Connecticut lawmakers are examining a bill that would shorten the amount of time it takes to conduct criminal background checks on hew hires. The current standard is about 30 days, which means that some teachers and support staff may be brought on board before the results of their criminal background check are completed.


The issue is the lag time between state and federal background checks. The bill is suggesting reducing this time to five business days.


That got us thinking, though. What do most people really know about background check basics like:


  • What do the results show?
  • How common are background checks?
  • How long do they take?
  • What information do I need to provide for a background check?
  • How much do they normally cost?


So, in the effort of general education, here’s some answers.


What do the results show?

This depends greatly on the type of requested background check. For example, some basic searches check county criminal records, while more thorough screening procedures might examine a host of items:

Non-criminal background checks most likely showcase misinformation about employment history and educational degrees.


Here is a list of types of information that may be included in a background check. Most of them are public record.


  • Driving records
  • Vehicle registration
  • Credit records
  • Criminal records
  • Social Security number
  • Education records
  • Court records
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Bankruptcy
  • Character references
  • Neighbor interviews
  • Medical records
  • Property ownership
  • Military records
  • State licensing records
  • Drug test records
  • Past employers
  • Personal references
  • Incarceration records
  • Sex offender lists


How common are background checks?

This site claims that “surveys suggest that over 80% of companies conduct some type of background search, often including one or more of the following: criminal records checking, reference checking and past employment verification.”


How long do they take?

Turnaround time varies. Some companies will promise ‘instant’ results, but like anything else that sounds too good to be true, you should use caution around these service providers. Due to the careful nature of background checks and the collection of important and delicate information, it’s important to know that most reliable background screening providers will turn results for you in two to three days. Active Screening conducts 80% of its criminal research in-house and still manages to complete the majority of background checks in 48 hours. Even better, Active Screening has a 97% customer retention rate so you know our clients are pleased with our services and our final results.


What information do I need to provide for a background check?

This is pretty simple. A correct name – first and last – and an accurate date of birth. Many screening service providers will also ask for a Social Security Number for candidates who are American citizens. This helps track down previous addresses in the most accurate manner possible.


How much do they normally cost?

This is not so simple to answer. Pricing plans vary for lots of reasons – basic vs. in-depth checks, one-offs vs. bulk requests. You may find background checks provided for as little as $20 or as much as $100. The best thing you can do is do some research and talk with various providers like Active Screening who can tell you their pricing plans, but more importantly, explain why their services are best in class. Or, you can click here and request to see our pricing plans.


Again, we remind you that money should not be the driving factor in choosing your background screening provider. There are lots of variables to consider, some of which we discussed here. But if you have more questions, we’d love to hear from you. Shoot us a your question below and when we have enough, we’ll tackle another reader-influenced blog post like this.

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