Call us at : 1-800-250-6856 Email us at : info@hirelect.com

Ask and ye shall receive...

I : Account Questions

How does billing work?

Once you are integrated with Hirelect’s back-end software, you will receive a monthly invoice for the services you have ordered. All invoices are generally due upon receipt, and Hirelect retains the right to suspend ordering privileges if an invoice is outstanding. Nonetheless, at Hirelect’s discretion (usually in special circumstances) credit may be extended for clients otherwise in good standing.

All invoices are visible in the dashboard. Billing information is also therein and may be modified.

What are the ‘incidental fees’ for searches I see on your site?

In the records-retrieval business, just about every type of public record has a ‘gatekeeper’ who imposes a surcharge upon the release of data. Although Hirelect has volume discounts, in order to keep service costs competitive, Hirelect does not bundle such costs into its service fees.

The following 11 searches have incidental fees:

  1. Alias Hit State Courthouse Verification
  2. Education Reference Verification
  3. Employment Reference Verification
  4. Motor Vehicle Records Search .
  5. National* Criminal Database Search
  6. National* Criminal Database1 ‘Hit’ Verification at Local State Courthouses
  7. One Current (or Past) County of Residence State Courthouse Civil Records Search
  8. One Current (or Past) County of Residence State Courthouse Criminal Records Search
  9. Ongoing National* Criminal Database Monitoring
  10. Unlimited1 7-Year County of Residency State Civil Records Search
  11. Unlimited1 7-Year County of Residency State Criminal Records Search

Note: Education and Employment Verifications will only have an incidental fee if the institution or business outsources verifications to a third-party. Such third parties may be (in the case of educational verifications) the national student clearinghouse (www.studentclearinghouse.org) or, (for employment verifications) the work number (www.theworknumber.com). However, not all businesses or schools elect to do this, and therefore there may not be a incidental fee.

In all cases, because Hirelect is charged for each separate verification, a fee will be passed on to clients for each search. Fees assessed by these companies generally range between $5 to $15 USD per check.

What Hirelect charges for is its searching expertise, the filtration via technology and experience of such records, and the subsequent assembly of a public records profile of your applicant. This means, Hirelect knows what to look for, where to look, and how to get your company the available information on the applicant.

Customized orders and parameters are always available! Hirelect can always customize client-specific search options upon request. Call us  for details.

1 “Unlimited” means: (1) In context of 7-Year Unlimited ‘Hit’ Verification at Local State Courthouses: that no matter the number of ‘Hit’ which are positively attributed to your applicant via an identification matrix (via their given name(s), not aliases, which are separate) derived from a criminal records database, Hirelect will go to the appropriate county courthouse(s) for each of the aforesaid attributed ‘Hit’, and shall search for the applicant’s given name. (2) In context of Unlimited 7-Year County of Residency State Courthouse Criminal Records Search: that no matter the number of addresses which are positively attributed to your applicant via an identification matrix (via their given name(s), not aliases, which are separate) derived from an address history trace, Hirelect will go to the appropriate county courthouses(s) for each address and search for the applicant’s given name. Note: The courts searched are not federal.

* “National” as applied here to a database, does not mean that every public record in the nation is available in the databases searched or that it will be searched. Rather, the scope of the search is not comprehensive and contains records from multiple states. Coverage may vary. See state-by-state availability, below:

Database - In the context of background screening, a “database” can be referred to as an online conglomeration of records (public or private) which is subject to accuracy and timeliness considerations by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. §1681 et seq) and some state law (e.g., CA Civil Code Section 1786.28(b)).  Accordingly, to provide premier-quality screening, Hirelect will make every effort to never provide a client, if at all possible, any database record(s) without first verifying the accuracy or correctness of such records.  Nevertheless, some databases are more reliable than others: for example, criminal record databases are the most unreliable for employment purposes while government-maintained watch lists are considered more reliable (mainly because there is little alternative for obtaining such information).  PACER (the federal judiciary’s online case files) is also relatively reputable, although search options are limited. Note: Aliases linked to the address history are generally all searched at the database level as a convenience to clients. However, no alias hits (a hit produced by aliases which are matched to the applicant via Hirelect ’s identity matrix) will be searched by Hirelect at the county level without additional fees.

Note: An exception are federal court records.

I can’t log in to my account!

Don’t panic! The first thing to do is check your credentials † are they accurate? If so, and you still can’t log in, then please contact us.

How can I tell if a report I ordered is being disputed?

A prompt response to any dispute by an applicant regarding information provided to you by Hirelect is a top priority. Pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. § 1681i), Hirelect is required to notify you (the employer) within 5 business days of the actual receipt of notice of the dispute. The law further states that Hirelect must resolve the matter entirely within 30 days of the receipt of such notice by the applicant. Thus, speed is a priority.

Accordingly, when a dispute is initiated, two things will immediately happen: first, within your applicant tracking system (“ATS”) dashboard’s report history, Hirelect will change the appropriate report’s status to ‘dispute’. This will trigger an email to your email address of record indicating the same to ensure you are notified about the situation. When this happens, no further action is needed from you, but it is important to note that your termination/rejection process must be put on hold until the investigation is completed.

Hirelect will investigate the claim(s) of the applicant by contacting the sources/providers from which it obtained the information. If the results of the reinvestigation require a new report, Hirelect will correct and re-issue the updated report to you electronically (via your ATS dashboard) and by physical mail to your applicant within 5 days of completion. The status of the report will be returned to complete, and the updated report will be viewable in the same area as the original.

Once you receive the updated report, you must review the changes. If changes were made through the re-investigation process and the employer still believes the applicant is unfit for the position, then a final adverse action letter may be sent through your dashboard.

NOTE: If the accuracy of the report is not contested by the applicant, but the applicant still thinks (despite this) they should be hired, Hirelect will direct them to contact you † there’s nothing we can do.

Can I get a ’refresher’ tour of how my dashboard works?

As a client of Hirelect, your team can receive re-training as often as is needed. All that’s needed is to set an appointment with us so we can show your team how the service works. Call us to schedule a review of your dashboard.

Can other HR staff at my company open parallel accounts with Hirelect?

Of course! Each user should have their own account (and their own credentials), along with permissions control. Call us if you’d like to learn more.

II : Search Parameter Questions

How does Hirelect search for records generally?

Hirelect follows best practices in the background screening profession and uses specific techniques and sources to obtain premier-quality background searches for its clients. Specifically, the procedures below are used to help control the quality of the searches:

  • Per the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, middle names are on a search fields and are used by Hirelect whenever possible, in all searches.
  • In all the “National* Criminal Database” searches, Hirelect uses the applicant’s social security number to obtain a list of aliases associated with the social security number which are then used as search subjects for the database. Note: While aliases linked to the address history are generally all searched at the database level (and may be reported to the employer), no  alias hit found in the database will be reported to employer without a search at the county level by Hirelect (which carries additional fees).
  • The accuracy of all database courthouse records are physically confirmed before they are reported to the client (NOTE: federal courthouses are currently the only exception).
  • In the federal court database record searches, Hirelect uses the applicant’s given name as provided.
  • In the event a state has a weak database presence, Hirelect will search the applicant’s current county of residence (or, if doing this already, one former county of residence, if available).
  • In all cases, Hirelect always uses a matrix to ensure that unnecessary data is filtered out prior to presentation to the employer. This matrix is used to determine that the person who is the subject of the search is in fact the person whose data is being presented to the employer.
  • In the case of civil records are ordered at the state level, Hirelect will search the applicant’s given name as provided.
  • Call us for details!

What courts are searched in what checks?

Searching state courthouses in-person is the bread-and-butter of Hirelect (via our network of court-runners) and we strive to quickly get in and out of most of the state courts within the continental United States of America to return reliable information on your applicants on schedule. For a list of courts available, please see the following list*:

Hirelect uses industry-standard best practices to pinpoint the courts to which runners are dispatched. Generally, derived searches are used (via our “ National* Criminal Database”, or our ‘ One Current (or Past) County of Residence State Courthouse Civil/Criminal Records Search.’**) but developed searches are available also.

We also offer customized search development options. Call us today for more clarification/questions, etc.

* Note: Federal courts are not searched. The county courthouses listed are searched in the following products:

  1. Alias Hit State Courthouse Verification;
  2. National* Criminal Database1 ‘Hit’ Verification at Local State Courthouses;
  3. One Current (or Past) County of Residence State Courthouse Civil Records Search;
  4. One Current (or Past) County of Residence State Courthouse Criminal Records Search;
  5. Ongoing National* Criminal Database Monitoring;
  6. Unlimited1 7-Year County of Residency State Civil Records Search, and
  7. Unlimited1 7-Year County of Residency State Criminal Records Search.

** In some cases (such as states with weak database coverage) both methods may be used to return a quality search.

What are the sources of your ‘database’ searches?

Below, please find a general list of the databases which Hirelect uses for finding records on your applicants (Note: these sources are those used for (a) the Global Terrorist Watch List Search, (b) the National Sex Offender Registry Search and (c) the National* Criminal Database Search). Note: All federal district courts are searched.

Note: Database vendors may be subject to change without notice.

What will a(n) “___” search return?

Well, it depends! Specifically, it depends on what you’re asking about, viz: (1) what specific applicant information is going to be returned, per a’la carte product of Hirelect, or (2) what the actual reports will visually look like when Hirelect assembles the completed report. Don’t worry, though; we’ll address all of these concerns in this FAQ segment.

(1) By individual product, the information returned is as follows:

7-Year Address History Trace

Full name (with middle initial); truncated SSN; addresses and reported dates.

Alias Hit State Courthouse Verification

Generally: Below an executive summary of the results and scope of the search will be the individual’s name on what (if any) record(s) were found, DOB, disposition of the matter, case number, court, file date, offense, sentence, and other information as may be provided by the court. See out coverage map of available courthouses:

E-Verify Agent Service

If the individual’s records match DHS’s, then ‘Employment Authorized’ will display, along with the individual’s name, truncated SSN, citizenship status, verification document information (type, issuing state, and expiration date), and hire date.

If not, ‘DHS Verification in Process’ (i.e., the employee’s records do not match available records) will be displayed.

Education Reference Verification

Employment Reference Verification

Employment Credit Check

Coming soon!

Global Terrorist Watch List Database Search

Match or No Match for identifiers provided.

Known Aliases Search

Any records which are found tied to aliases of the individual will appear in the appropriate section of the report (likely the county courthouse verification section). Note: While aliases linked to the address history are generally all searched at the database level (and may be reported to the employer), no "alias hit" found in the database will be reported to employer without a search at the county level by Hirelect (which carries additional fees).

Motor Vehicle Records Search

The license number, issuing state, full name of the licensee, identifiers (gender, height, weight, hair and eye color), license information (such as ‘VALID’ or ‘SUSPENDED’, etc.), and any further information from the state. Finally, actions taken against the license will be detailed. For more information, please see how our coverage/fee map for MVR’s:

National* Criminal Database Search

Hirelect will only provide information confirmed by pulling the court record. See immediately below. See our coverage map, below:

National* Criminal Database1 ‘Hit’ Verification at Relevant State Courthouses

Generally: Below an executive summary of the results and scope of the search will be the individual’s name on what (if any) record(s) were found, DOB, disposition of the matter, case number, court, file date, offense, sentence, and other information as may be provided by the court. See out coverage map of available courthouses:

National* Federal Civil Court Database Search

The court hearing the matter, an executive summary of the cause of action, whether the applicant was plaintiff or defendant, and (if available) the outcome of the matter.

National* Federal Criminal Court Database Search

This is a Match / No Match search.

National* Sex Offender Registry Database Search

This is a Match / No Match search.

One Current (or Past) County of Residency State Courthouse Criminal Records Search

Generally: Below an executive summary of the results and scope of the search will be the individual’s name on what (if any) record(s) were found, DOB, disposition of the matter, case number, court, file date, offense, sentence, and other information as may be provided by the court. See out coverage map of available courthouses:

One Current (or Past) County of Residency State Courthouse Civil Records Search

The court hearing the matter, an executive summary of the cause of action, whether the applicant was plaintiff or defendant, and (if available) the outcome of the matter. See out coverage map of available courthouses:

One Current (or Past) County of Residency Federal Civil Court Records Search

This is a Match / No Match search.

One Current (or Past) County of Residency Federal Criminal Court Records Search

This is a Match / No Match search.

Ongoing National Criminal Database Monitoring

Hirelect will only provide information confirmed by pulling the court record. See immediately below.

Professional License Verification

Social Security Number Trace

The name and addresses associated with the SSN.

Standard 5-Panel Drug Screening

The results of what substances (if anything) the applicant tested positive for. The testing site may also be listed, as well as the date and time of the sample.

Standard 10-Panel Drug Screening

The results of what substances (if anything) the applicant tested positive for. The testing site may also be listed, as well as the date and time of the sample.

Unlimited1 7-Year County of Residency State Courthouse Civil Records Search

The court hearing the matter, an executive summary of the cause of action, whether the applicant was plaintiff or defendant, and (if available) the outcome of the matter. See out coverage map of available courthouses:

Unlimited1 7-Year County of Residency State Courthouse Criminal Records Search

Generally: Below an executive summary of the results and scope of the search will be the individual’s name on what (if any) record(s) were found, DOB, disposition of the matter, case number, court, file date, offense, sentence, and other information as may be provided by the court. See out coverage map of available courthouses:

(2) If you are considering our pre-built search options, you can simply review the samples here:

What is seen on the final report is a combination of results which are displayed on a completed report. The completed report will contain all the information of the several searches.

However, customized searches may return a different result.Call us for more details!

What does ‘Unlimited’ mean in terms of your services?

“Unlimited” means:

(1) In context of 7-Year Unlimited ‘Hit’ Verification at Local State Courthouses: that no matter the number of ‘hits’ (which are positively attributed to your applicant via an identification matrix) derived from a criminal records database, Hirelect will go to the appropriate county courthouse(s) (if they are available) for each of the aforesaid attributed ‘hits’, and shall search for the applicant’s given name (aliases are not searched).

(2) In context of Unlimited 7-Year County of Residency State Courthouse Criminal Records Search: that no matter the number of addresses (which are positively attributed to your applicant via an identification matrix) derived from an address history trace, Hirelect will go to the appropriate county courthouses(s) for each address and search for the applicant’s given name (aliases are not searched).

Note: The courts searched are not federal.

What does a ‘national criminal database’ do? What doesn’t it do?

Hirelect uses a nationwide conglomeration of each state’s available online public records. Some such records are proprietary assemblies of previously uploaded information from Hirelect’s data providers, while other records are directly obtained from various sources each time a search is ordered, including but not limited to state administrative offices of the courts (or even the circuit courts themselves), sex offender registries (“S.O.R.”), convicted kidnapper registries, records from the department of corrections (“D.O.C.”) and state-by-state watch lists of individuals convicted of fraud, or suspected of terrorism, etc.

However, the reality is that there are are problems with completeness and accuracy which materially affect the quality of many databases. This is a considerably important matter for employers in pre-and-post employment screening. In fact, both state and federal legislatures have addressed limitations on the uses of databases in hiring by promulgating laws requiring “completeness” and “accuracy” on the part of background screening companies (e.g., 15 U.S.C. 1681 et seq., and CA Civil Code Section 1782.28(b)).

Whenever Hirelect uses a database to search for court records, it always confirms that the data is as accurate and up-to-date as possible by physically retrieving (from the court which uploaded the information) the record(s) in question. In essence, this makes the national criminal database search into a ‘pointer’ system.

Therefore, “national,” as applied to a database, does not mean that every public record in the nation is available in the databases searched or that it will be searched. Rather, the scope of the search is not comprehensive and contains records from multiple states. Coverage may vary.

In terms of a short and practical guide, here is a brief description of the good and bad of databases as used in pre-and-post employment screening which is followed by a state-by-state list of the sources searched by state:

Pros of Databases:

1. A very ‘wide net’ is cast for a low cost because of the multiple jurisdictions included;

2. All alias variations of name are searched, creating an increased likelihood that the applicant may be found;

3. Many different sources of records (e.g., in a certain state both clerk of court for all jurisdictions plus S.O.R. and D.O.C. records) are checked.

Cons of Databases:

1. The data may be ‘stale’ (i.e., the data may contain dispositions that are incorrect, or a disproportionate amount of arrest records for the same individual which are, in fact, impermissible for employment purposes);

2. Individuals identified may not be the applicant due to human data-entry errors;

3. Many states fail to maintain adequate coverage to provide a reasonable search (that is, some databases may suffer from specific issues such as: (a) a backlog of records is not yet input (or are missing), (b) an entity which possesses necessary and relevant records does not participate in uploading information to the database, or (c) the database no longer is updated or is updated so sporadically as to render it nearly useless).

III : General (Non-Legal) Hiring Questions

What is ‘adverse action’ and why is it important?

‘Adverse action’ (and ‘adverse action procedure’, interchangeably) is a very important concept in pre-and-post employment background screening. The term is a colloquial given name borrowed from the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”, 15 U.S.C. § 1681b), and it essentially addresses the process of legally rejecting an applicant for employment or promotion purposes. It also carries legal ramifications federally and in various states and municipalities.

Adverse action is defined in two places in federal law, both of which serve different purposes1: the Equal Credit Opportunity Credit Act (“EOCA”) § 701(d)(6) and the FCRA. The latter is what we are concerned with in employment, and the same defines ‘adverse action’ in FCRA § 603(k)(1)(B)(ii) to mean:

(ii) A denial of employment or any other decision for employment purposes that adversely affects any current or prospective employee (emphasis added);

Simple enough; however, the FCRA requires that such adverse action should trigger the provision of notice by the employer of the intended ‘adverse action’ to be provided to the applicant. The applicant can then “dispute” inaccurate information.”

Thus, the law does two things: first, it mandates a shift in power in favor of (and the onus of correcting inaccuracy to) the consumer. Second, it now requires two steps be taken by the employer whenever adverse action is contemplated. FCRA § 604(b)(3)(A) states:

(A) In general. Except as provided in subparagraph (B), in using a consumer report [a pre-or-post background screening report] for employment purposes, before taking any adverse action based in whole or in part on the report, the person intending to take such adverse action shall provide to the consumer to whom the report relates †

(i) A copy of the report; and

(ii) A description in writing of the rights of the consumer under this title...(emphasis added)

The key word ‘before’ signals that the law operates to divide the hiring process in two parts, namely:

(1) When an employment background screening is ordered on an individual, and the would-be employer contemplates not hiring the individual (that is, “adverse action based whole or in part on the report” per the FCRA), the FCRA is triggered and an employer must send the appropriate items described in § 604(b)(3)(A). At this point, the applicant can “dispute” the information on the report (the implications and rules of which are discussed here).

(2)Once notice thereof is provided to the applicant, the employer must wait before it can decide to dismiss the employer by sending a ‘final’ adverse action notice and the materials described in § 615(a)(3) of the FCRA. Thus, the pre and final adverse action cannot legally occur simultaneously.

No longer may an employer merely read a background screening report and make a decision without further ado. For employers, the question then becomes how long to wait before the person is officially bid farewell? The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has issued guidance on this matter through various opinion letters, one which states that “[the purpose of the waiting period is to] allow consumers to discuss the reports with employers or otherwise respond before adverse action is taken”1. The FTC, when pressed for a more specific time frame, allowed that a proposed “five day period” seems to “appear[ ] reasonable,” provided, however, that “the facts of any particular employment situation may suggest a different time[.]”2

Barring a dispute by the applicant, whatever the time period your company’s legal counsel decide on (no less than 5 days), all that’s left to do is to issue a ‘final notice’ of adverse action, per FCRA § 615(a). This (like all paperwork involved with the initial disclosure and authorization, and the pre-adverse action notice) can also be done through Hirelect’s dashboard with only one click of a button.

To review: the first step in adverse action (sending or otherwise providing the applicant with a ‘pre-adverse action’ notice) will be triggered once the employer has reviewed the employment background screening report, and decided not to hire the applicant. Then, if the applicant doesn’t dispute the report, the employer may proceed with the second step (sending or otherwise providing the applicant with a ‘final adverse action’ notice).

(NOTE: This is not intended to be legal advice. Important exceptions may exist, and additionally, your specific circumstances are not considered in this article. Consult a labor lawyer on this (and all) point(s) with which you may have concerns.)

P.S. In the text of the FCRA you may have noticed that the definition of ‘adverse action’ contains the word ‘current.’ Thus, you may rightly assume that the FCRA rules about adverse action still apply in at least some measure to post-employment background screening investigations conducted on current employees. Two relevant differences from a first-time applicant bear on this type of investigation: first, it is a basic HR best-practice is to obtain an ‘evergreen’ permission from an applicant to continue to run background screenings on the individual throughout employment (to satisfy FCRA § 604(b)(2)); otherwise, another disclosure and authorization must be signed by the applicant and collected. Second, (as addressed in the 2003 amendment to the FCRA called the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (“FACTA”) § 604(y)(1)(B) and (y)(2)), if an investigative consumer report is ordered (which involves opinions rather than strictly facts) the source of an interview need not be specifically disclosed as an additional protection to employees who may testify during an internal company investigation of a current employee.

1Ammermann, Sarah. “Adverse Action Notice Requirements Under the ECOA and the FCRA.” Consumer Compliance Outlook. N.p., 2013. Web. Accessed 10/07/2016. Accessed 13 Sept. 2016.https://consumercomplianceoutlook.org/2013/second-quarter/adverse-action-notice-requirements-under-ecoa-fcra/#footnotes

2Haynes, William. “Advisory Opinion to Hawkey (12-18-97).” The United States Federal Trade Commission. N.p., 18 Dec. 1997. Web. Accessed 10/07/2016. https://www.ftc.gov/policy/advisory-opinions/advisory-opinion-hawkey-12-18-97

3Brinckerhoff, Clarke W. “Advisory Opinion to Weisberg (06-27-97).” The United States Federal Trade Commission. N.p., 27 Jun. 1997. Web. Accessed 10/07/2016. https://www.ftc.gov/policy/advisory-opinions/advisory-opinion-weisberg-06-27-97

I don’t speak legalese. What do certain things on my report mean?

In the world of pre-and-post employment screening, there are many terms which may baffle an ordinary businessperson. In keeping with the tenants of education and transparency, Hirelect works to ensure that all searches are returned to clients in plain English. This means that clients will not have to Google terms like ‘nolo contendre’ or ‘nolle prosequi’ which may appear on an unfiltered report, when a concise explanation can be provided.

Moreover, when dealing with applicants who reside in different states, keeping up with the differences in how two states describe the same type of crime or judicial procedural process can present a real cost in time to an employer. No employer can afford to have a quality applicant to slip away because of difficulty in deciphering a report.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, should a report come from a pinch-hitting vendor/court-runner, or you may desire more information, we have a glossary that you can use:

What do companies typically consider when hiring applicants?

Without question, the first and foremost consideration is the type of job. This is because the appropriate level of background screening can vary widely within a business; it would be insensible to screen both a member of the janitorial staff and a corporate accountant the same way. Therefore, before buying too much or too little in the way of background screening, most employers will have established (with legal counsel) the appropriate parameters for filling each position.

The primary method is identifying exposure. For instance, how often the position interacts with the public, or perhaps how much access the position has to sensitive company assets. Of course, if working in a protected industry, there really isn’t much deciding to do. Ultimately, the goal for any employer is to create a useful template that also will work as a defense against discrimination or negligent hiring claims.

Hirelect thanks Mr. Lester Rosen, attorney at law, for allowing us to reprint this matrix from his book The Safe Hiring Manual: The Complete Guide to Employment Screening Background Checks for Employers, Recruiters, and Jobseekers.

  1. Does the position have access to money or assets?
  2. Does the position carry significant authority or fiduciary responsibility?
  3. Does the position have access to members of the public or co-workers so that any propensity to violence would cause harm?
  4. Does the position require the worker to go into someone’s home?
  5. Does the position work with a vulnerable group such as children, the elderly, or people with disabilities?
  6. Would the position be difficult to replace in terms of recruitment, hiring and training?
  7. Would a falsification of skills, experience, or background put the fir at risk or lower the firm’s productivity?
  8. Would a bad hire expose the firm to litigation or financial claims from the applicant, co-workers, customers or the public?
  9. What degree of supervision is the worker under?
  10. Is the person full-time, part-time, seasonal, temporary or a volunteer?

Am I in a state or industry that requires E-verify?

Excellent question! While each industry is unique and laws are constantly changing, the best thing to do is to review a list of all states which require conformity with the E-Verify enabling act. We happen to have one below:

Streamline your on-boarding procedure and quicken your speed-to-hire by choosing Hirelect to be your orgnaization’s E-Verify agent. Call us today.

IV : Procedural Questions

I am the subject of a background check, and something is incorrect!

If you have received an email or physical notice that you are the subject of a Hirelect background check and you believe the information is incorrect, don’t panic! Please contact us by phone, email or through our website, here).

If you have already contacted us and given us all the necessary information, please give us some time (approximately 15-20 days) to research the information about which you are concerned. Once we have done that, we will re-issue a report with the corrected information (if any) both to you and to the company who engaged our services.

What documents are required to be given applicants?

In the world of pre-and-post employment background screening, there is a myriad of different documentary requirements incumbent on employers. The starting point is that of the “clear and conspicuous” disclosure and authorization requirement of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA” [15 U.S.C. § 1681b]). A best-practice disclosure and authorization form for your review or use is below:

However, under the federal law, in addition to the disclosure and authorization documents, during background screening there is up to four additional times when certain documents/notices are required in pre-employment background screening*:

Adverse Action

1. Event: The employer contemplates not hiring after the background check has been run; Documents: Employer sends ‘pre’ adverse action notice, and copy of report sent to applicant.

2. Event: The employer actually decides (after at least 5 days from (1)) not to hire the individual (and no dispute lodged by applicant);
Documents: Employer sends ‘final’ adverse action notice, and copy of report sent to applicant.

Dispute

3. Event: The applicant disputes the accuracy of the check (as received from employer during step (1));
Documents: N/A

4. Event: After the claims by the applicant have been researched (within 30 + or -5 days, per FCRA § 611), and
Documents: Employer sends corrected (if applicable) report or original report containing reason(s) for leaving report as is.

*Note: The aforesaid does not take any state or municipal laws into account, which may alter, amend or append the documents required.

The document matter is not an open-shut case because of the many states who have so-called ‘mini-FCRAs’ that add additional requirements over and above those prescribed in the federal law. Therefore, a precise documentation list is a factually-intensive matter that must consider the laws of where the person is going to work and where the employer is located. Sometimes multiple state rules apply. Hirelect can help you with that.

We provide a fully-stocked, user-friendly Applicant Tracking System that will develop customized authorization packets for your business that take all the necessary factors into account with the click of a button.

So, why wait? Call us today to schedule a demo and see why Hirelect is proven for the position of screening for your organization.

How does Hirelect perform verifications of education?

Please follow the link below to see our education verification process:

How does Hirelect perform verifications of employment?

Please follow the link below to see our education verification process:

How does Hirelect check the validity of a professional license?

Please follow the link below to see our education verification process:

V : Miscellaneous Questions

What are the chances I will get sued, anyway?

If it is reasonably easy to avoid getting sued in background screening, then why take the risk at all?

It’s a fair question, but the facts contradict this assumption. Consider that in the U.S. from January to June of 2016, there were on average 310 FCRA lawsuits a month; by June, that’s a total of 1,550.1 Further, a 2015 study indicates that there is a 19% chance that just such a lawsuit is successful2. Even those lawsuits which do not result in a judgement but become an out-of-court settlement were found by this study to average about $200,000 (with the average insurance deductible on these charges of $35,000.003).

These figures alone should answer the question; obviously, it isn’t that easy to simply “avoid” a lawsuit. The 1 in 5 odds alone tell us that it is not only within the realm of possibility, but inherently likely that an employer can and will be successfully sued for a business matter.

So how does this fit into pre-employment screening? Although there are a number of ways in which an employer can be sued, the data indicate that lawsuits for negligent hiring or retention are increasingly common. Right alongside with these types of legal claims can come the FCRA-violation claims. The logic is that because the FCRA deals with accuracy in background checks, logic dictates that how good could a background check be if a violent person was hired? This is what the plaintiff will try to prove, anyway.

Employers, then, must concentrate on establishing and maintaining safe and documented hiring practices. In concrete terms, this usually means utilizing a quality pre-and-post employment background screening firm to always screen applicants for employment. Doing so decreases the risk of lawsuits. On the other hand, should the employer order from a slipshod, ‘instant background check’ type of company which provides inferior and suspect data, the employer’s risk will increase. This is what the data show.

Story-time:

Consider, as an example, the case of an employer (ABC Motors) who wants to order a background check on an applicant named Mr. Hank Mess, who will make $35,000 per year in the auto industry. ABC has a choice once it decides to out-source the screening process; they can either use an ‘instant background check’ company found online (“Insta-Search”), or use a quality pre-and-post employment background screening firm. One primary difference is that in the former case, ABC will receive the raw database search results both unfiltered and untranslated; in the latter case, the quality employment background screening firm will confirm the legitimacy of the record before they remit it to the employer (in addition to clarifying and translating the various terms of art displayed thereon). Unfortunately, as the statistics above demonstrate, employers too often gamble on companies like Insta-Search, and it costs them. This is why:

Once ABC pays for an ‘instant background check’, a slew of unorganized pages detailing Mr. Mess’s background check are returned through the web service. The 15 + pages show what appears to be an arrest and charges for a controlled substance, and in addition, a DUI (which does not have any outcome listed). Most entries appear to be from two circuit courts in Fulton and Cobb counties (in GA), but there are numerous other records which cover the report. What is ABC to do?

The fact is that Georgia has a statewide repository of criminal records, which means that all the digital records from the various county courthouses are sent to one location (the “Georgia Bureau of Investigations”). This makes it easier for slipshod companies like Insta-Search to buy data and claim it is ‘nationwide.’ Further, the GA Bureau of Investigations has a generous (for a database) collection of approximately 70% of matched final dispositions † which means that it is reasonably complete4. That’s the good news.

The bad news for Insta-Search and ABC begins with the fact that Georgia is only one of about 28 which have a single repository5. And, many states do suffer from budgetary and manpower restraints, thus minimizing the upload of important disposition data (a critical factor to the usefulness of a database). Thus, a seller of database records in other, more populous states without statewide access would be limited to those courthouses which maintained an online database for them to search. Likewise, if the dispositions aren’t uploaded, then a statewide repository is nigh useless.

Next, Georgia has a “first-time offender law6.” In this hypothetical, if Mr. Mess’s DUI was a first-time offense (which would probably appear in the database record as “pending disposition” or “deferred adjudication”), then it could be argued that denial of employment by ABC for reason of that offense is illegal. This is because the law is intended to give a first-time offender a chance to ‘pay’ for their conduct through a diversion program and not be further penalized through a record. Thus, ABC’s use of the record for employment consideration would be improper (as would be Insta-Search’s provision of it!). It is true that unfortunately, databases are rarely (if ever) updated with information about the outcome of a pre/post-trial diversion program.

Finally, if this wasn’t Mr. Mess’s first DUI, whether or not a diversion program was offered is still material to ABC. If, for instance, this was Mr. Mess’s third DUI, and he was offered and took advantage of such a program, then ABC must be sure that the federal limit of 7 years applies to the record as of the date the diversion program was finished. However, as mentioned above, states often fail to update the repository records. So, neither ABC (who needs to know what to do), and Insta-Search (who doesn’t care) have any idea of what legally to do in the situation of Mr. Hank Mess.

Often, employers like ABC simply turn an applicant like Mr. Mess down. If, while standing in the unemployment line, Mr. Mess decides to visit a lawyer, then it is likely that both ABC and Insta-Search will be sued, resulting in another statistic; meanwhile, Mr. Mess will become a wealthy plaintiff.

If on the other hand, ABC used the services of the quality pre-and-post employment background screening firm, the same would have prevented any accuracy issues by confirming the legitimacy of all records through retrieval of the actual court records from the appropriate courthouse.

The moral is easy: just skip the risk! See why a quality pre-and-post employment background screening firm like Hirelect is for you. Call us today!

1“A Summer Reprieve†Debt Collection Litigation & CFPB Complaint Stats, May 2016.” Webrecon. N.p., 2014. Web. 13 Sept. 2016. http://webrecon.com/ a-summer-reprieve-debt-collection-litigation-cfpb-complaint-statistics-may-2016/

2“Employee Charge Trends across the United States.” The 2015 Guide to Employment Lawsuits. Hiscox.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2016. http://www.hiscox.com/shared-documents/The-2015-Hiscox-Guide-to-Employee-Lawsuits-Employee-charge-trends-across-the-United-States.pdf

4Hinton, et al. “Advice When Obtaining Criminal Records Yourself.” The Criminal Records Manual, 3rd Ed. Pg. 59. 2008. Facts on Demand Press. Print. Accessed 13 Sept. 2016.

6“FAQs † First Offender.” Georgia Justice Project. www.gjp.org. N.p., 2016. Web. Accessed 13 Sept. 2016. http://www.gjp.org/programs/criminal-records/faqs/faqs-first-offender/

Why do you verify hits at the county level anyway?

The simple answer is that by law, as a pre-and-post employment background screening firm, Hirelect is mandated to provide to clients records which conform to reasonable standards of accuracy and timeliness. As demonstrated in the foregoing FAQ question (and elsewhere throughout this site), database records by themselves do not conform to such standards. Note: While aliases linked to the address history are generally all searched at the database level (and may be reported to the employer), no alias hit found in the database will be reported to employer without a search at the county level by Hirelect (which carries additional fees).

Personally Identifiable Information (“PII”): What is it?

In a Memorandum from May of 20071, the federal Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) defines personally identifiable information as follows:

“Information which can be used to distinguish or trace an individuals’ identity, such as their name, social security number, biometric records, etc. alone, or when combined with other personal or identifying information which is linked or linkable to a specific individual, such as date and place of birth, mother’s maiden name, etc.”

In other words, the above information is considered sensitive, and accordingly, must be handled with care. In some cases, states have their own definitions of this term and the rules regarding how items which conform thereto should be processed. Much of the information collected by Hirelect when performing pre-and-post employment background screening falls into this category. Thus, infrastructure is critical: Hirelect takes adequate procedural steps to prevent theft, loss, and dissemination of information to parties who should not have it, including (where possible) truncating social security numbers and limited staff access to sensitive documents and/or copies of reports.

1Johnson III, Clay. “Safeguarding Against and Responding to the Breach of Personally Identifiable Information.” Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies. www.whitehouse.gov. 22 May 2007. Web. Accessed 13 Sept. 2016.https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/memoranda/fy2007/m07-16.pdf

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