BACKGROUND CHECKS 101

Q: What is an instant criminal search?

A: An instant criminal search is one that accesses databases which is comprised of data provided by various county, state and federal agencies. For example, Texas has several counties that offer their criminal information for database compiling. Likewise, the State of Texas collects information from all the counties and offers a statewide database.

It is important to note that the data, by nature, may not be current due to the lag between the time a suspect is charged or case has been concluded and the time the data is actually reported to state, county and federal agencies.

Q: Are instant criminal searches accurate and thorough?

A: An instant search is only as accurate as the state, local or federal agency reporting the data. Instant database searches can be updated as frequently as daily or semi-annually. That is why it is extremely important to make sure you know ahead of time how often a search is updated. We provide descriptions of each source and how often it is scheduled to be updated.


Q: What is the difference between an instant criminal search and a county criminal courthouse search?

A: The instant criminal search queries a database consisting of several sources to quickly check for any criminal related records. Aside from the obvious advantage of being instant it also offers a wider scope. The disadvantage is that as a database search, the records retrieved are often less detailed and not as current as a county search. In contrast, the county criminal search is more accurate and complete because it is updated as suspects are booked and court cases are filed. Results can take up to 72 hours.


Q: When should I use an instant criminal search vs. a county criminal search?

A: If you know a subject committed an offense in a particular county, order a county criminal search where the actual records were filed.

If you know someone committed an offense in a particular state but you are not sure where, try an instant criminal search which covers an entire state.

We recommend that any results returned by the instant criminal search be followed up with a county criminal search of the counties where the offenses were committed. This will ensure the most accurate results


Q: I received the report, how easy is it to understand?

A: We use a proprietary data translation protocol to interpret and simplify complex data. This ensures that you understand all of the information reported.


Q: What's the difference between instant searches and real-time searches?

A: Information from instant database searches may come from state or local agencies and by nature is not current. Results from Real-time searches, on the other hand, may not be immediate but are more current as the data is retrieved directly from the individual agency.


Q: How do I know which counties to select for county criminal checks?

A: First, look at the person's application to determine in which city or cities the applicant has lived. You can then use our county locator on our ordering page to enter the city or zip code to locate the county of interest.

Q: What information do you get on employment references? Do you mainly verify dates of employment and position held or do you normally get information of rehire, attendance, and performance? How do you attempt to get that?

A: We always ask the following questions on pre-employment verifications:

Dates of employment
Title
Ending Pay
Duties
Reason for Leaving
Eligible for Rehire

The information returned depends on the willingness of the former employer to provide information. When necessary, we send a signed authorization to the former employer in order to acquire the necessary information. This may require your staff to fax an authorization form to us. All employment verifications are conducted by phone with the employer, except in situations where the employer has out-sourced verifications to an automated system.


Q: Why should I conduct a criminal check for employment purposes?

A: As an employer, you want to protect your business from theft and provide a safe workplace for your employees. We recommend a criminal records search for all of your applicants. Use this information to identify applicants with violent tendencies or a history of theft.

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