ICYMI, we did a series of profiles on some of our wonderful Active Screening team members at the start of the year. Our goal was to give you an inside look at our intelligent decision makers and creative geniuses who take their extraordinary knowledge of the screening industry and turn it into user-friendly, trend-setting solutions for you. Since the world of background checks is constantly evolving with compliance and legal changes, what our team manages to pull off is pretty remarkable.

Click on these headers to read up on our staffers:

Department Profile: Melissa Schol, Client Services Manager
Department Profile: Kerry Rydman, Information Technology Manager
Department Profile: Travis Del Rosal, Research Manager

There is one expert in particular who really keeps all of us on our toes by ensuring we’re all up to speed on the latest compliance laws, changes and trends. We wrote about him here (Compliance 101 with Benton Mobley, Director of Compliance) and really recommend you take some time to read his profile because it will give you a much better understanding of the complexities of compliance and what measures the team at Active Screening takes to make sure nothing slips off their radar.

One of the things that is hot on Mr. Mobley’s radar is the differences in the quality of background checks and reporting that is delivered by using a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) versus using the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or fingerprint searches. Mr. Mobley was recently in Washington, DC to talk with federal legislators on the importance of knowing the difference between the two types of screening options and why an FBI fingerprint check simply doesn’t cut it.

 A fingerprint background check reveals personal data like your birth, names, addresses, employment and arrests. An FBI fingerprint check will provide your criminal conviction history. Fingerprints alone, however, don’t paint the whole picture and can have incomplete or inaccurate information. A fingerprint check doesn’t include current reports on a person’s use of illegal substances. Only a drug test would prove that. When you consider that the FBI currently has 77.7 million individuals on file in its master criminal database – or nearly one out of every three American adults – you realize how brutal mistakes can be on our entire population. Even more troubling, with between 10,000 and 12,000 new names added each day, this problem isn’t going to go away with time. The ripple effect will continue to grow until there is a veritable tsunami of faulty results.

Consider this incredibly scary story out of Ohio where the entire state’s background check system, which relies on fingerprints, is faulty, unreliable, and letting criminals slip through the cracks. Or this CNN op-ed that cites several real world stories where people were wrongly labeled convicts through a background check.

In contrast, a background check performed by Active Screening results in a well-rounded and researched portfolio of a candidate. Arrest records are not the only things that matter when it comes to vetting a candidate. Even though criminal courts/records are the best source for criminal records, they are not the only place where information should be sourced about a candidate. Consumer Reporting Agencies like Active Screening often gather a host of information about a candidate so that employers have a fully painted picture of the person they’re considering bringing on board. These are just some of the services we provide at Active Screening:

Identity & Credit – Establish your applicant’s identity, address history and personal responsibility.

Driver’s Records – Determine eligibility for driving a company or personal vehicle for business use.

Criminal Records – Identify criminal convictions or lack thereof so that you can hire with confidence.

References & Credentialing – Confirm the information provided on a resume and/or job application.

Clinical Services – Insulate your organization from workplace accidents, violence and rising health care costs.

DOT Employers Clinical Services – Reduce the costs of your DOT clinical services program through our online suite of screening, collection and management services.

Electronic I-9 Solutions – Verify your applicants right to work through integration with E-Verify.

What sets Active Screening and some other CRAs apart from the FBI fingerprint check is that we have real people – actual boots-on-the-ground researchers who actively work to track down and verify information. We do not simply let a computer 
aggregate data and spit out results that may or may not be accurate. Although we are quick and efficient at what we do (it’s one of the nice hallmarks of working with an NAPBS-accredited agency), we know that nothing can produce results, find errors, locate nuances, stay on top of compliance laws and trends, and double-check information like a human can.

Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of working with a CRA vs. using fingerprints – and why you should ALWAYS choose to work with a CRA:

  • Screening industry is heavily regulated by federal and some state FCRA laws – FBI is not
  • Screening industry has A LOT of consumer protection built in – FBI does not
  • Candidates can dispute and get dispute resolved in 30 days or less – FBI puts it on the candidate who may never get dispute resolved or not in a timely manner
  • Expunged records at the court level may still show up on FBI check
  • We go to the source for criminal records – 50% of FBI records in the database are arrest only – this per the Department of Justice
  • Currently the US Census Bureau is in hot water with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) because they used the FBI database to screen and disqualified tens of thousands of candidates based on arrest which resulted from an incomplete search from the database.
  • Despite offering more in-depth and accurate information, CRAs have fast turn-around times.

If you still have questions about the differences, please leave us a comment below or give one of our team members a call at 1-800-319-5580. We’d be glad to keep this important issue on your radar.

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