If you’re bringing on a new employee, you know it is a risky process that requires lots of resources. Along with training and compensation costs, you must find a reliable background check company to make sure that these expenses turn out to be a good investment and not a money-pit nightmare. Using one of the best background check websites available to perform a record search is key to making this process go smoothly.
But for every reputable, dependable, and accurate pre-employment screening service, there’s a scam background check site, too. We don’t want you to waste your precious time and resources getting duped, so we’ve assembled a list of the best background check sites on the market. Using one of these services will guarantee you are equipped with the most accurate and reputable information before you make any HR decisions.
But before we get to the list, let’s learn a bit more about what a background check is, exactly.
A background check is a process used to verify that a person is who they say they are. This process is done using an individual’s criminal, employment, financial, and education records, along with other documentation. For employers, a background check typically takes place after someone applies for a job, or before they offer someone a job. To run a background check, an employer needs the individual’s consent, along with their date of birth, social security number, and current address.
Employment background checks can include a wide range of criteria, such as social media activity, driving records, and drug screenings. Note that different states have different laws regarding background checks.
In our research, here are the companies we’ve found to provide the best background check websites to use when hiring new employees.
With these options, you’ll be able to perform a reliable search of any criminal background and do a thorough vetting of new staff before hiring:
Background Report is an easy, DIY option for people wanting to start and finish the entire background check process online.
This service is designed to be inclusive, allowing for the job candidate to see results, provide feedback, and dispute or explain them if necessary. Basic background checks from Background Report start at $19.95.
Next, Accurate Now offers automated background checks for small and medium-sized businesses.
The company offers U.S.-based support along with a straightforward pricing structure that ranges from $29.95 for a basic report to $74.95 for a premium report.
California-based GoodHire offers a hassle-free online portal for business owners who need pre-employment screening services.
The firm has been recognized for their easy-to-use user interface and excellent customer service. GoodHire provides package and quote-based pricing.
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) was founded in 1997 by hiring attorney Lester Rosen.
Based in San Francisco, ESR has leadership well-versed in labor and hiring law and offers U.S.-based data processing to deliver their services. For pricing, you’ll need to contact the ESR sales team directly.
Another top background check website, HireRight offers pre-employment screening in more than 240 countries and territories and can handle applicants in 20 languages.
The HireRight platform also offers a number of integrations for existing e-recruiting applications.
Intellicorp provides a full range of best background check services and will work with you to create a program that meets your organizational needs.
With IntelliCorp, you also have access to an online learning center full of materials to help you stay compliant in your hiring practices.
Another top option is Verified Credentials, which provides both personal and commercial background check services.
The personal background check is useful for people who want to know what information is displayed when a potential employer looks into their background. Basic background checks start at $32.
Justifacts has been around since 1982 and provides pre-employment screening services to small businesses and enterprise organizations alike.
Each Justifacts client is assigned an account manager to help personalize the screening process and interpret report results.
Based in Marietta, Georgia, Infomart helps clients develop pre-employment screening procedures that are industry-specific. Services include verifications, credit history checks, and background reports.
They’ll even do background checks for your suppliers or any interns you’re looking to hire.
A newer startup, Checkr has become the go-to choice of many technology companies—both big and small.
The company is an automated and mobile-friendly platform that’s well set up to handle gig workers as well as full-time staff.
If you see your business in a big growth phase, you might want to consider something like Onfido.
On top of performing background checks for both the U.S. and UK, this startup also ties in on-boarding, too, with their automation platform.
Based in Minnesota, Trusted Employees is a Fair Credit Reporting Act-compliant service that has been in the background check business for the past 20 years.
Their team of experts works with small business owners to customize background checks to their industry, business type, and the position they’re hiring for. Background checks start at $29.95.
Cleveland-based background check firm Asurint offers background check solutions and onboarding services tailored to your business needs.
Their dedicated customer service team is also available to resolve any issue.
AGoodEmployee.com’s background check services come with personalized support, providing you with answers to your questions related to compliance, data, and next steps.
The AGoodEmployee.com service offers four different background check packages ranging from $29.95 to $199.95.
SterlingOne specializes in criminal background checks by using proprietary data to access over 2,300 county’s court records. When information isn’t available digitally, SterlingOne has court runners who will travel to the physical courthouse to request documentation.
Finally, AccuSource specializes in custom-built solutions. While some background screening companies only offer pre-built packages, AccuSource assesses the specific goals of each of their clients and builds a personalized background screening program from the ground up.
While we feel the list of background check companies we provided are among some of your best background check options, you may decide you want to go in a different direction. If so, here’s what you should know about choosing the best background check service for you and protecting yourself against scams.
According to private investigator Ari Morse of BestPI, your background check company should be able to walk you through the screening process to mitigate the risks of lawsuits. There are several small and nuanced protocols of criminal background checks, and they often vary on an industry-by-industry basis. For that reason, it’s best to work with a background check company that can tailor pre-employment screening and background search packages to suit your needs.
For example, if you need to screen a job candidate who’s lived in multiple counties, your best background check company will have connections to fetch updated records from local county courthouses. The multi-jurisdictional databases can be outdated from one county to the next—so this part will be important.
Your vendor should also be familiar with common scams and crimes related to your industry. Maybe your employment sector has a higher exposure to crime than other types of industries. In this case, your screening firm might point out that you need drug screens along with driving records to perform a background check.
There are many online background check search databases that claim to be valid. But if the database isn’t Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) compliant, you shouldn’t be using it to screen employment candidates.
The FCRA was enacted to make sure that credit agencies and other consumer reporting agencies (like background check companies) provide accurate information for individuals whose information will be used in decisions, including hiring and business lending.
Check the terms of service for sites you use to perform background checks to ensure the data they are providing is FCRA compliant. Using information that is not FCRA compliant to make employment decisions could open you up to possible lawsuits.
What do we mean? Say you Google an employment candidate and find an eight-year-old mugshot image of the person. You might decide not to go ahead with the hire once you see that. But this kind of search is not FCRA compliant for a few reasons:
If you decided against hiring someone on this basis, you could very likely have a lawsuit on your hands. So, think again before you perform a web search that might produce information you can’t actually use for pre-employment screening services. (Again, this is why you get a reliable background check company to do the work for you.)
Remember, FCRA compliance is everything. Avoid databases like USA People Search, People Finders, or similar websites. These aren’t approved for pre-employment screening purposes—and running a criminal background check on these sites could expose you to liability.
You also want to work with a firm that can help you develop a protocol for screening employees. A good company with experience in this area can guide you through deciphering the information in these reports. They can help you handle going over this information with a potential candidate to confirm or deny the accuracy of the information you’ve dug up.
Background checks can get unwieldy and expose you to risks you might not have considered—think about getting a candidate’s permission to perform the screen and having to deal with adverse and pre-adverse action letters, for instance. So, working with an experienced partner can help. Ideally, work with a company that has people experienced in your industry.
Finding the best background check site for your business can be confusing because so many exist (do a quick web search and you’ll find that out quickly). To help filter the list down, look for important credentials that indicate a reputable business.
One accreditation standard comes from the Professional Background Screening Association. Some companies also have accreditation from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). If they aren’t BBB accredited, you can at least check their BBB profile for ratings.
Many background check companies claim that they can provide a “national search” or “multi-jurisdictional” search for background checks. There’s no true national registry that can provide updated information for every single jurisdiction. Criminal convictions can happen at the municipal, state, county, and federal levels. Plus, the federal crime database is not searchable by date of birth or social security number.
Any online background search site that makes that claim is dubious—so look elsewhere.
Once you’ve identified a site that you feel is a reliable background check company for your business needs, make sure you understand the information that’s actually available through the background check. If you need something more extensive, reach out to someone in customer service who might be able to modify your background check package.
Whichever service you use to check a potential employee’s background, make sure you’re familiar with your responsibility as an employer. Hiring is an important decision, so make sure you have all of the information you need while also minimizing your exposure to risk. Working with one of the best, FCRA-compliant background check sites should help—and this list is a great place to begin.
Aja McClanahan is a financial writer who blogs regularly at www.principlesofincrease.com and also writes for other online publications covering personal finance, entrepreneurship, travel and general lifestyle topics.