The Quality of a Background Check

Please Note: The material on this website is provided for informational purposes only. It is not a consumer reporting agency as defined by The Fair Credit Reporting Act and should not be used to determine an individual's eligibility for personal credit or employment, or to assess risk associated with any business transactions such as tenant screening.

When a company or a professional offers to perform a background check on a person or you decide to do it yourself, it is natural to ask how good the end result will be. Will the report contain all of the required information? Will the provided details be accurate? There are different factors which determine the answers to these questions. Take a closer look at them to evaluate the quality of a service or of your own search.
The Sources
The number of sources which the information is derived from is one of the major factors which determine the quality of any background check. The more the sources are the better. Ideally, the check will cover all relevant public records from birth ones to criminal ones. Information can also be obtained from different types of authorities and institutions when this is required. Examples include law enforcement authorities and schools.
While there are many databases which can be accessed directly online, not all sources can be used that easily. Personal visits and special written requests have to be made in many cases.
Disclosure Practices
Unless the background check is purely private, there are some legal limitations that apply to its scope and methods. This is especially the case when it comes to employment. Some information regarding a person’s financial and criminal history may not be publically disclosed. This is particularly applicable to events which have happened a set number of years ago and are no longer regarded to be legally relevant. Additionally, there are circumstances in which information which would otherwise be publically available is kept private. All of these factors have to be taken into consideration when the comprehensiveness and accuracy of a check are assessed.
Technical Aspects
There is always a risk of technical errors being made. There may be errors in the information which is entered in the public records and other formal documents such as school transcripts. This is extremely rare, but such a possibility should never be excluded. It is interesting to note that one of the most commonly made errors is the misspelling of a name.
Technical errors can also be made by the person who performs the background check. They can occur during the copying of the information and during its arrangement. While the errors in official documents cannot be fixed unless a formal request is made by the affected individual, the person who performs the check must take all necessary measures to prevent errors effectively.
Now you are prepared to assess the quality of a background check.