What to Look for When Picking a Background Check Company

What happens when you don’t use background checks when hiring new employees?

You put your employer at risk.

A background check is done by a consumer reporting agency (CRA).

CRAs specialize in background research for your company by verifying information about job candidates like their identity, criminal activity employment and educational history, professional licenses, and driving records.

With so many services, how can you know which CRA is right for you and your employer? This article will focus on some tips to help get you started.

What to look for in a CRA

It is important to choose an agency that complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).[1] Did you know the FCRA oversees how background checks must be conducted, including obtaining the candidate’s consent to perform the background check and allowing the candidate to review the results? [2]

Compliance here is crucial. Mistakes here can cost you more than a bad hire. Make sure whoever you choose they are FCRA compliant.

  • Check to see if the agency is accredited.

The National Association of Professional Background Screener (NAPBS)[3] allows CRAs participation in the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program. Agencies must obey strict guidelines to qualify. Think of the accreditation process as a background check for the CRA — the program reviews CRAs in several areas:

  • Consumer protection
  • Legal compliance
  • Client education
  • Researcher and data product standards
  • Verification service standards
  • General business practices

A CRA must repeat the review process every five years to stay accredited.

  • Confirm that the agency can provide the types of background screenings you need. Background check reports can include information ranging from simple identity verification to a comprehensive search covering:
  • employment history
  • education verification
  • criminal history
  • sex offender records
  • driving history
  • and other information
  • Establish that the CRA can provide accurate, complete reports. Ask to see a sample copy of a representative candidate results page. Is it straightforward and easy to read?
  • Determine how long it typically takes to get results.
  • Test how they handle customer support. Is the line always busy? Do they reply to an email in a timely way?
  • Determine how much it costs.

These are the crucial things to consider when choosing a CRA. Other things to consider include:

  • Does the agency have an online portal to request background screenings and viewing reports?
  • Does their service include authorization forms or electronic consent forms?
  • Does the agency allow for customizations?

Bottom Line

Think about your needs. And start from a place of compliance. Is the CRA

Don’t put your employer at risk — choose an agency that is compliant, accredited, and has what you need.


This article shouldn’t be construed as legal advice. If you have detailed questions, they should be addressed directly with your labor and employment attorney.

[1] https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/

[2] How to Choose the Right Background Check Service …. https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7636-choosing-a-background-check-service.html

[3] https://thepbsa.org/

[4] How to Choose the Right Background Check Service …. https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7636-choosing-a-background-check-service.html