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Record Checks: What You Need to Know

Record Checks: What You Need to Know


Background Check articleRecord Checks: What You Need to KnowBackground Check article

By Derron McDuffee, Via Integrity


VIA Intergrity article Most people think if someone has passed a criminal background record check then they will make a good employee. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, criminal record checks give us a false sense of security. Be assured that there are people who have “clean” criminal records even though they have prior arrests and convictions. Over the next couple of DEMA Newsletters, we will discuss the shortcomings of electronic background checks when hiring talent and what employers must do to ensure they place an employee within a home that possesses the highest degree of character and integrity.


The electronic background checks that employers order from third party background check services are regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FRCA). The FCRA rules can be confusing and potentially expose the employer to litigation if not applied correctly. Rather than discuss FCRA rules, it is more prudent to explore what you are getting, or NOT getting, when you order a background check for a perspective applicant.


Electronic background checks are simply not adequate in accessing a person’s true character for numerous reasons; here are just two great examples. First, there is inconsistent reporting by jurisdictions when an individual is arrested. There is no law that requires jurisdictions to upload arrest and conviction information into a database that is accessible to those requesting background checks. In fact, several states choose NOT to upload this information all together. Furthermore, there is no requirement for jurisdictions to report timely information. Some jurisdictions consistently report, but there are some jurisdictions that report arrest/conviction data that lags up to 1 year. Record search loopholes also exist when people have spent time abroad. A national record search will never capture arrests in other countries. Our society has become very transient and people are living abroad more and more frequently.


Secondly, but most important, criminal record searches are only valuable if someone has been arrested or convicted of a crime. Statistically, people that engage in criminal behavior rarely get caught by police. These non-detected crimes will never show up on a criminal record search. Think about the childcare workers, politicians, teachers, and priests that have been arrested for unthinkable crimes. The media will often report that those individuals had “clean” criminal record checks prior to their arrest. This is a major problem. In subsequent DEMA Newsletters, we will provide you examples of undetected criminal behaviors that applicants shared with Via Integrity during our integrity interviews. The results will surprise you.


Employers must be knowledgeable of the FCRA rules and the shortcomings of record checks. Famed businessman Warren Buffet once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation, and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” How true! What Via Integrity has found is that most employers that rely on record checks do not know about the inherit problems and loopholes associated with them.


Interview in Progress articleNext month we will discuss how to supplement an electronic record search with a structured interview. Via Integrity will discuss how to ask questions that elicit information that will be most useful to an employer in making hiring decisions. How questions are asked will ultimately determine if the applicant will provide you truthful responses. Ensuing DEMA Newsletters will address the characteristics of verbal and physical deceptive behaviors during pre-employment interview responses and the results of our research demonstrating the value of Character and Integrity Interviews over relying solely on electronic background checks.

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Derron McDuffee

Co-founder and Chief Integrity Officer 

Click Here to view full Biography 

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