How to conduct a background check?
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How to conduct a background check?


When renting out an apartment, are you concerned about your tenant's histoy? Renting to the wrong tenant can cause many problems for not just the landlord but also the community. Bad tenants can bring property value down by ruining the property either through negligent care and crime. These behaviors cost landlords and communities millions of dollars globally.  Want to check potential employees job history or criminal record? We all know that negligent hiring costs companies billions of dollars a year. Conducting a backgrond check has its many uses Order Today. This article will give you a step by step on how to conduct a background check?

Inform the employee or applicant of the background check. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) mandates that you tell applicants that you intend to do a background check and that you might use the information in the report to make a decision. You must write this information down on its own page and give it to the applicant. The page cannot have other information on it—it must be a page separate from the rest of the application.

  • If you want to be able to able to check up on the person’s reports throughout the time that they work for you, that should also be stated in the document.
  • You must also get written permission from the person you want to investigate.
  • For online background check companies this could be simply agreeing to the terms and conditions of the service.


Check state law. If you are planning on using a potential employee’s criminal history as part of your hiring criteria, make sure to check the specific laws in your state. States often limit what information you can ask for and then use.

  • The FCRA allows reports to gather information as far back as 7 years, but some states do not allow employers to consider arrests that didn’t result in a conviction. Furthermore, a few states have even greater protections and won't allow even criminal records older than 7 years to be revealed in a background check.
  • Even though arrest records are public, some states won't allow arrest records to be used in hiring decisions. Hawaii, for example, prohibits any inquiry into criminal history until after a conditional offer has been extended. Massachusetts likewise prohibits asking about criminal history on an initial job application.
  • Other states prohibit or limit the use of information about an applicant’s credit history. In Illinois, an employer may not use information about credit history in a hiring decision, unless the applicant has applied for a job in a limited set of industries (such as banking or insurance).


Find accredited Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs). The Fair Credit Report Act regulates who can access a person’s consumer report and the collection of that information. Only someone with a valid reason may access a person’s credit reports. A CRA is a company that pays for access to various databases in order to collect information for background reports.

  • To find CRAs, visit the National Association of Professional Background Screeners(NAPBSwebsite. This organization accredits agencies and publishes a code of conduct which all members must adhere to.
  • Visit the portal and search for firms by company name, state, or zip code.
  • From the search results, you can click through to each company’s website. Each company's website provides additional information about the services it offers.

Research CRAs. Once you have come up with a list of CRAs in your state, you should investigate to make sure that the agency is truly legitimate. A member of the NAPBS should be legitimate. But if you decide to try a non-accredited company, call up (or email) and ask the following:

  • Do they have a business license, and can they provide you with references?
  • Do they follow the FCRA regulations?
  • Is the company insured?
  • If the company answers “No” to any of these questions, you should hire a different CRA no matter how good of a deal the company may be offering you.

Hire the CRA. Once you find an agency to perform a background check, you must begin the process by certifying that you have followed the appropriate procedure

  • For example, you must certify that you complied with FCRA regulations by informing the person of your wish to access the applicant’s consumer reports and by obtaining the person’s signature.
  • You must also certify that you will not break any discrimination laws based on information contained in the person’s consumer report.

Request a report. A consumer report will contain information about criminal records, as well as employment and credit history. Under federal law, CRAs generally will not reveal civil lawsuits, civil judgments, arrests, accounts out for collection, or paid tax liens if they happened over 7 years ago. You are also unlikely to learn about bankruptcies if they occurred more than 10 years ago.

  • However, if you believe that you need an employee’s history further back than 7 years, you can request that the history is included in your report.
  • As always, state law places limits on what you can request. Your state may not allow you to request information beyond 7 years.

7 Make a hiring decision. If a consumer report contains information that dissuades you from hiring a person, then FCRA regulations require that you inform the person of this fact. Once notified, the person can challenge the information. You must do the following:

  • Inform the person that there is negative information in the report.
  • Inform the person which agency you used to prepare the report.
  • Give them a copy of the “Summary of Your Rights under FCRA,” which you received from the CRA that you eventually hired.
  • Allow the applicant an opportunity to rebut the information in the report. This rebuttal can be in the form of a letter outlining why the background check is wrong.
  • Most background check companies have a number you can call to protest what is on your record.

 This is how you conduct a background check within FCRA compliance. Note that laws do change. If that doesn't work. Watch video on conduct your own background check.


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The Koleman Group LLC


Written on 2019-06-19 16:13:17 by larry coleman

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