In the Trenches: The Complexity of Background Checks

BrettSnyder by Brett Snyder on June 26, 2013
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I thought the hard part of hiring a new employee would be finding the right person. After all, now that I have a couple of full-timers on staff, I have a better sense of the kind of help I need. After an earnest search, I found a great match for the company and was ready to go. But I’ve hit a snag.

The new employee will handle sensitive client data, so I want to do a background check before I bring him on board. I haven’t ever done one before, and it turns out that background checks are a lot more complex than I thought . . .

First of all, I have to decide what kind of check to do. There are credit checks, criminal checks, drug tests, and more. Apparently, there are rules about the types of checks you may do for each new hire, depending upon the role he or she will play in the company. After barely scratching the surface on the topic, I decided that it was probably in my best interest to have a third party — a company that specializes in knowing how to handle this kind of thing — do the check for me.

The first place I turned was my payroll processor. It partners with a background check provider, so I thought outsourcing the job would be simple. I was wrong. The company wanted to charge me a service fee that would get tacked on to each payroll, giving me the right to request up to 30 or 60 annual background checks. That is completely useless for a small business like mine, which will need maybe one or two a year. I’m not paying that kind of premium!

So, I consulted the internet to try to find a one-off solution. The providers I found that seemed reputable don’t make getting information about them easy. I’d have to inquire and have a sales rep call me, blah blah blah. It’s frustrating not to be able to get some simple answers and find an affordable solution.

Do you have any ideas for me? What’s the best way for a small business to vet new hires?

BrettSnyder

Brett Snyder is President and Chief Airline Dork of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. Snyder previously worked for several airlines, including America West and United, before leaving to create a travel search site for PriceGrabber.com. Snyder did his undergrad at George Washington and earned his MBA from Stanford.

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