As some of you may have seen, NBC’s Today Show did a report on the accuracy of employment background checks which aired on Friday, November 9th. The Rossen Report that aired alleged that applicants are often mistakenly reported as having a criminal history based on a match to the applicant’s name and date of birth. While the report was primarily one-sided, it does address some important points in the background screening process and Accurate Background’s obligation to applicants to provide correct results. We want to take this opportunity to address some best practices surrounding the measures that our organization takes to ensure we provide compliant and accurate background screening results.
Quality Assurance is Key
The Rossen Report is correct in stating that applicants can be denied a job due to mistakes made in the background screening process. Not only is Accurate Background required under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to confirm the accuracy of the information we provide, we understand the potential impact inaccurate information can have on an applicant’s ability to gain employment. For this reason, we employ rigorous quality assurance steps in our screening process.
Accurate Background’s error rate is less than .0005%.
The examples provided in the Rossen Report largely reflected national database search results. While national databases are a great way to cast a wider net and uncover criminal history in areas where a person hasn’t lived or worked, they are flawed. National databases including the FBI’s NCIC and III database are compiled using information provided by the reporting jurisdictions (ex. courts and arrest records). It is up to each reporting jurisdiction to update those databases with current information. Some may update it daily while others only update it monthly or yearly. For this reason and to comply with the FCRA, we confirm all nationwide database results as accurate and up-to-date with the reporting jurisdiction and we only report those finding to employers that are confirmed as accurate.
Even with great processes, errors can occur and the FCRA accounts for that. Accurate Background’s dispute process is critical, not only from a compliance standpoint but from a human perspective. The Rossen Report is correct in showing how a background check can impact an individual’s life.
As a Consumer Reporting Agency, we are required under the FCRA to re-investigate and resolve any disputed information by the applicant. We take this requirement very seriously and any inquiry by an applicant is handled with the utmost urgency and care. Accurate Background provides several methods for applicants to initiate a dispute starting with our website which includes instructions for the applicant. Once a dispute is initiated, both the employer and the applicant are notified regarding the details of the actual content being challenged. Once all details of the dispute have been received, Accurate Background makes every effort to resolve the issue and confirm the information as quickly as possible. Whether it is contacting the courts directly, using researchers, or verifying employment and/or education information, all avenues are taken to get accurate information in the shortest amount of time. The entire dispute process is monitored closely using our technology and each step in the process is electronically documented and stored for future reference. Using our custom tracking technology, we are able to reduce the dispute resolution time by 39% and still meet all of the federal requirements. After the dispute has been finalized both the employer and the applicant are notified of the outcome.
Accurate Background’s average time to resolve an applicant dispute is 7.4 days.
Background screening remains a critical tool to ensure safety in our homes and workplaces and avoid the risk of negligence in the hiring process. Equally critical is that the process is done right from the beginning.