Frequently Asked Questions
Let us answer some of your questions to help you get started.
1. What should I include in my background check?
That is up to you. We will build screening packages based on your needs and policy.
Most background checks are ordered to confirm information provided by your prospective employee or employee. Depending on your industry or the role, you may want to check for criminal records, verify their education claims and/or their work history, confirm professional licensure, or check sex offender registries.
Click here for a list of available searches
It is best practice to have a background screening policy in place before conducting background checks on your employees. Contact our Compliance Manager to discuss this in more detail.
2. What is included in a criminal record check?
The foundation of a criminal record check is an Address History Search in conjunction with County Criminal Record Searches.
Because offenses against state law are processed at the county level, this is the only search that can be considered the most up to date and accurate. Dependent on the jurisdiction, the search will go back at least 7 years and include any reportable felony and misdemeanor records found. Records will be reported according to applicable local, state and federal laws.
It is recommended that you search the counties of residence and employment. If ordered with our Address History Search, our system will populate these counties based on that result. We encourage you to review the result and add additional counties based on their knowledge of their work/residence history.
Clients may want to consider adding a State Criminal Record Search and/or a National Criminal Record Database Search to identify potential records available outside of the counties of residence.
3. Why should I order county criminal searches, isn’t a statewide better?
State Criminal Record Searches are conducted at the state’s repository where available. They will include offenses processed throughout the state. Adding a State Criminal Record Search on top of County Criminal Record Searches will enhance your background check. Neglecting to check at the county level, and only checking at the state level runs the risk of missing more recent or pending records that haven’t made it to the repository. And often, records found do not have updated dispositions and other information critical to your assessment.
4. What is the difference between a Federal Criminal Record Search and a Nationwide Criminal Record Locator?
A Federal Criminal Record Search is a search for offenses against federal law. County and State searches are looking for offenses against state law. You will not find federal offenses filed at county courts or state offenses filed at federal courts – separate searches need to be conducted to capture both. Our Nationwide Criminal Record Locator is a database of criminal records and results may include both state and federal offenses, but are never to be considered a complete or up-to-date search.
5. Do I have to get signed consent before running the background check?
Yes. When running a background check for employment purposes, disclosure and consent are required. cFIRST will provide you with samples of all necessary forms.
6. What does it mean if a report is flagged?
A flagged search on your report is simply an indicator that there is a discrepancy in the result.
An example would be if an employer provided a title that differs from the provided title in an Employment Verification request. This may or may not be an issue upon your review, depending on the discrepancy.
All criminal records found are flagged as well. Again, this may or may not be an issue, depending on the offense and your policy.
Flags do not indicate a need for adverse action.
7. What is the Fair Credit Reporting Act?
The FCRA spells out the rights consumers (the employees you screen) have with respect to background reports prepared by CRAs, like us, including the right to dispute the accuracy of the reports and our obligations to reinvestigate such inaccuracies.
The FCRA describes the obligations employers have to provide notice to consumers if information in the background report is going to be used adversely against them. And finally, the FCRA spells out the responsibilities of CRAs when preparing and providing such background reports for a limited purpose such as employment.
The regulations governing the actions of professional background screeners as well as end-users (you) are spelled out in the FCRA and the CFPB’s A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Notice to Users of Consumer Reports: Obligations of Users Under the FCRA.
Background screening, when conducted by a CRA, is highly regulated including by the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as well as state and local consumer protection laws. In addition the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is active in this space and just last year issued revised enforcement guidance on the use of criminal background checks for employment screening purposes, which is directed toward employers who use such reports.
8. How do I get started with cFIRST?
Getting started is very easy. Simply complete this form and an account representative will be in touch within 24 hrs to implement the process. Or, feel free to call 513-898-0646 and we’ll be able to help you right away. Typically, we can get you up and running within 2 business days.
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If you have questions, or just want to explore more, leave us a note, or better still, call us!