We spend a lot of time on ActiveCare discussing the importance of vetting your job candidates and existing employees. Just in the past six months, we’ve helped you to:

One thing we haven’t done yet was explain why you should, and how to, vet a background screening company. This is a crucial step as you enter your budget talks for 2015 because it’s super smart to re-evaluate any current collaborations or contracts you might have. Can you increase efficiency? Turnaround time? Can you reduce mistakes? Costs? There are some key questions you need answers to as you examine your screening company or investigate new ones for next year. We’ll spell them out for you here.

How do I find a reputable background screening agency?

Word of mouth is a great place to start. Is there a networking group to which you belong? We’re thinking of places like the Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Exchange, One Million Cups, young professionals associations. Chances are several other businesses within that group have screening needs and use an outside agency. Talk with them. Ask them the questions that are most important to you – only you really know what you’re driving factors are when considering a screening company. Or, if you don’t use a Credit Reporting Agency (that’s fancy speak for a company like Active Screening who conducts background checks) and are interested in making the switch, inquire as to what prompted your colleagues to finally make the leap, too.

If you prefer to do some solitary research, check out the National Associational of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS).

What are the agency’s priorities?

Setting up an interview with a potential screening agency is a MUST! There is only so much you can glean from an agency’s website/blog (even one as awesome as ours!) so we encourage you to investigate from all angles. Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions. Have they ever been cited for improper techniques? Do they vet their own employees? How experienced are their investigators? Are they accredited by NAPBS?

If the CRA continually stresses its lightning-quick turnaround time, alarm bells should be ringing in your head. There is no such thing as instant results. If they claim that, move on.

Where is your research performed?

Knowing the difference between outsourcing and offshoring can make the difference between being a reputable and secure screening agency or being one of these. You’ll want to brush up on the differences… click here for a reminder. While outsourcing your screening needs to a CRA can often improve your hiring efficiency and make the candidate experience much more enjoyable for everyone involved, offshoring can present a bunch of dangers, the most egregious being a lack of security with a candidate’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII). If the CRA you’re considering off-shores background checks, or even part of them, do not take off, taxi back to the gate. These foreign countries are not held to the same federal regulations U.S. companies are when it comes to handling PII. Read this to hear more about the dangers of offshoring.

Do they offer comprehensive checks?

If you’re going to choose to work with a CRA, you want it to make your life easier, not more complicated. That’s why it’s imperative to find a CRA who offers a smorgasbord of vetting options, instead of having to hire one CRA to handle criminal checks and another to handle driving records. Here’s a list of what we feel is a solid checklist of services:

  • Identity & Credit
  • Driving Records
  • Criminal Records
  • References & Credentialing
  • Drug Testing
  • Clinical Services, including for DOT Employers
  • I-9 Verification

Oh, and while you’re at it, you might as well go ahead and ask if the CRA put all their own employees through a thorough background check. If you’re going to talk the talk, you better walk the walk.

Are they accredited?

The NAPBS offers top honors to only the best CRA’s in the business. Active Screening is one of them. We are one of 47 background screening companies in the nation who have earned this prestigious seal of approval. If you truly want to work with screening companies who are exceptional at what they do, choose one who is accredited by NAPBS.

What other budgeting questions do you have for us? We’d love to help you find a way to improve your screening processes for 2015. Leave your comment below!

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