FAQs

Q?

What does a Background Check consist of?

A.

A valid Background Check means verifying the background history of a person. In the context of a normal civilian pre-employment screening, this usually refers to the completion of one or more of the following: An ID verification which includes the verification of their Social Security Number and their address; employment history, a Criminal Conviction History check, a Civil Litigation History check, a Driver’s License Record check, a Personal Credit History check, an Education Verification, a Professional License Verification, and usually, a Drug Test to detect the use of illegal drugs and/or the illegal use of controlled substances.

Q?

Is screening legal?

A.

The concept of screening has been a viable part of the business world since the inception of the industry. It has always been an accepted practice for a business to search the background of an applicant to insure that the most qualified and trustworthy person is being hired. However, this practice can be abused on both sides of the fence; but this abuse does not preclude the legality of the concept of background screening.

Q?

Does screening invade privacy?

A.

Background screening has to do with the public life of an individual as it is found in various public documents and places, not their private life. Also, there are very stringent laws and regulations both at the federal level and state that oversee the practice and industry of background screening. It is mandated that businesses obtain a waiver signed by the applicant prior to any screening being done. These help insure that matters of one’s personal history that are not job related remain private and in the possession of the applicant.

Q?

Is screening cost effective?

A.

The value and the quality of background screening has improved tremendously over the years. In determining cost effectiveness, the expense of having to replace employees that do not perform to expectations and the possibility of huge lawsuits brought about by unidentified criminal elements being hired must also be weighed against the far lesser cost of doing a background check.

Q?

What is the value of a county level criminal search when a statewide or national criminal search is available?

A.

County searches provide a narrow scope of search whereas statewide and national searches cast wider nets. The negative aspects to statewide searches is that the county courts may not regularly report case data to the state repositories; some statewide searches have long turnaround times, require high state fees and/or specific releases; and not every state has a statewide repository available to the public. National searches again cast a wide net, but do not cover every county in every state. When thinking about your due diligence, it is better to perform county searches where the applicant has revealed living, developed from a social security trace, and then supplemented by statewide and national criminal offender profile searches.

Q?

What is the value of a county level criminal search when a statewide or national criminal search is available?

A.

County searches provide a narrow scope of search whereas statewide and national searches cast wider nets. The negative aspects to statewide searches is that the county courts may not regularly report case data to the state repositories; some statewide searches have long turnaround times, require high state fees and/or specific releases; and not every state has a statewide repository available to the public. National searches again cast a wide net, but do not cover every county in every state. When thinking about your due diligence, it is better to perform county searches where the applicant has revealed living, developed from a social security trace, and then supplemented by statewide and national criminal offender profile searches.

Q?

Why do some searches take longer than the average 1 to 3 business day’s turnaround time?

A.

There are extenuating circumstances that can delay results of searches. Typically, court personnel or repository agencies determine these. A researcher may be able to easily determine whether an applicant is clear in a court by checking a public access index, but have to submit the search to a court clerk for processing if there is a possible record. It is up to each court and its clerks to determine how quickly the results are returned. Employers and educational institutions may also cause delays due to short staffing, poor record keeping, vacations, summer breaks, etc.

Q?

Does screening discourage good applicants?

A.

Screening should encourage those who have nothing to hide and are more than willing to share with a perspective employer their accomplishments. It encourages good applicants in that it eliminates competition from the dishonest, the seedy and the criminals who may also have filled out an application. It also tells the good applicant that the company is very concerned in hiring the best that it can.

Q?

Does screening delay hiring?

A.

With the technology that is available today, the period for completing most reports is generally no longer than 72 hours. Delays, however, can occasionally occur due to unforeseen circumstances such as court records not being readily available, court mandated lead times, calls not returned, and the alike. Forms should be used that inform the applicant that their offer of employment is with the understanding that if the background check shows a valid negative reason against the applicant that the applicant can at that time be terminated.

Q?

Does safe hiring have to be outsourced to be effective?

A.

With the concept of DUE DILIGENCE, it is important that commercial companies seek and obtain the most thorough and best information available. With the advent of specialized background screening companies, often the case would literally have to create a separate division equal to these screening companies in order to obtain the same quality reports. Additionally, not all available reports may be accessible to a commercial company. Therefore, to perform DUE DILIGENCE in today’s competitive fast-paced business world it would be very cost effective to outsource this business requirement

Q?

Do we risk being sued by an applicant?

A.

Unfortunately, we are living in a very litigious time; people sue over almost anything for almost any reason. However, taking the proper precautions by using a reputable screening company and keeping and validating all pertinent data and records, is a strong deterrent to an employee attempting to bring a lawsuit against you.

Q?

Is a federal criminal search the same thing as a national criminal search?

A.

No, federal criminal searches are searches of the U.S. Federal District Courts and are searched by jurisdiction.  These searches provide results on suits filed by the federal government such as drug trafficking across state lines, gambling, kidnapping and bank robbery.  Federal crimes are also categorized as misdemeanors or felonies.

Q?

What are the extra fees that I have to pay?

A.

The background screening industry incurs access fees for some of the searches performed.  Examples of these are court fees, state driving record fees, automated verification fees, etc.  First Intelligence Group passes these fees directly to our clients as they occur.  First Intelligence Group has provided lists of these fees on this site if they are available in advance.  It is important to remember that in the overall scheme of background orders, the probability of incurring fees is actually quite low.

Q?

Can I order a workers’ comp search on someone at any time?

A.

Workers’ compensation reports are only to be ordered post-hire.  There are specific guidelines to be followed regarding the use of any information revealed by such a search. Please consult an attorney if you believe your company wishes to order these searches.

Q?

Will your background researchers check the AKA’s and aliases of a prospect’s name?

A.

Our researchers will search every name submitted for each jurisdiction.  Remember that searches are charged per name searched.  It is common to find records on an alternate name.  One way you can limit your cost is to have the applicant identify during what years each name has been used.  As an example, you would not run a woman’s maiden name if she has been married for thirty years.

Q?

Can your company service organizations with multiple locations?

A.

First Intelligence Group services clients nationally and is able to tailor your program to fit your organization through security level access to ordering, review of results, billing, etc.

Q?

What does adjudication withheld mean?

A.

Adjudication withheld is a form of conditional probation wherein the defendant usually enters a plea of guilty and the judge agrees NOT to enter it into the public records with certain conditions (i.e. that the defendant comply with probation, anger management classes, controlled substance rehabilitation programs, payment of fines, etc.) Thus, if an individual has adjudication withheld they are not “convicted” of the crime although they are still found to be guilty of the crime. Some states use this term in place of nolo prosequi, which means unwilling to prosecute.

Q?

We are required to do Level 1 and Level 2 screenings. Does First Intelligence Group provide both of these?

A.

First Intelligence Group can provide you with the statewide FDLE criminal report, which meets the Level 1 screening requirement (435.03) and part of the Level 2 screening requirement (435.04). Both the Level 1 and Level 2 screenings require a FDLE criminal check. For the Level 2 screening a fingerprint check as well as a federal criminal check through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is also required.

Q?

Will a background report predict someone’s future behavior?

A.

Performing a background check on a job applicant is not a guarantee of their future activity; however, when coupled with other assessment tools the background check can be a valuable tool in predicting future behavior. It is important to understand that an employment background screening report is intended to depict how a person has performed in the public aspect of their lives. What the reports will reveal is the demonstrated past behavior of the applicant, in the form of criminal convictions, civil litigations, and their driving record, personal character and/or how a person discharges their obligations and responsibilities.

The information ascertained from a background check enables an employer to make an informed decision. The act of performing an Employment Background Check is not an invasion of privacy, a sign of mistrust or an act of “the Government.” Background Screening is not only for the benefit of the company as a sound business practice, but also for the benefit of all employees. It is no reflection on an applicant.

Engaging in a background screening program demonstrates a high level of due diligence which provides an employer with a great deal of legal protection.

Q?

Can anyone use your service and receive confidential information?

A.

No.  Only bona fide businesses who intend to use this information strictly for employment purposes, and Landlords who need to screen potential tenants are allowed to use our services.

Q?

What Does It Cost?

A.

A background screening by First Intelligence Group is typically less than the cost of a new employee on just the first day of employment.  An employer has a great deal of flexibility on its employment screening packages.   The cost is minor compared to the damages a bad hire can cause.

In addition, First Intelligence Group offers Complete, Accurate and Compliant Background Checks.  Employers should not be confused by firms that appear to offer screening but take dangerous short-cuts that leave employers exposed.

Services at a minimum include:

  • Set-up of the entire program by First Intelligence Group.
  • Instant On-line access providing information 24/7 with the click of a mouse.
  • Easy to read reports with results highlighted and summarized for easy reference.
  • All legally required or post-notification to applicant in case of an adverse decision.
  • Complimentary training, support, and consultation
  • Full legal compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a Federal law.
  • Full seven-year criminal county check for the maximum protection.

NOTES FOR SPECIAL SITUATIONS AND GOVERNMENTAL FEES:

  • Prices for court record searches do not include any special access fees charged by some courts. A special disbursement fee is charged by all 50 states for motor vehicle records.
  • Prices do not include fees charged by some employers, schools, institutions, data services (such as the “Work Number for Everyone”), or governmental agencies.  Governmental third party fees for court records or motor vehicle records are passed along at the exact cost imposed by the governmental unit.

For an applicant with a previous name or name change, a separate search fee will apply for each county, state, or database search, as required.