope of the background check because it searches 600 million records from sources across the country. This can help locate potential records in places that may not have been in the original scope. In fact, when a nationwide criminal database search is conducted, 63% of potential records that are found are in locations not disclosed by applicants.

Broadening your scope can sometimes mean thinking critically since a record can be obtained anywhere the candidate has been. Ask yourself, “Where might a candidate travel? What county did they go to school in? What counties have they worked in?” Then use that information to inform your background searches.

What comes up on a background check depends on a wide range of factors. But when your product and scope are soulmates, destined to be together, you could limit the chance you’ll miss important records and potentially increase the likelihood of finding the information you need to make a hiring decision.

Ready to say “I do” to the background screening provider of your dreams? Contact Verified Credentials to schedule a consultation and begin your journey to background check bliss.

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