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Full-Service Background Check Companies vs. DIY Background Checks


Business owners and HR professionals must be vigilant when conducting background checks on their prospective employees.

Performing pre-employment background checks is important when you make hiring decisions.

The information revealed in a comprehensive background check report helps employers to make smarter hiring decisions, protect workplace safety, and increase productivity and profits.

FCRA-compliant background check reports also protect businesses from potential liability.

There are two ways employers can conduct background checks, including hiring a third-party full-service background check company or taking a DIY approach and conducting the background check on their own.

If you choose the wrong provider or conduct DIY background checks that are not FCRA-compliant, you could expose your company to multiple risks, including potential litigation.

To help you make an informed decision, this article discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the different approaches and why hiring a full-service background check company is ultimately the smartest choice.

Let’s get started.

Full-Service Background Check Companies vs. Do-It-Yourself

Some employers try DIY background checks through different websites that often promise to deliver instant results.

However, the information provided by these vendors is frequently untrustworthy, not comprehensive, and not FCRA-compliant.

The risks of failing to rely on full-service background check companies like iprospectcheck to complete thorough and compliant background checks cannot be underscored.

Countless examples of the results of negligent hiring cases demonstrate some of the problems companies face when they make bad hiring decisions, including the following:

  • $26.5 million judgment, including $18 million in punitive damages, against a home health care provider in a negligent hiring claim after a direct care staff murdered a man and his grandmother in their home while working
  • $1 million negligent hiring verdict awarded to a family after their family member was murdered at work by a coworker with a long criminal record
  • $287,000 embezzlement by a Cape Cod bookkeeper for one employer after being fired from a different company for embezzling $1.1 million before being caught and sentenced to federal prison
  • $4.5 million settlement of FCRA violations by a company with the FTC for using outdated criminal history and civil judgments older than seven years

While the DIY avenue for background checks might seem faster and cheaper, the error-filled results can place your company at risk of making poor hiring decisions. These types of background checks also will not include any information verifying the employment or educational backgrounds of your applicants.

Full-service background check companies like iprospectcheck provide comprehensive screening reports and complete all of the necessary research. We have access to numerous databases of up-to-date and accurate information and use cutting-edge technology to return FCRA-compliant, reliable results to our clients.

Working with us can ensure you make better hiring decisions and protect your company, employees, and customers. When you work with a full-service background check company like iprospectcheck, you can save time and money while remaining compliant with the law and improving the hiring experience for your applicants.

Why Are Background Checks for Employment Important?

Pre-employment background checks are a critical part of the hiring process. Companies perform background checks to protect their brands and to find loyal employees who they can trust to perform their jobs well.

Here are a few reasons why your company should include employment background checks as a routine step in hiring.

Increased productivity

If you make a bad hiring decision, it can cost your company substantial amounts of money.

According to a Gallup survey, bad hiring decisions result in productivity losses of an estimated $450 to $550 billion per year in the U.S. If you hire the wrong employees, you risk having disengaged workers and lower overall morale, which can translate into lost profits.

Protect workplace safety

Failing to complete thorough background checks could result in hiring dangerous workers who can place your other employees and customers at risk.

If one of your employees harms someone else at your workplace, your company could be held liable for the employee’s actions through a negligent hiring, supervision, or retention lawsuit.

A comprehensive background check can allow you to look for red flags and make better hiring decisions.

Hiring qualified employees

A pre-employment background check can reveal important information that might not be found through checking an applicant’s professional or personal references.

For example, confirming your applicants’ education, experience, and professional credentials can ensure that your employees are qualified to perform their jobs and have excellent records of job longevity.

Reduce fraud and theft risk

Many employers feel that they can trust their employees and believe the people they hire will have their employers’ best interests in mind.

However, internal theft and fraud is a real problem. CNBC reports that employee thefts and fraud cost businesses an estimated $50 billion annually, and small businesses suffer a disproportionate impact with median losses of more than $69,000.

Brand protection

The employees you hire are your brand representatives. If they do the wrong things, your business can receive bad press. Building and keeping a good business reputation starts with hiring people who will represent your brand positively.

What is Included in a Full Background Check?

When businesses work with full-service background check companies like iprospectcheck, they can request many different types of reports to secure the necessary information for the positions they are hiring.

Some of the most commonly requested pre-employment background check reports include criminal history, employment verification, and education verification information.

However, you can also request other types of background check reports to meet your needs.

Criminal history

When you request criminal history information on a pre-employment background check, you will see the following types of information for a candidate who has a criminal offense on his or her record:

  • Case number
  • Charge(s)
  • Offense severity (misdemeanor or felony)
  • Filing date
  • Disposition
  • Disposition date
  • Sentence information

Under the FCRA, arrests that did not lead to a conviction older than seven years will not be reported. However, conviction information can be reported regardless of age unless restricted by state or local statute.

Employment history

If you request employment verification, you can confirm each employer for which your candidate worked, the titles he or she held, and their dates of employment. This allows you to verify your applicants’ honesty and their longevity at various jobs.

Education and credentials

Education verifications allow you to confirm each institution an applicant attended, their attendance dates, and any certificates or degrees earned.

This can help you to avoid negligent hiring liability by ensuring your candidates are qualified for your positions.

10 Things to Look for in a Full-Service Background Check Provider

Many businesses choose iprospectcheck to perform comprehensive pre-employment background checks that comply with the FCRA and other relevant laws.

Before you choose a vendor to complete background checks for your company, make sure that they are a trusted, reputable company as this will greatly simplify your company’s hiring process.

A reputable, full-service provider should demonstrate the following characteristics.

1. Prioritizes legal compliance

Your third-party background check provider should understand the various federal, state, and local laws that govern pre-employment background checks.

A good background check provider should be able to explain the safeguards they have in place to ensure compliance so that they can help you avoid potential FCRA violations during the pre-employment screening process.

At iprospectcheck, we keep current with all changes in the laws as they happen to ensure that we always provide FCRA-compliant reports.

2. Provides comprehensive, accurate background check reports

Finding a company that provides comprehensive, accurate background check reports is critical. A reliable provider should have access to current and comprehensive databases of court records, employment records, driving records, educational records, and more.

The company should also verify the completeness and accuracy of all records it retrieves for applicants to minimize liability risks and added expenses involved with mistakes and corrections. You should ask the provider about its correction and re-investigation rates, and choose a provider with low rates.

3. Has expansive technological resources

The technological resources a background check company has will affect the usefulness and accuracy of the reports it provides. Choose a company that offers integrated platforms to streamline and simplify the hiring process for both your company and your job candidates.

4. Provides quick turnarounds

When you conduct a background check for a job applicant, you should not have to wait for a lengthy period to get the results. A good pre-employment background check provider provides quick turnarounds for the reports you need.

A slow hiring process can cause your applicants to seek employment elsewhere. Slow onboarding processes can also cause your company to lose money through reduced productivity.

While DIY background check providers promise instant results, their results are often riddled with errors, not FCRA-compliant, and certainly not comprehensive.

A company like iprospectcheck has the necessary resources and experience to return accurate, FCRA-compliant background checks quickly.

5. Knowledge of and experience with your industry

Certain types of companies must comply with industry-specific regulations governing pre-employment background checks.

Before you partner with a third-party background check company, make sure that they know your industry and have experience providing the types of industry-specific information your company needs.

At iprospectcheck, we have substantial experience providing background check reports to many industries, including staffing, transportation, technology, health care, construction, manufacturing, retail, and finance.

6. Safeguards data security and privacy

When sensitive information is collected for background check purposes, it must be protected at all times. Information about your company should also be protected from potential cybercriminals.

The background check provider you choose should have safeguards to protect personally identifiable information for both your candidates and your company.

7. Does not outsource services overseas

Many background check companies have their service centers located outside of the  United States in an effort to reduce staffing costs. This can expose your company to greater risks.

At iprospectcheck, all of our services are completed from within the U.S. We never offshore your data and our service team is located right here in the United States.

8. Offers customized solutions

Since industries and companies differ, a one-size-fits-all approach to pre-employment background checks does not work. Instead, you should choose a provider that offers customized solutions to meet the specific needs of your business and industry.

At iprospectcheck, we offer tailored solutions to provide our customers with the information they need instead of encouraging them to purchase reports that they do not want or need.

9. Offers flexible, affordable pricing

At iprospectcheck, we offer affordable prices for our background check reports. We have three primary package types, a variety of additional add-on reports, and offer volume discounts and price-match guarantees. Call us for a free quote.

10. Has an excellent reputation and satisfied customers

Finding a background check provider with a great reputation allows you to feel confident that you are making the right decision. A good background check provider should have numerous positive references and reviews from satisfied customers. Check online for testimonials, and ask the provider to give you references.

You should also choose a company that has good feedback from job candidates about their experiences with the process. When an applicant has a positive experience with the background checking process, it reflects well on your company.

iprospectcheck: Your Full-Service Background Check Provider of Choice

Choosing the right full-service background check provider can help you to avoid problems and ensure compliance with all relevant employment-screening laws.

By partnering with iprospectcheck, you will benefit from our fast, accurate background reports, affordable prices, a smooth process, and FCRA-compliant pre-employment background checks.

We have extensive experience providing services to companies within numerous industries and the resources to provide thorough, reliable reports regardless of your company’s type.

To learn how iprospectcheck can help to meet your background check requirements, contact us today. We are available to answer any questions you might have and are prepared to provide effective solutions for you.

DISCLAIMER: The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Consult your counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.

Know Before You Hire

About the Author
Matthew J. Rodgers

Matthew J. Rodgers

Matthew J. Rodgers is a highly accomplished business executive with over 30 years of experience providing strategic vision and leadership to companies ranging from the fortune 500 to iprospectcheck, a company which he co-founded over a decade ago. Matthew is a valued consultant who is dedicated to helping companies create and implement efficient, cost effective and compliant employment screening programs. Matt has been a member of the Professional Background Screeners Association since 2009 . When not focused on iprospectcheck, he can be found spending time with his family, fly fishing, or occasionally running the wild rivers of the American west. A lifetime member of American Whitewater, Matt is passionate about protecting and restoring America’s whitewater rivers.