By Doug Parker, Investigator, Parker Investigations
When a company begins the hiring process, they want the best person possible because that employee is the face of that company. When going through the process of hiring potential employees from a pool of candidates, one of the most important aspects of that process is a background check. Many companies, both large and small will utilize the services of an online background check company to determine if that candidate for hire goes on to the next phase of the hiring process.
This is possibly the most important information for an employer to have to determine if a person is eligible for hire. A company that deals with currency would not want an employee who has been charged with a theft case or any case that would involve credit card fraud. Other companies that may have young adults or children present will not want someone who has been charged with crimes against children.
Georgia has 159 counties. Each county sheriff’s department and police department within the state submits their arrest information to a state agency. The agency collects this information and has it available for law enforcement.
The information available to the public on anyone arrested in Georgia is adjudications of guilt or innocence only. This means that only after a case has been disposed of is that information available to the public. The information that the public is not entitled to, with some exceptions, are any pending cases.
Several major companies offer background check services on the Internet, but in my research I found that these companies are not accessing the state databases. Instead, they are merely accessing public county/city records. One company that I questioned is only accessing 13 of the 159 counties for any arrest records.
Another internet company informed me that they would run the person’s name to get previous addresses. They would then only check the county records where that person had lived. If a person only lived in two different locations, the company would provide only the arrest information for those two counties and none other.
So if a business is relying on this type of information, thinking that they are getting a complete record for the state of Georgia, they are not. They’re potentially missing critical information needed to make an informed decision.
Online background check companies offer “comprehensive arrest records,” contact information, liens, judgments and other information for a person. These companies charge monthly fees from $7 up to $50 to access their databases. Some of these companies offer unlimited searches for these amounts.
After I signed up with one company for a monthly fee of “unlimited access,” I ran a test search. After the report was ready for me to view, I then had to pay an additional charge for a “Premium Report” for criminal record information.
Time of Results
After logging into one of the online companies, some of the results are instant. These are only instant in the cases where the company is accessing public records that they have access to.
The companies that send an actual person to the county to check the records may have a report time of up to 7 to 10 days.
A False Sense of Security
Thinking that an online background check company is providing a “comprehensive nationwide background check” may lead the consumer into a false sense of security. Especially for Georgia when a company accesses only a handful of counties within the state, this is not even a comprehensive Georgia background check – and doesn’t include South Carolina, right across the state line.
Hire a Reliable Firm
A reliable firm will ensure your company is getting the best possible information on each potential employee. These reports will include not only adjudications of guilt or innocence but also any pending cases. If the person has no arrest information, the report should state that all state databases have been checked.
Doug Parker has 30 years of law enforcement training and has worked undercover, on dignitary protection and high profile background investigations. He is licenses in Georgia and South Carolina. Contact him at 706-955-8069 or through his website, www.parkerpci.com.