How to Choose the Best Background Check Service Provider?

Kristina Martic | 6/20/2018 | Tutorials

Many employers are struggling to find the background check service that will fit their hiring needs and their budget. This is why we created this guide - to help you choose your perfect background check service provider!

How to Choose the Best Background Check Service Provider?

Why do you need a background check service?

Conducting a background check is an essential part of every successful hiring process.

Imagine finding a perfect candidate with a great resume.
You invite a candidate to the interview and everything goes great.
It seems like you’ve found your A-player!
You rush to offer a job to your talent in order to prevent someone else snatching your top candidate.

But wait - did you conduct a background check of your perfect candidate?

Well, you definitely should have had!

According to Society for human resources management (SHRM):

“If a job candidate looks perfect on paper, HR professionals, recruiters and hiring managers should be wary.

Sometimes in an attempt to stand out, an applicant makes an unforgivable misstep - lying or exaggerating on his or her resume.”

Did you know that:

  • 23% of job applicants admit to exaggerating the truth on their resume or in a job interview in order to land a position (Source: First Advantage)
  • 85% of employers caught job candidates lying on their resumes (Source: HireRight)

Statistics-candidates-lie

Hiring a candidate solely based on what is written in their resume and what they say in the interview can seriously backfire on your business.
The average cost of hiring the wrong employee is $17,000, according to research conducted by Career Builder

Remember, the resume is not a legal document, so the candidates are not legally obliged to tell the truth and nothing but the truth.

As an HR professional or a business owner, you have the responsibility to hire the right people for your company.
This is why you need to perform a background check of your top candidates - to make sure that your candidate's resume is truthful.

Benefits of using a background check service

So, performing a background check of your top candidates is a must.

However, why should you use a background check service provider?
Can’t you do it by yourself to save money?

Of course, you can! 
There are a few simple ways to perform your own free online background check.  

However, using a professional service to perform background checks for has some serious advantages:

Benefits-of-using-a-background-check-service-provider

Benefit #1: Avoids legal risk

Laws and regulations governing background checks are highly complicated.
Above all, they constantly keep changing and introducing new rules you have to abide.

If you break any of those rules, you can end up in the middle of lawsuits and scandals.

On the other hand, background check services are always up to date with these rules and can help you stay compliant.

Benefit #2: Provides accurate information

Sure you can do your own research - but how can you be sure that your findings are accurate?

Background services provide professional research that guarantees detailed, current and completely accurate information.

Benefit #3: Saves time

Familiarizing yourself with all the relevant rules and regulations, staying up to date with all the legal changes, conducting research from different sources…

Every step of this process will take a considerable amount of your precious time.

By using a background check service provider, you can get all the information you need in just one click!

How to choose the best background check service provider?

So how to evaluate and choose a background check service provider that will be your best hiring partner?

Choosing the best background check service providers typically involves 4 key steps:

Choose-background.check-service-in-4-steps

Step #1: Define your needs

First, and crucial step in finding your perfect background check service provider is to clearly define your recruiting needs.

You will do that by answering this question:

Which types of background check services to you need to perform?

Step #2: Conduct online research

The next step is to research different background check service providers to examine their offers.

Keep your recruiting needs in mind and browse their websites to check if they seem like a good match.

Step #3: Compare top providers

In this step, you should compare few of your top background check service providers.

You will do that based on the previously set key factors (see below).

Step #4: Choose the winner

Based on the evaluation form the previous step, you will now be able to narrow down your choice to the best background check service provider that will perfectly fit your needs - and budget.

Key factors in choosing the background check service provider

Here are 7 key factors you should consider when choosing the background check service provider:

7-key-factors-for-choosing-the-background-check-service

Factor #1: Types of checks offered

Background check service providers vary in the types of services they offer.

Some providers offer comprehensive services that include:

  • Identity verification
  • Criminal history searches
  • Education verifications
  • Employment verifications
  • Drug testing
  • Driving records check
  • Reference check
  • International background checks
  • Credit reports check

On the other hand, some providers offer only a few basic types of services.

Make sure you choose the background check service provider that can provide all the specific services you need.

Factor #2: Legal compliance

Make sure that your preferred background check service provider is completely legally compliant.

How to check that?

If you need to perform the background check on US candidate, make sure your chosen provider is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). It should also be compliant with all relevant state and local rules and regulations.

If you need to perform the background check on European candidate, make sure your chosen provider is compliant with the European Union (EU) - United States Privacy Shield Framework and GDPR.

Factor #3: Turnaround time

The industry uses the term "Turn Around Time" to describe how long a background check takes.

The times vary significantly based on what types of searches are conducted in the check.

Make sure that the background check service provider can meet your required turnaround time for each type of background check you require.

Find the following information:

  • What is their average turnaround time?
  • How is turnaround time measured?
  • Do they guarantee you will have all the information you need in a certain timeframe?

The average turnaround time for most of the background check service providers is 2-3 days, with some of them guaranteeing that you will have all the needed information in the 5 days maximum.

Factor #4: Candidate experience

The background check is an important part of your candidate’s journey, so you have to make sure that the background check service provider you choose offers a great candidate experience.

In order to evaluate that, seek answers to these questions:

  • Can your candidate execute all the needed actions online, via specialized platform?
  • Is this platform designed to be quick and easy to use?
  • Is this platform available via all devices, including mobile phones?
  • Is the whole process transparent?
  • Can a candidate check their screening status from anywhere, anytime?
  • Is there a customer service available that can answer all your candidates' questions via email, live chat and phone 24/7?

We suggest putting yourself in your candidates' shoes and going through this whole process for yourself!

It is the best way to determine if the background check service provider offers a candidate experience that is up to your company's standards.

Factor #5: Customer service

Your background check service partner should provide not only a great user experience for your candidates but for you too.

In order to evaluate that, seek answers to these questions:

  • Do they have a specialized customer platform? Is it simple and user-friendly? Can you access it from all devices, including your mobile phone?
  • Do you get detailed, but simple to understand reports?
  • Do they offer excellent customer service?
  • Do you have a dedicated customer success agent appointed to you?
  • Is their customer service available 24/7 via email, live chat and phone?

Also, make sure you check review sites to read about other people experiences as the customers of your top providers.

Factor #6: Integration

Make sure that your chosen background check service provider guarantees seamless integration with all other HR tools you use, such as your Applicant Tracking System, HRIS, etc.

Factor #7: Cost

Finally, you need to choose the background check service provider that can fit in your budget limits.

Most of the background check service providers offer pricing based on your hiring volume.

  1. Higher hiring volume:
    If you hire a large volume of candidates, your most affordable paying option will be paying a monthly fee.
    Most providers offer a personalized price based on the number of your candidates and the specific types of checks you need.  

  2. Lower hiring volume / Occasional searches:
    If you need to check less than 50 candidates annually, they will offer the possibility of paying per candidate.
    Most of the providers offer 3 standard packages:  
  • A basic background check usually costs $25 to $40 per candidate.
  • An advanced background check usually costs $45 to $60 per candidate.
  • A premium background check usually costs $65 to $100 per candidate.

Be careful though:

  • The types of checks included in their Basic, Advanced and Premium packages often differ among various providers.
    Make sure you check what each provider offers in each of their packages! 
  • Some providers don’t include educational and employment checks even in their Premium package, so you might be asked to pay an additional fee to get those types of the check performed too. 

Well-known background check providers in the industry

To find the well-known background check providers in the industry, we studied different review sites (such as this, this and this for example).

Few providers stood out as the most popular, because they offered a high-quality service within a reasonable price range.

Here are the top 5 providers (in alphabetical order) which stood out as the most popular for small and mid-sized companies.

Aaaaand...That’s a wrap! 🙂

Hopefully, we provided some useful information that will help you find the background service provider of your dreams.

Good luck! 🤞

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