Sept. 17, 2010
When a background check is important to determine the character and qualification of an employee in a trusted position, a check alone is definitely not sufficient. A full-scale applicant investigation is a much better choice in determining who is trustworthy and qualified and who is not.
There is a full spectrum of Background checks available to us in the public sector. With the ease of access to the basic search engines, you can amass a large amount of information on the person, place or thing of interest. However, the key is to know where and how to come up with information which is significant, actionable and corroborative.
There is no need to spend a lot of money for a casual check, but in the case where an employee’s character, trust and reputation are required, then a professional background check is advised.
There are three main components to a professional background check:
- An experienced, reliable and highly credible Investigative firm.
- Utilization of the relevant search engines and private data banks (through consent).
- The resources to fully investigate and conduct surveillance measures to identify the missing elements of the paper trial.
A professional background report may include any or all of the following classifications obtained from the firm’s most relevant, credible and proprietary databases, applicable publications, Federal and State record checks:
Date of Birth / Social security of Individual: verifies age, identity and labor record. A fraudulent SSN may be indicative of identity theft, insufficient citizenship, or possible concealment of a “past life.”
Names associated with the Individual: This association will give incite into possible relatives, friends and associates.
Residences (Active and previous): Verification tool to ascertain whether the applicant is who he or she claims to be (go back at least 20 years).
Driver’s license information: A determination of a valid class of license, as well as the history of accidents or traffic infractions.
Registered Motor vehicles: List of types and ages of motor vehicles leased or owned.
Possible employment associated with individual: Verifies references on application and the number, duration and types of positions held.
Professional licenses: Confirmation and status of listed license qualifications.
Bankruptcies: History and indication of financial health.
Liens and judgments: History and reasons for assets, which are partially owned or lost.
UCC filings: Check of the Uniform Commercial Code documents relating to ownership, debtor status, secured party names, assignee status and collateral descriptions.
Federal record checks: Federal civil and criminal record checks verified through each federal district in the United States. For example a New York check would include the Northern (NDNY), Southern (SDNY), Eastern (EDNY) and Western (WDNY) districts.
State unified court system: State wide court and corrections records to law enforcement records, which usually stem from the State’s boroughs, counties or villages.
Inmate locator: Sentence and prison location of incarcerated individual.
State sex offender registry: Data bank containing the names, photos and addresses of registered State sex offenders
Credit history: Reflects a rating scale based on past and current credit standing, determined by the individuals’ history and number of credit and loan amounts and their timely and accurate payments.
Educational records: Consent form from applicant to the educational institution for the release of transcripts and times of attendance. Another check in this area is to ask the applicant to bring in their respective academic yearbook.
In the cases where integrity is mandatory, I would strongly recommend drug testing, polygraph testing and a full-scale investigation of past employers, neighbors and teachers. It is important to note that many of these checks require consent forms from the person being evaluated.
An experience Investigative Firm will have analysts and investigators who are skilled and experienced in identifying cover-ups, confidence traps, and false application filings.
In the case of many Federal employment checks, extremely specialized investigators perform many of the above applications, and when it comes right down to what is most important, it is the investigative team, that has reliable and credible sources of information, and can find the missing or altered pieces, in order to report an accurate picture of the person or business being evaluated.