Quality Assurance - The Secret Sauce Behind Screening Accuracy

Pre-employment background checks are an essential tool for any business looking to protect its assets, liability & workplace culture. No matter who you’re hiring, or for what position, a simple screening is often all it takes to feel that much more confident about your new team. What exactly goes into a background check, though? Unless you’re the hiring manager, or work in HR, it’s probably not a question you’ve entertained longer than a few seconds.

Even if you do work in hiring, the actual details of the background check process might not be something that keeps you up at night, assuming you’re used to working with third-party services. Not all screenings are created equal, however, and that’s something that matters. If your background check pulls up false information, you could be taking on big-time risks – from missing vital information in a candidate’s record, all the way to lawsuits from candidates who’ve been incorrectly flagged, or have had their identity mistaken for someone else’s. Below, we detail the business of screening, and show you how to trust the accuracy of your own process.

Accuracy Means Screenings, Not Screening

When it comes to background checks, only running one is akin to just getting a fraction of the story. Or if you can only run one screening, it’s at least important to be intentional about the screening you choose.

Here’s a sampling of the most common screenings:

National Criminal Search

This search combs records in all 50 states to catch any major charges missed by a more local search. The downside to it is it’s not the most comprehensive, but it does flag crimes worth serious alarm.

Statewide Criminal Search

A statewide search can catch some of the crimes that a national search can miss. It’s not available to use in every state, but for the companies that can use it, it makes for an excellent bridge between broader searches and more local ones.

County Criminal Search

When it comes to a deep dive, a county criminal search remains the gold standard. The downside to this is, naturally, that it doesn’t go beyond the county, but when it comes to screening candidate activity within the measured area, this search can be as comprehensive as it gets. Just make sure the service you’re using has certified connections with every local courthouse to ensure it really is as complete as possible.

This is just a sampling of the searches available to you – for example, there are also many designed to dig through specific databases and registries. If you need the most cost-effective solution, however, it’s probably best to combine a county search with a national one, which gives you a broad net that still runs deep locally.

The Risks of Improper Screening

As seen above, there’s a risk of important information falling through the cracks if you only conduct one search. But it’s far from the only risk you could take on. Laws regarding screenings are different from state to state, so make sure you’re on top of your state’s regulations regarding criminal, credit, DMV searches or any other background check you’re looking to conduct. The irony of potentially violating the law here probably isn’t lost on you, but it’s important to keep in mind. Laws regarding background checks also change frequently, meaning you really have to walk a careful tightrope with your screenings.

Companies as big as Wells Fargo, Target and Amazon have even faced lawsuits for violating the law when screening some candidates. In fact, over the last 10 years companies have spent more than $330 million settling lawsuits over disputed background checks. The Fair Credit Reporting Act ensures that candidates must agree to any screening in advance, and are granted the right to challenge the validity of the results. That means your results had better be accurate. In some cases, screening services have even flagged a candidate for simply sharing the same first name as someone else.

So What’s The Secret Sauce Here?

If you haven’t guessed it, it’s fairly simple – it’s the people actually running your background checks. The most-dazzling automated systems aren’t worth much if they’re not designed & maintained by people who actually know what they’re doing. In fact, it’s the biggest strength of a service like PeopleG2. Our automated systems are top-of-the-line, but it’s our team of experts that make them so useful.

PeopleG2’s researchers can hand-pick records from any courthouse in America, ensuring our searches are as complete as possible. We’re also on top of the constantly changing legalities surrounding your right to screen candidates, and can advise you on exactly what you can and can’t do. On top of that, our customer service is the most-awarded team in the entire industry, by an exceptionally wide margin. We know background checks inside & out, and can deliver the most accurate results possible without you having to ever break a sweat.


It all comes down to trust, across the board. You can trust your own team better after screening new candidates, and you can trust your screening process if you hire the right team outside your office too. No matter who you choose, make sure they’re a team that works diligently to deliver complete results on multiple search levels, and knows the laws inside & out. Putting people first always pays off – especially when it comes to screening new people.

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