Instant is a word that every employer likes to hear, especially when it pertains to production. There is a popular saying in the business world, “time is money,” it’s often perceived to mean one thing, more time spent equals less money made. In the background screening world we like to think the opposite, more time equals more money. There is a common misconception that there is such a thing as an instant background check available, be warned instant is good but not when it comes to new hires.

The Myth:

If anyone Google’s “background check,” an overwhelming amount of results show, half of which promote “instant” checks. This is your first warning sign, when has anything of quality ever been instant? These sites will advertise instant access to millions of records and that’s exactly what they mean. This is the second warning sign; it’s not false advertisement which is where most employers get fooled. You will get millions of results, in the literal sense. For example, say your candidate has the name John Smith; you will receive every John Smith and get to be the one to decide who the right one is. Finally the third warning sign, if the price seems too good to be true it probably is. You can get a $2 check but you get what you pay for. Many states have fees to access results, if you are not charged this you probably aren’t getting the most accurate and up to date results.

How to avoid this disaster:

  1. Keep an eye for the three warning signs: the word instant, the promise of millions of records and the word cheap.
  2. Know compliance laws: many instant companies don’t play by the rules, which could mean a lawsuit for you.
  3. Do your homework: find a company with references and credentials.
  4. Check the references: call around make sure other businesses were satisfied.
  5. Ask questions: if a company can’t answer all your questions it may mean they aren’t what they appear to be or maybe don’t have what you are looking for.

Proper background screening is important in order to help you make an informed decision that will impact your business. With a comprehensive check you will increase your quality, reduce cost and in the end save time. Don’t let the appeal of instant get to you, when it comes to background checks, the extra 24 hrs, will be time well spent. To find out more about comprehensive checks, industry specific solutions and compliance laws, please visit


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