Conducting background checks is commonplace when it comes to the hiring process or screening tenants and volunteers. But not all background checks are the same. The phrase covers several aspects of background screening and verification. Here’s how to distinguish one type from another:

Background Check

When people say background check they’re generally referring to basic information about a person’s past such as anything available in public records. This includes past addresses, criminal offenses, and personal identification like date of birth and SSN. But there’s a difference between background checks and verifications.

Verifications could mean employment verification or education verification whereas the term background check covers a broader spectrum. Depending on the requested information for a candidate, a background check could include verifications, such as highest academic degree or certification and past employers. The information included in a background check will depend on whether it’s relevant to the request. For example, an employment background check could include:

  • Criminal record checks
  • Driving record checks
  • Drug testing
  • Employment history verification
  • Reference checks

These record checks and verifications will differ for tenant screening and volunteer background checks where certain information becomes more relevant than others.

Investigative Background Check

An investigative background check is more intensive than a basic screening. Instead of checking information in databases, this type of verification could include interviews with neighbors, co-workers, family, and friends. They uncover the candidate’s personal character and reputation in addition to finding and analyzing his or her public records. These reports usually don’t include credit history because the FCRA distinguishes reports on personal character from credit reports.

Credit Check

A consumer credit report will include a candidate’s debt levels and repayment history. This information already exists for most individuals and is maintained by credit bureaus. According to federal law, anyone can request this information about themselves once a year. A consumer credit report is relevant for people who want to buy a house or take out a significant loan.

In order to get the best results if you’re conducting a background check on a candidate, you need to know what you’re looking for and what information is relevant. If you have any questions regarding background checks and verifications, feel free to contact us!