What Is a Post-Hire Screening?

You probably already know that pre-employment background screenings protect your business by helping you make more informed hiring decisions. But screening an applicant’s background prior to hiring is only one of many steps your business can take to mitigate risk.

As an employer, you want to have the fullest possible picture of the people you employ—including knowledge of any red flags that may have come up since you first hired them. Post-hire background checks can help you verify that your employees continue to meet your business’s standards of professional conduct, both in and away from the workplace.

Here’s a quick guide to post-employment screenings and how your business can use them to mitigate risk while staying compliant with the law.

Why use post-hire screenings?

If your business already runs thorough background screenings on applicants before hiring, you may think you have reasonably complete knowledge of all of your employees’ backgrounds. But what your employees’ pre-hire screenings won’t tell you is who they’ve become—and what they’ve been doing—since you initially hired them.

Routine background checks can help to ensure that your employees have continued to meet the standards of professional conduct you set when you first hired them.

Suppose an employee has engaged in criminal conduct or started using illicit drugs since accepting their position. In that case, it could pose a threat to workplace safety and may even put you at risk of liability for negligent hiring. Post-employment background checks can screen for these issues and verify that your long-term employees have continued to conduct themselves professionally.

A post-employment screening may also be helpful in cases where an employee is receiving a promotion or moving to a new position at your company. A new job title or set of responsibilities will often require a more stringent set of qualifications, and a post-hire screening may be necessary to ensure your employee is fully qualified for their new position.

What do post-hire background checks screen for?

Post-employment background screenings can check for several issues, and the exact screenings required will depend on your industry and the nature of the position.

However, post-employment screenings can be a valuable way to check for all of the following:

  • Recent criminal convictions
  • Use of illicit drugs
  • Criminal sexual conduct
  • Professional certifications and licenses
  • Educational history
  • Employment experience
  • Traffic violations
  • Other potential red flags

Compliance requirements for post-hire screenings

Although regular post-employment background checks are an effective way to mitigate risk for your business, it’s vital to pursue them in compliance with all applicable laws. Otherwise, your business can open itself up to accusations of discrimination and other legal repercussions. To this end, companies should check their release forms for “evergreen” clauses, which permit screenings to be conducted at any time during employment.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), employers must obtain consent from employees before running background screenings. If the employee you’re planning to screen hasn’t already given you written consent to conduct post-employment screenings, you’ll need to obtain this consent before you run a background check. Your consent form must include clear disclosure about all background checks that will be run and give your employees clear information about how the results of these checks will be used.

The FCRA also requires that employees who are subject to post-employment screenings be provided with their background check results, along with a “Summary of Rights” that explains how the background check may be used and their options for accessing and correcting the results.

If a post-hire screening returns information that may affect an employee’s continued employment, there are additional requirements for notifying the employee before pursuing termination or any other punitive action.

Adverse action is any decision taken by your business that may impact an employees’ employment or job status. If a post-employment background check results in your business pursuing adverse action (i.e., firing or otherwise penalizing the employee as a result of issues surfaced by a screening), you must provide them with formal notification known as an adverse action notice.

Once you’ve sent a copy of an employee’s background check, along with your first adverse action notice—known as a pre-adverse action notice—your employee must be given a reasonable amount of time to correct or contest the background check findings. If your business still decides to terminate or otherwise alter their employment after this period has passed, you must then provide the employee with a final notice of adverse action.

Working with an experienced background screening company can help you to ensure that all background checks remain compliant with FCRA regulations.

Common post-hire background screenings

Although the exact screenings required will depend on your industry and the nature of the position, all of the following can be useful as part of a thorough post-employment screening program.

Criminal background checks

Screening for criminal activity is an important way to keep your employees, clients, and customers safe—and an employee with a clean criminal record upon hiring may have participated in illegal activity during their time at your company.

Criminal background searches—including county criminal searches, seven-year criminal history checks, and national criminal database searches—can help your company verify that your employee hasn’t had any criminal convictions since being hired.

Drug screenings

Use of illicit substances isn’t just illegal—in many industries, it can also present a significant safety risk. Routine drug tests can screen for employees who may be abusing drugs on the job—and violating your company’s substance use policies.

Professional license verification

Many industries have stringent requirements for licensing and certification, and in some cases, these licenses may expire over the course of an employee’s tenure. Regular professional license verification can protect your business by checking to ensure that all employees still hold the necessary licensure. Otherwise, your business could be placed at legal risk by employing an individual whose professional license has expired.

Education and employment verification

If you’re considering promoting an employee to a new position, there may be additional requirements for education or past employment experience that weren’t necessary for the employee’s original job. An experienced background screening company can verify the candidate’s education and employment history to ensure that they have all the qualifications needed for their new position.

Motor vehicle report

A motor vehicle report returns information on an employee’s driving history, including traffic violations and suspended or expired licenses. This type of background screening may be beneficial for employees who regularly drive as part of their job or are being moved to a new position requiring driving at work.

Need to screen current employees? We can help

The team at EagleScreen has the experience to ensure that background screenings are completed efficiently and in full compliance with the law.

We can help you find the best screening solution for your unique situation with a wide range of customizable packages. Whether your business needs to pursue pre-employment screenings, post-employment screenings, or corporate due diligence checks, our team can ensure a streamlined, communicative, and compliant screening process.

For more information, contact us.

The Ethics of Social Media Screening

When you’re looking to onboard a new hire, you need to be confident that they reflect your company’s values. Hiring a candidate with a history of unprofessional conduct, hateful speech, or online bullying could jeopardize your business’s reputation—or create an unsafe and toxic work environment for your other employees.

Social media screenings are an important step in the hiring process. By screening a job applicant’s publicly available social media profiles, a social media screening can verify that your candidate has no history of unsuitable online conduct.

However, it’s vital that your company conduct social media screenings in a legal and ethical manner. Your candidates have a right to their own privacy, and any background screenings you pursue will need to respect these rights.

The following is a quick guide to social media screenings—and how your business can legally and ethically use them to make informed hiring decisions.

What is a social media screening?

A social media screening is the process of reviewing a job applicant’s social media profiles as part of a larger pre-employment or corporate due diligence background check.

Typically, prospective employers are looking for instances of immoral or unprofessional online conduct, including hate speech, bullying, threats of violence, use of obscene language, and posts about illicit substance use.

Employers may also use social media screenings more broadly to help determine whether job candidates are a good fit for the company and its values. Reviewing a candidate’s presence on social media platforms can provide a useful peek into their values, aspirations, and previous work—all things that a candidate may not have been completely transparent about in their application or interview.

Are social media screenings legal?

When done correctly, social media screenings are perfectly legal.

However, it’s extremely important to make sure you pursue them in a way that’s compliant with U.S. privacy and hiring laws. Otherwise, your business could be liable for violating equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws and other consumer protections.

Many states now have laws preventing employers (or prospective employers) from asking for the user names and passwords of employee social media accounts. In addition, you’ll need to obtain consent from job applicants prior to conducting any third-party background check. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), this restriction applies even to publicly posted information, including an applicant’s online presence on social media sites.

If information found in a social media screening affects one of your hiring decisions, there are also additional requirements when reporting your decision to the candidate.

The FCRA requires that you provide job applicants with the results of their background check, along with a “Summary of Rights”—this allows the job candidate the opportunity to make a correction if there are mistakes in the background report (such as the wrong social media profile being reviewed) or to take action if they believe their rights have been violated during the hiring process.

Businesses that use social media background checks will also need to be careful not to violate equal employment opportunity laws. Under a number of state and federal laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, employers are forbidden from making hiring decisions on the basis of certain protected characteristics such as race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, and disability.

Since an applicant’s online social media presence is likely to contain at least some of this information, using a first-party social media screening—a screening conducted directly by hiring managers—can lead to possession of sensitive information and lead to accusations of hiring discrimination.

For this reason, it’s best to use a third-party screening company when conducting a social media screening. An experienced background screening company can check an applicant’s online profiles for objectionable content while redacting a candidate’s protected personal information.

Are social media screenings ethical?

Employers also need to consider a larger question: even if screenings are conducted in accordance with the law, are they an ethical way of assessing a potential employee?

This question is a bit harder to answer—but again, it mostly comes down to how you conduct your screenings and what you choose to do with the information obtained.

The key to ethical social media background checks is consent: applicants should know that you plan to conduct a screening, know what kind of information you’re screening for and how it may affect your hiring decision, and offer written consent to a social media screening.

As long as the candidate has agreed to the screening and fully understands what it entails, reviewing publicly available information on social media accounts is a perfectly ethical way to get to know a candidate and protect your business from bad hires.

That said, you should establish consistent social media screening standards before you begin to use social media checks as a part of your hiring process. If you aren’t applying clear, consistent standards when you assess a candidate’s online presence, you could expose your business to accusations of bias or discrimination.

Tips for ethical and compliant social media screenings

The following guidelines can help your business implement social media background checks in a legal and ethical manner—so you can protect your business without violating applicants’ right to privacy.

Use a third-party screening solution

As mentioned above, reviewing an applicant’s social media profiles yourself can expose you to legal repercussions. The laws governing background screenings can be complex, and an experienced background screening company will know how to conduct screenings while complying with relevant laws.

Using a third-party screening solution also helps to ensure consistency in screening methods and protects your business from accusations of discrimination or bias.

Obtain consent before pursuing a screening

It’s absolutely vital to obtain written consent from an applicant prior to conducting a social media screening. The applicant should also be informed as to what they’re being screened for and how the results of the screening will be used.

If the screening produces results that affect your hiring decision, you’ll need to provide your applicant with a copy of the screening results and give them the chance to correct any mistakes or clarify if the wrong accounts (such as accounts by a different person with the same name) have been reviewed.

Keep context in mind when considering results

It’s worth remembering that your potential hires have a right to their own private lives—and that their social media profiles may not always be the best reflection of who they are in the workplace.

Occasional posts that feature a candidate drinking on the weekend or a social media presence that’s mostly filled with personal hobbies don’t necessarily reflect badly on a candidate’s job performance or their ability to fulfill the requirements of the position.

Social media screenings can offer valuable insights into a potential hire—but you’ll want to use common sense in evaluating their social media presence and keep in mind that a person’s online social life isn’t always the best representation of their qualifications or work ethic.

Contact us for more information

If you have further questions about social media screenings or any other kind of pre-employment background check, contact us. With years of experience and a wide range of customizable screening solutions, EagleScreen can help your business mitigate risk and hire with confidence.

How Long Does Education Verification Take from Start to Finish?

When considering prospective hires, finding an applicant with the right educational background is key—but unfortunately, not all applicants are honest on their resumes.

Education verification serves as an important step in a comprehensive pre-employment background check, especially when hiring for positions that require a specialized educational background. Verifying an applicant’s educational history can also expose dishonest candidates who have lied about or exaggerated their accomplishments.

The following is a quick guide to education verification, how long you can expect the process to take, and what you can do to ensure the fastest possible results.

What is education verification?

It’s an unfortunate fact that many job candidates lie on their applications—and that an impressive list of degrees on a perfect CV may be partially, or even totally, fabricated. Education verification is a screening process that checks an applicant’s educational history by making contact with all of their previous educational institutions.

During employment verification, an experienced background screening company reaches out to an applicant’s previous schools, including high schools, colleges and universities, and other academic institutions to find out if the information provided by the applicant is accurate.

Information returned from these screenings includes:

  • Degrees earned
  • Area of study
  • Dates of attendance
    Graduation dates

Education verification also helps make sure that your applicant’s degrees are from legitimate, accredited institutions.

Why is education verification necessary?

There are a number of reasons why verifying an applicant’s educational history is helpful for employers.

When hiring for positions in certain industries, such as the legal or medical fields, there are often legal requirements that go along with credentials—and hiring a candidate with falsified degrees could put you at risk of liability for negligent hiring.

There are also applicants who may try to exaggerate their accomplishments by using fake degrees that they’ve purchased from “diploma mills.” These unscrupulous companies sell false credentials and degrees for a profit and have proliferated online in recent years.

Since a fake degree from a diploma mill won’t actually satisfy any of the educational requirements of the job, it’s important to spot these fake degrees during the hiring process.

Finally, education verification can establish that your candidate is honest, hardworking, and knowledgeable.

Regardless of the qualifications required for the job, your company wants to know that its hires have earned their qualifications, degrees, and accolades. When used alongside employment verification and professional license verification services, education verification helps to ensure that your candidate’s been fully honest about their previous experience.

How long does education verification take?

The amount of time an education verification takes varies depending on the methods used. Verifying an applicant’s educational background yourself by personally contacting each institution may take several weeks. However, screenings through a professional third-party screening company are usually significantly faster.

On average, you can expect education verifications to take about 72 hours when conducted by an experienced background screening company. This process can still be slowed by a number of issues, however.

Each of the following factors may have an effect on turnaround time.

Level of degree

On average, colleges and universities tend to have quicker responses to verification requests than high school or trade school programs. Verifying a GED also tends to take significantly longer than verifying other degrees, since it may involve contacting the Department of Education for the state in which the test was taken.

Academic scheduling

The realities of the academic schedule can also slow down education verification services. Most academic institutions take a number of seasonal breaks in addition to breaks for federal holidays, and academic offices may be closed or only partially staffed during periods when the school isn’t open. For example, requesting education verification while an institution is on fall break may result in a slower response time.

Date of graduation

If an applicant’s degree was received a long time ago, it may have an impact on how quickly their records can be located. Institutions may not have easily accessible, digitized copies of older records, and in some cases the institution may have closed since the applicant graduated.

Input errors and incomplete information

If the information provided to your background screening company is incomplete or contains accidental errors, it may cause additional delays in the verification process.

If the applicant has changed names since graduation, it’s also important to ensure that they provide the name they used while attending, as this is the name the institution will use to locate their files.

Tips for fast, compliant education background checks

The following steps can help ensure the fastest possible education verification process—and keep your business on the right side of federal regulations.

Work with a third-party screening company

Contacting institutions yourself with requests for information will almost always take significantly longer than letting an experienced third party handle verification. A professional screening company will have the resources and experience to conduct verification efficiently and compliantly.

Make sure information is accurate and complete

Inaccurate or incomplete information on a candidate can result in significant delays. You’ll want to encourage job candidates to make sure they’ve entered their information correctly and completely so that educational institutions can quickly locate their records.

Compliance is key

When pursuing any kind of pre-employment background check, it’s absolutely vital to stay in compliance with all federal and state regulations. Failure to do so could put you at risk of legal repercussions.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), all job applicants must be informed of their rights and provide written consent before you can pursue a background screening. There are also additional requirements for protecting the privacy and confidentiality of your applicants, as well as adverse action procedures for applicants who are turned down based on the results of a screening.

An experienced background screening company can help to ensure that all checks are pursued in full compliance with state and federal law.

Need fast, efficient screening solutions? We can help

The team at EagleScreen has the industry experience to complete education verification checks efficiently and compliantly. Our paperless system streamlines and speeds the verification process, minimizing delays and protecting your applicants’ privacy and personal information.

For more information on how we can help you with fast, effective screening solutions, contact us.

Background Check Requirements for Retail Stores

Background screenings are always an important step in safeguarding your business during the hiring process—but they can be especially important for retail businesses.

Whether they’re welcoming customers, helping them make purchases, or fielding customer service questions, retail employees serve as the face of your store. If you hire the wrong employee? You risk your reputation and can threaten your most important: your relationship with your customers.

Not screening your employees thoroughly can also pose a risk to your material resources: your inventory. As much as you want to trust your employees, internal theft is common. Running a thorough background screening is a good way to make sure your candidates are honest and trustworthy when they handle your business’s property.

How a professional background screening can help

When you take the steps to verify the information provided on a candidate’s application and screen for a history of criminal conduct, you can make sure your hires are honest, hardworking, and trustworth.

Given the startling prevalence of theft in retail stores, conducting professional background screenings through an experienced background screening company is becoming a business necessity rather than a business luxury.

The National Retail Federation reports that retail “shrink” (the total losses incurred due to theft and fraud) rose to record levels in 2019, while incidents involving employee theft also rose from the last few years. Thorough background checks can keep your inventory safe by helping you avoid prospective hires with a previous history of theft.

Criminal history checks and pre-employment drug testing can also help your business develop a safer, more welcoming environment for your customers and employees. Hiring a job applicant with a history of violent conduct or drug use potentially creates an unsafe environment in your store—and puts your business at risk of liability for negligent hiring.

Background screenings for retail stores

While the specific screenings you should conduct vary depending what position you’re hiring for, the following are a useful foundation for thorough pre-employment screenings for retail employees.

SSN Trace

A social security number (SSN) trace is a database search that tracks the history of an applicant’s social security number. SSN traces return a complete list of any previous names the applicant has used in addition to a complete record of all their previous addresses.

SSN traces are often used as a first step in background checks because they let screening companies rigorously search all counties where an applicant has previously lived. What’s more, if an applicant has changed their name or used a different name in the past, an SSN trace will also provide a more complete background check, since subsequent searches will include all of the candidate’s previous names.

Criminal history checks

Your business needs to know if a job candidate has a history of criminal conduct—especially if they have previous convictions for theft or violent behavior. Thankfully, there are criminal history checks that help you verify whether your candidate has a criminal record.

A current county criminal search returns information on felony and misdemeanor convictions in the county where your candidate currently lives. However, an experienced screening company can also run a more thorough 7-year criminal history check in all counties where your applicant has lived in the past, or a national criminal database search drawing from the most up-to-date U.S. court records.

These screenings return information including past offenses, charges filed, file dates, dispositions, and sentences, giving you a complete picture of any past criminal behavior that might affect your hiring decisions.

Pre-employment drug screenings

The employees you hire for retail positions will be responsible for representing your company to your customers—so it’s important to be sure that you can rely on them to be helpful, welcoming, and professional.

Employees who are under the influence of illicit drugs can undermine trust in your business and hurt your store’s reputation. A pre-employment drug screening can check for traces of cannabis, opiates, methamphetamine, and other drugs and ensure that your new hire isn’t hiding a habit of substance abuse.

National sex offender registry search

A national sex offender registry search is another good way to safeguard the health and safety of your customers and employees.

Hiring a candidate with a history of criminal sexual misconduct can create an unsafe environment for both their coworkers and your store’s patrons. A sex offender registry search draws from the most up-to-date and comprehensive national databases to ensure that your candidate isn’t a registered sex offender.

Employment and education verification

Listing past education and employment history is a common part of job applications—but dishonesty on job applications is also unfortunately common.

Make sure that your candidate isn’t lying about their education or falsifying their work history by conducting employment and education verification screening. This type of background check checks with educational institutions and previous employers to verify a candidate’s educational and work history.

This may be especially important if you’re hiring for management positions or if you’re looking for candidates with specialized experience or training.

Motor vehicle report

If you’re hiring for employees to drive as part of their work—for example, as part of retail delivery service—it’s important to make sure your applicant has a safe driving history. Running a motor vehicle report can verify this by searching for recent traffic law violations, suspended or expired licenses, or other vehicle-related crimes.

Hiring for retail? Trust EagleScreen

If you’re a business in the retail industry looking to effectively screen new hires, EagleScreen can help.

Our experienced team offers a full range of thorough, efficient, and legally compliant pre-employment screening solutions. Our customizable packages also make it easy to create an effective screening program that meets your professional needs—without the wasted time and unnecessary cost of screenings that aren’t relevant to the position.

To see how EagleScreen can help your business mitigate risk by hiring the right retail candidates, contact us today.

What Is Background Screening?

Before you employ a potential hire, merge with a new business, or accept a rental application for your property, you may want to consider a deep dive into the qualifications and history of your candidate.

While a background screening—also known as a background check—can’t confirm that an applicant is a good fit, it helps ensure that your candidate is reliable, honest, and dependable. Understanding the background of an applicant provides crucial insight into the character of your candidate before you agree to work with them or rent them property.

Why are background screenings important?

Whether for pre-employment purposes, corporate due diligence, or screening a new tenant, background screenings are the best way to learn about your candidate. But why are they so important?

With fabrications come liabilities

Employees or renters with fake degrees, bad credit, or a criminal history can expose you to serious risks.

Depending on your business, hiring an employee that’s not certified can jeopardize your business. Employing a teacher with a sex offender history could compromise the safety of your school and students.

When it comes to renting, a renter with a bad credit history could leave you waiting for their payment and may force you to resort to taking legal action against them.

Ensure your employees are the right fit

Scanning a candidate’s background helps you to learn more about your applicant’s character. By investigating your employee’s background and history, you can ensure that you’re hiring the right person for the job.

Keep your reputation squeaky clean

Aside from simply keeping your business running and protecting you from lawsuits, background checks ensure your reputation is protected.

Hiring decisions reflect your reputation as a company. If something unsavory is revealed about an employee, you may have to take responsibility, and this can harm the reputation of your company. Reviewing your applicant’s background before employing them diminishes the possibility of hiring a disreputable candidate.

Protect your team and tenants

The best work and home environments are safe ones. A background check will most likely reflect a candidate’s values and will protect your current team members and tenants by ensuring that your newest hire or resident will conduct themselves in a responsible and respectful manner.

So, what is included in a background check?

Most types of screenings will take under 24 hours—at EagleScreen, the average wait time is about 18 hours.

Depending on the type of background check we’re running for you, there are a variety of searches that can be relevant—or even absolutely necessary. These are the most common elements of a background screening.

Nationwide criminal history check

This type of search scans the entire country’s federal and county records for information about your candidate.

Criminal history checks thoroughly investigate potential criminal charges made by the federal district court. These crimes can include assault, theft, embezzlement, criminal road incidents, and fraud, amongst many others. These searches will be returned either “clear” or “not clear,” and positive searches will include the plaintiff, prosecutor, charge, filing, and court dates.

When criminal records are investigated, results with no match can take under 24 hours—at EagleScreen, they usually take about 18. If results are “not clear,” receiving the information will take a longer amount of time.

County civil court record search

County civil searches date back about seven years, and yield “clear” or “not clear” results. As with criminal records, these searches include a large variety of information about the case.

The main difference between civil and federal searches is the potential charges made against the client. These are made by a plaintiff, as opposed to a prosecutor. Often, these cases result in financial action, as opposed to incarceration. This can also include any traffic violations from driving records, which is very important when hiring a driver.

National sex offender registry search

Sex offender searches are extremely important, especially for pre-employment or rental screenings. These searches are nationwide and include names (including alternates), physical appearance, current and past addresses, date, and location of birth, as well as the offense and date of conviction.

Fortunately, these offenders are required by law to update their addresses whenever it changes. Information being submitted during a national sex offender search is always current.

Credit check

Credit checks are necessary to ensure you’re hiring a financially responsible candidate or renting property to someone who is able to pay for it. To run this type of check, we reach out to various credit reporting institutions to confirm the credit history of your applicant.

Nationwide bankruptcy search

Available through Public Access to Court Electronic Records (or PACER), bankruptcy records are indexed nightly and are available immediately when searched. These records show bankruptcies filed in the last ten years—if there are any.

Social Security trace

Like a bankruptcy search and credit check, having a social security number (SSN) checked allows you to see your applicant’s current and past places of residence, and where to investigate their records. SSN traces go back about ten years.

Social media screening

Social media screenings search a candidate’s activity on social media for red flags, such as:

  • Drug use
  • Violence
  • Racism
  • Bullying
  • Explicit content

Drug screening

Drug tests check for particular drugs and can vary in results based on the sample (blood, urine, hair, or saliva). These drugs often include:

  • Opiates
  • Phencyclidine
  • Cocaine
  • THC
  • Methamphetamines

License and education verification

Education and professional license screenings verify that your candidate can do their job correctly and safely and protect you from lawsuits or liabilities. We connect with educational or licensing facilities and confirm your candidate’s credentials.

Employment history verification

During these searches, we connect with former employers to verify that the information provided by the candidate is correct and to check references to ensure the candidate is honest and reliable.

Compliance is key

During a background check, investigatory compliance is mandatory—otherwise, you may face lawsuits and financial repercussions.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) allows candidates protective rights regarding the treatment and transfer of their information. Candidates must receive documents from you requesting permission for a background screening, and you must also provide them with the reason in writing if something in the screening causes their application to be rejected.

Get your best check with EagleScreen

Choosing the right background check service is incredibly important, and our team at EagleScreen will always give you the best and most efficient service for your screening.

Having accurate, verified information on a candidate of any kind will put you at ease—after you’ve confirmed that your candidate is a good fit, you’ll feel much more relaxed knowing that you’ve made a safe, informed decision. To learn more about background checks and which type is right for your business or rental property, contact us today.

What Is an SSN Trace and How Is One Conducted?

A social security number trace (or SSN trace) is an essential part of a thorough background screening. As you weigh a potential hire, you want to know that the information you have on your candidate is as complete—and as accurate—as possible. An SSN trace can help you gain a more complete picture before you move forward with the hiring process.

Because SSN traces provide a background check provider with more comprehensive information on a prospective employee’s previous addresses and past names, they’re frequently used as the first step in the background check process. The information provided by an SSN trace allows for more complete criminal record searches, helps to verify that the information provided by the candidate is accurate and complete, and ensures that all results of a background check correspond to the right person (and not, for example, another individual with the same name and birth date).

Here’s a quick guide to how SSN traces work as part of a comprehensive background check—and how they can help your company make more knowledgeable, confident hiring decisions.

What is an SSN trace?

Social security numbers are 9-digit numbers issued through the Social Security Administration to U.S. citizens and certain other residents. Although SSNs were initially designed to track and identify accounts within the Social Security program, they’ve since come to serve as a common means of identification in other contexts, such as the filing of federal income taxes.

Since each number is unique to a specific individual and issued through the federal government, SSNs are a particularly common and useful way to identify an individual.

When used as part of a background screening, an SSN trace is essentially a database search that tracks the history of a prospective employee’s social security number. Trace reports from completed SSN traces provide the date on which the number was assigned, the state in which it was originally issued, a list of any former names associated with the number, and a history of the current and former addresses used by the person associated with that SSN.

SSN traces also verify that the number provided by your applicant is valid and that it matches the name and date of birth they listed in their application.

How is an SSN trace conducted?

During an SSN trace, a background screening company will run a search of both private and public databases using the social security number and name provided by a job applicant. SSN traces draw on a number of different sources, but much of the information surfaced by an SSN trace comes from either credit bureaus or private, commercial databases.

Credit bureaus are particularly useful because they collect and compile information from credit card companies and banks. Any time an applicant applies for credit through these entities, information on the transaction will be collected by credit bureaus, along with what is known as “credit header information” (the part of the identifying information included in a credit report that isn’t restricted under the Fair Credit Reporting Act). Since credit header information includes the applicant’s current address, credit bureau records can be used to construct a more complete address history for your prospective hire.

SSN traces also draw on a number of other sources, including (but not limited to) commercial databases, change-of-address submissions through the U.S. postal service, online retail accounts, schools, and customer loyalty programs. All of this data is used to create the most complete possible picture of the applicant’s former addresses and any names they formerly used.

SSN traces and identity verification

While SSN traces are essential to any complete employee background check, there are also limits to what an SSN trace can accomplish on its own. For example, an SSN trace can verify that the number provided is a valid social security number and that the number matches the name and date of birth provided by your applicant—but it can’t verify that your applicant is the person the SSN belongs to.

If conflicting information is discovered during the trace (such as a conflict between the date of issuance for the SSN and the applicant’s date of birth), an experienced background screening company can pursue other methods of identity verification to ensure that the SSN provided does belong to your job applicant.

Uses of SSN traces

On their own, SSN traces are fairly limited in the amount and types of information they can provide. However, the information acquired through an SSN trace report is an essential first step in pursuing full and comprehensive pre-employment background screening.

Finding all previous names and addresses

Whether unintentionally or as a means of deception, it’s not uncommon for job applicants to provide an incomplete history of their former places of residence. In addition, many Americans change their name every year, and some applicants may fail to provide all of their previously used names.

Running an SSN trace helps to ensure that the background check process accounts for all counties where the applicant has previously lived and that subsequent searches account for all previous names the applicant may have used.

Criminal record searches

By providing a more complete picture of a prospective employee’s address history, as well as a list of all names they’ve used in the past, an SSN trace allows your background screening company to thoroughly search for past criminal convictions.

Knowing an applicant’s previous addresses allows for criminal background checks to be performed in every county the applicant has previously lived in. Likewise, having access to any other names the applicant has used allows for criminal record searches to catch results that may have been filed under a previous name.

Exposing potential fraud

While an SSN trace isn’t the same thing as identity verification, running an SSN trace can still expose certain kinds of fraudulent behavior on the part of an applicant. A completed trace report can expose the use of false social security numbers by flagging SSNs that are invalid (i.e, numbers that have never been issued), as well as SSNs that belonged to individuals who are deceased and SSNs that have been used by multiple individuals.

SSN traces can also expose conflicting information that an experienced background screening company can then investigate further through various methods of identity verification.

To learn more about SSN screenings, pre-employment background checks, and how they can assist you in making more informed hiring decisions, contact us.

The Corporate Screening Process

Before you acquire or invest in a company, appoint a new board member, hire a CEO, or make any major purchasing or investment decisions, it’s important to run a corporate due diligence screening. Working with the right company on corporate screenings mitigates risk by ensuring that you’re moving forward with knowledge—knowledge of who you’re appointing to key positions and knowledge of who you’re dealing with as you pursue investments, acquisitions, or mergers with other companies.

The following guide is a quick introduction to corporate due diligence and how a corporate screening can help your business make safer, more informed decisions. We know how much your business is worth to you—here’s how you can take the proper steps to safeguard its future.

What is corporate due diligence?

Put simply, corporate due diligence is a process of careful investigation undertaken by a company prior to engaging in major business transactions with another entity. Most commonly, the phrase applies to the investigative precautions taken by a business prior to an acquisition, investment, or merger.

When considering these kinds of major business decisions, it’s important to know exactly who and what you’re dealing with—and performing proper due diligence on a company you plan to acquire or invest in helps to ensure that you can make an informed, responsible decision.

Certain forms of corporate due diligence are also highly advisable when it comes time to hire high-level executives or appoint new board members. After all, members of the C-Suite will be responsible for representing your company to shareholders, the media, and the public. You’ll want to make sure that the leadership of your company is trustworthy, competent, and experienced before you allow them to make executive decisions for your business.

Corporate due diligence takes a number of forms, but one of the most important is running the proper corporate background screenings. An experienced background screening company can thoroughly investigate the history and qualifications of companies you plan to do business with and individuals you plan to appoint to executive positions—so you can rest easy knowing you’re making safe and informed decisions.

The corporate screening process

There are two vital reasons to conduct a thorough corporate due diligence screening: better, more informed business decisions and regulatory compliance.

Careful, targeted screenings can expose red flags by revealing a history of bankruptcy, criminal convictions, or bad business decisions. Depending on your specific industry, there may also be background screening requirements under the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), in addition to state and federal screening requirements.

An experienced corporate screening company can help you stay compliant with regulations—and informed in your business decisions—by running targeted database searches for criminal convictions, previous bankruptcies, civil suits, liens and judgments, licensing, education, and more. Taken together, these screenings give you a more complete picture of the company or individual you’re doing business with.

Types of corporate screening services

The specific background screening services your business needs may vary depending on your industry and situation. However, all of the following can serve as useful (and sometimes necessary) elements of a thorough corporate screening.

Nationwide bankruptcy searches

Previous bankruptcies are a major red flag and something you’ll want to know about any person or corporation you choose to do business with. A nationwide bankruptcy search will return information on any previous bankruptcies so you can be sure you aren’t hiring an executive (or acquiring a business) with a history of poor financial decision-making.

UCC lien and judgment searches

If any Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) judgments and liens have been filed against a business or individual, it may give insight into their financial history—and expose shaky finances or poor business decisions. A background screening company can search for UCC judgments and liens and return information including dates and amounts, which can offer another important window into a business or individual’s finances.

SEC and FINRA searches

As mentioned above, the SEC and FINRA may have additional screening and regulatory requirements, depending on your industry. An SEC/FINRA search looks for disciplinary actions taken in the past by the SEC or FINRA, as well as previous employment by firms that have been expelled from the securities industry. In addition, these searches will check for lawsuits, complaints, or arbitration filed by customers.

These searches can help to ensure that your business and hiring decisions are in compliance with SEC and FINRA regulations.

Criminal background searches

As a business, you don’t want to hire—or do business with—individuals with a history of criminal convictions, especially if these convictions involve financial crimes such as fraud or tax evasion. One of the best ways to check for a criminal background is by running criminal history searches.

Usually, this involves conducting searches of county criminal records in all counties an individual has resided in. A country criminal records search will expose any criminal convictions in those counties within the last seven years and return detailed information on past convictions, active warrants, and pending cases.

When pursuing corporate screenings for business purposes, it’s also common to include a federal district criminal search and nationwide criminal locator search. Federal district criminal searches will search through U.S. appellate and district court databases for convictions and pending cases of federal crimes. These searches are useful because they’ll uncover evidence of federal crimes including fraud, tax evasion, and embezzlement.

National criminal record locator searches provide a more thorough criminal history check by pulling data from county courts, statewide criminal databases, and national sex offender and correctional databases. These searches can find criminal convictions that a regular county records search might miss (for example, convictions in counties that an individual did not reside in).

County civil court record searches

Not all past examples of bad behavior will show up on a criminal history check. A county civil court record search will return information on any past civil cases involving an individual. This is especially important in a corporate screening because it may reveal previous disputes involving contracts, property, or finances, in addition to breaches of contract, foreclosures, and product liability suits.

Additional verifications

There are also a number of other screenings that may be advisable depending on the circumstances, particularly when hiring an executive. Education, employment, and professional license verification can check to make sure that a candidate is qualified by confirming that they have the educational and professional background they claim to have, as well as any required licensure.

Protect your business with EagleScreen

Proper corporate due diligence can be the difference between a bad business decision and a responsible, informed move for your company. It protects your business—and your peace of mind—by allowing you to proceed with acquisitions, investments, and C-suite hires from a place of knowledge and certainty.

At EagleScreen, we have the industry experience to complete thorough, dependable pre-employment and corporate screenings to help safeguard your business. Our customizable screening programs allow you to tailor your corporate screenings to your needs.

In addition, we pride ourselves on our commitment to security and compliance. Our paperless, secure platform ensures that candidates’ information remains confidential, in addition to speeding the process by increasing efficiency. And you can rest assured that all background checks through EagleScreen are run in total compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

For more information on how EagleScreen’s corporate screenings can help you protect your business, contact us.

Background Check Requirements for Pharmacy Technicians

Background checks are always an important step in the hiring process—but they can be especially vital when hiring a pharmacy technician. Pharmacies carry a legal obligation not to hire any technician with a history of drug-related felony convictions, and your business could be held liable if you hire without doing your due diligence. Depending on the state, there may even be laws explicitly requiring background checks for pharmacy technicians.

Thankfully, a thorough background check by an experienced background screening company can ensure your candidate isn’t hiding a history of criminal convictions. Background screenings can also verify that your candidate has the necessary professional licensing to serve as a pharmacy technician in your state and screen for other red flags, such as a fabricated employment history.

When your customers trust you with their health and wellbeing, it pays to make informed, careful hiring decisions. Here are a few of the ways a background check can help you hire with confidence—and protect your pharmacy from legal noncompliance.

Employment requirements for pharmacy technicians

There are a number of specific qualifications an applicant must have in order to be eligible for employment as a pharmacy technician. In many states, pharmacy technicians are required to hold a professional license in order to be legally employed.

While the specific licensing requirements vary depending on location, it’s important that your applicant has the necessary licensure to work as a pharmacy tech in your state. Employing an unlicensed technician could expose your pharmacy to legal liability—and hurt the professional reputation of your business.

In addition, federal law requires that all employees with access to controlled substances must have no previous felony convictions involving controlled substances. In addition, pharmacies may not hire any employee to a position with access to controlled substances if they’ve previously had an application for registration with the DEA denied or revoked “for cause”—meaning that the registration was denied, revoked, or surrendered in lieu of criminal charges due to the wrongful handling of a controlled substance.

Taken together, these requirements make a background screening almost mandatory for pharmacy technicians. Hiring a technician who lacks the proper licensure or who has a criminal history involving controlled substances could expose your pharmacy to charges of criminal negligence.

Background screenings for pharmacy techs

The exact nature of the background checks you choose to run on your applicants may vary depending on your particular needs and situation, but all of the following checks are useful (and, in some cases, necessary) when conducting a pre-employment background screening for a pharmacy tech position.

SSN trace

An SSN trace is a database search that tracks the history of an applicant’s social security number. SSN traces are a useful first step in any background check because they return a complete history of all of an applicant’s previous addresses, as well as any other names the applicant may have used in the past.

Using the information provided by an SSN trace, a background screening company can run more thorough checks in all counties where the applicant has resided.

Criminal background checks

Thoroughly screening an applicant for past criminal convictions is especially important for employees who will have access to controlled substances. Under federal law, it’s illegal to hire a pharmacy technician with a past felony conviction involving controlled substances, so it’s vitally important to ensure your candidate isn’t hiding a criminal history.

Using the results provided by an SSN trace, an experienced background screening company can conduct a search of criminal records in all counties where the applicant has resided. These searches will return relevant information on any past criminal convictions, including the nature of the offense (or offenses), charges filed, file numbers, file dates, depositions, and sentences.

A more thorough screening may also include a national criminal database search, which draws information from databases compiled from U.S. court records. These searches include files from county courts, statewide criminal databases, and national sex offender and correctional databases, and can help to catch past convictions in counties where your applicant was not a permanent resident.

Professional license verification

Many states require that pharmacy technicians hold a professional license—this licensing is typically applied for and obtained through particular states’ boards of pharmacy. A professional license verification can be especially useful when hiring a pharmacy technician because it ensures that your applicant isn’t lying about holding the necessary licensure.

During a professional license verification, your background screening company will contact the relevant board of pharmacy or other licensing agency to verify that your applicant holds the professional licensing required for the position.

Education verification

As part of a comprehensive background check, education verification helps to ensure that your applicant has the educational background they claim to have. During this process, a background screening company will verify that the applicant’s degrees are from legitimate, accredited institutions and that their dates of attendance, degrees earned, areas of study, and graduation dates match up with the information provided in their application.

Employment verification

Unfortunately, many job applicants aren’t entirely honest on their applications about their previous employment history, experience, and qualifications. Employment verification ensures that an applicant’s employment history matches up with their resume by confirming employment, employment dates, and positions held.

National sex offender registry search

As an employer, one of your responsibilities is to ensure a safe environment, both for your employees and for your customers. A national sex offender registry search consults the most up-to-date lists of registered sex offenders in the U.S. to verify that your applicant has no previous history of criminal sexual conduct.

Let us help you hire the right technician

A comprehensive pre-employment background screening can help your pharmacy mitigate risk by hiring a candidate who’s honest, qualified, licensed, and free of a criminal history.

EagleScreen has the experience to provide thorough, reliable, and legally compliant screening solutions—including complete criminal background checks, professional license verification, education and employment verification, and national sex offender registry searches. Our customizable packages also allow you to pursue the screening solutions you need for a particular candidate, without wasting time or expense on screenings you don’t want or need.

If you’d like to know more about how EagleScreen can help you screen your applicants for a pharmacy tech position, contact us today.

Types of Background Checks Used by Hospitals

When hiring for your healthcare organization, it’s crucial to perform a pre-employment background check for all staff members, from unit clerks to attending physicians. These screenings not only protect yourself and your healthcare facility but also protect your providers and—most importantly—your patients.

A comprehensive background check for a hospital includes numerous screening types to ensure that your candidate is a safe and appropriate choice. These routine screenings continually ensure that your healthcare center can focus on its main priority: providing quality, compassionate care.

Elements of a hospital background check

While pre-employment background checks can include a variety of screenings dependent on your industry, hospital background checks include a larger amount of verifications and screenings to protect patient safety and health, as well as safe-keep your facility from a number of lawsuits and liabilities.

While these screening types can vary, most hospitals include the following:

Nationwide criminal history check

Nationwide criminal record searches scan federal and county records throughout the country. These searches will return “clear” or “not clear”, complete with a detailed report of any records found, including (but not limited to) the relevant dates, case type, parties involved, and case resolution. These include county and federal charges in all parts of the country.

Criminal searches will thoroughly search whether or not criminal charges made by the federal district court exist. These crimes can include fraud, embezzlement, assault, theft, and others.

When investigating your potential hire’s criminal records, a search result with no match (or potential match) can take under 24 hours. If results are returned, they’ll need to be reviewed further and can take a longer period of time.

National sex offender registry search

Sex offenders are required to register when they change addresses and keep their information current and factual (it’s a federal crime to not update their information). This means that the information searched during a national sex offender registry search is always up-to-date.

Sex offender searches are extremely important to include in a hospital background check. This type of search pulls data from all 50 states and will include name (and/or alternate names), physical characteristics, date of birth, address (and past addresses), and the location and date of the conviction, as well as the type of offense (or offenses).

This type of screening usually is returned in 24 hours or less.

Sanctions and exclusions

Healthcare sanctions occur when a hearing takes place due to alleged violations of administrative rule, civil law, or a criminal offense. This can result in termination, license revocation, suspension, and more. Often, this is detrimental to an institution, particularly financially. Exclusions result from a provider giving unsafe or inadequate care to a patient or community and are enforced by Medicaid or the OIG (Office of the Inspector General).

A screening for either of these occurrences is crucial to the security of your hospital and the safety of your patients. Sanctions and exclusions records are updated monthly, and monthly screenings are recommended for the most current results. Searches should take less than 24 hours.

Drug screening

Pre-employment drug tests usually screen for particular drugs but can screen for other specific drugs if requested. The included drugs are typically:

  • Opiates (opium, codeine, morphine, heroin)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Cocaine (crack)
  • THC (marijuana, cannabinoids)
  • Methamphetamines (speed, ecstasy, meth)

These results can be returned rather quickly, and, depending on the sample (blood, urine, hair, or saliva), can detect drugs in the blood from five to 90 days after use. Results typically take 24-48 hours.

License and education verification

Education and license screenings are crucial to verify that your staff is able to perform their job correctly and safely, as well as ensure that your healthcare facility avoids any lawsuits or liabilities with an under-qualified practitioner.

During these screenings, we’ll connect with the educational institutions or licensing facilities and confirm the validity of their credentials. While the turnaround time varies based on the educational facilities’ own timelines, we expect to receive your results in two to three days.

Employment history verification

Similar to license and education, employment history verification includes contact with former employers to verify that the candidate being screened has indeed worked for them, and in a position and time frame that aligns with the candidate’s claims. Since records need to be confirmed as opposed to a quick phone call, turnaround time is usually two to three days, for reasons much like education verification.

Credit check

While not necessarily needed, credit checks can ensure you’re hiring a responsible candidate. To showcase due diligence, protect patients and other staff members, and reduce risk of liability, most hospitals do choose to run a credit check. We’ll reach out to credit reporting institutions and confirm your candidate’s history. This type of screening can be very quick, under 24 hours.

Remember, compliance is crucial

It’s important to remember that, during a background check, compliance must be closely followed when screening a potential candidate or current employee—otherwise, you may face heavy fines or lawsuits.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives those being screened protective rights regarding the treatment and transfer of their personal information. Candidates must be provided documents requesting background check permission, and must also be given a good reason if something in a hospital screening allows their application to be rejected.

How often should hospital employees be screened?

While each of these types of screenings varies in how often records are updated, keeping your staff regularly screened ensures patient security and safety. This can greatly depend on your institution, human resources department, and your number of employees, but regular screenings for providers are essential to confirm their eligibility.

Once your employee or applicant passes their screening, it becomes much easier to decide whether or not to hire a candidate. Having verification that your applicant is trustworthy and responsible will empower you to make the right choice about your applicant, and continued screenings over time help to ensure that your patients and institution are safe.

To learn more about why pre-employment screenings are important for your hospital, contact us today.

The Process of Social Media Screening

Social media isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and in the current day and age, it’s more popular (and personal) than ever. According to Statista, 4.2 billion users worldwide are on some form of social media, with 223 million in the US alone.

One of the largest impacts that social media has on our culture is its intentional lack of privacy. It’s never been easier to dive into someone’s personality through what they choose to share on the internet. Less-than-ideal tweets or Instagram posts by public figures and celebrities are often unearthed, leading to high-profile scandals.

It’s not just celebrities—inappropriate content posted by non-famous people somehow resurfaces and becomes sensationalized all the time, often leading to the companies these people work for making public apologies.

To protect yourself and your corporation’s reputation, adding a social media background check to your pre-employment screening or corporate due diligence is essential to ensure that your hiring managers are making the right hiring decisions and your candidate is a good fit for your organization.

Why is social media screening important?

As previously mentioned, social media background checks are necessary for a number of reasons. The screening process always involves seeking out and verifying information on a candidate, so adding social media screening to a background check is simply an addition to an already thorough investigation.

When used appropriately, a social media background check is an incredibly helpful tool to confirm that your candidate is the right fit for you and can protect your business in the following ways.

Hire better employees

A standard pre-employment background check does an excellent job of screening your potential hire during the hiring or interview process, but scanning a candidate’s social media platforms allows you to learn more about your hire’s character and how they conduct themselves in both professional and personal or social settings. Social media (especially LinkedIn) is often used for networking purposes, and a candidate with a good reputation and moral compass will keep their social media accounts tidy and professional.

Create a safe space for your team

Although 2020 and 2021 have created a new world of remote work and less in-office time, employers still owe their employees a safe, accepting, inclusive work environment. Hate speech in particular has been on the rise in social media over the last several years. While a criminal history report or a drug test won’t necessarily pinpoint the day-to-day values of a potential candidate, social media most likely will reflect their values.

Protect your current team members by ensuring that your newest hire or partnering business has the tact to maintain their professionalism and the character to keep your staff feeling safe and valued.

Protect your business

As social media has surged in popularity, so have inappropriate uses of social media feeds. Over the years, online bullying, hate speech, and public discrimination have had an increasingly noticable presence.

As a business, the hiring decisions you make also represent your business decisions to the public. If a candidate has a malicious or vulgar post go “viral” or a fellow client or partner recognizes them, you may take some heat for their actions. This can affect the reputation of your company and may even lead to financial repercussions and lawsuits against your company. By screening your candidate’s social accounts before you even hire them, you remove the risk of hiring someone who could ruin the reputation of your hard work, from bad press to major legal action.

What does social media screening look for?

Social media screenings during the hiring process will dive into a candidate’s posts and activity on social media and scan for red flags in their keywords and images. We know that your potential hire should be able to have a social life and is entitled to a social media presence—but we take extra measures to ensure their accounts are appropriate ambassadors to your company and brand values.

When scanning a candidate’s social media, most red flags fit into one or more of the following categories:

  • Illegal drug use or dangerous intoxication (ex. drunk driving)
  • Violence, threats of violence, or violent images
  • Hate speech, discrimination, and racism
  • Bullying and insults
  • Explicit content and obscene language

Staying compliant

When used appropriately, social media background screenings are perfectly legal and won’t require you to violate your candidate’s right to privacy—but legal compliance is key to performing a social media background check on a potential candidate. When we perform a background screening at EagleScreen, we always perform it in full compliance with the law, regardless of your selected type of background check.

This involves authorizations and disclosures to your candidate as required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Your potential hire’s protective right to their information requires explicit permission for social media screenings and any ongoing monitoring. Fair reasoning must also be provided to your potential hire if something on their social media is given the red flag and you choose not to hire them for that reason.

Discriminating against a potential candidate because of their sexual orientation, gender, race, or beliefs is against the law and should not be included as a part of a social media screening. In addition, it’s very important that the correct person’s accounts are reviewed, as common names can often have hundreds, if not thousands, of accounts under that name. Using accounts under a false identity to obtain access to a candidate’s private (or public) social media profile is also very non-compliant.

Is a social media background screening right for me?

With the current prevalence of social media, especially among younger generations, social media screenings are incredibly important to understand the character and ethos of your candidate. Your employees are an extension of your business, and you want to ensure that your job applicant’s social media activity proves they’re the right fit for you.

To find out how we can conduct social media screenings for your corporation, contact us today. We have the experience to conduct background screenings that are thorough, efficient, and compliant with the law.