ADP background check

How thorough is the ADP background check?

How thorough is the ADP background check? ADP (standing for Automatic Data Processing) is a company that works with software and services concerning human resources management. Using their software allows companies to make informed choices about how they employ and how to evaluate the risks of taking on new staff.

As ADP has a wealth of experience in the field, you can rely on a variety of different background check processes and products for vetting your prospective employees. Checking them for a nefarious history or simply if they are lying to you will help you build up your confidence in your recruitment process and gain the best employees possible.

If you want to carry out an ADP background check on a prospective employee or need to have a background check carried out on you, read this article to find out what to expect. Remember that there are a variety of ADP packages and only the most basic one is described below.

Why use the ADP background check?

ADP background check

Background checks are important for finding out if employees have criminal backgrounds, especially if they have not come forward with this information during the recruitment process.

Although it is possible for people to change their ways during the course of their life, sometimes there are strict and legally binding regulations which mean that certain people cannot be employed in certain fields.

For a current example, hiring someone to work in a Coronavirus testing lab would need to get a check which would tell the employer about any possible terrorist connections. Failing to account for dangerous connections to an employee in this field could lead to the virus being stolen and leaked into the public or manipulation of test results to encourage the spread.

Now, that is an extreme example. But that is a possible reason to use ADP background checks – for finding misdemeanors, felony charges, and other questionable behavior that an applicant would not divulge in an interview or application form.

What is in an ADP background check?

Much like any other background check, there are a number of parts to an ADP background check. These include a history of work background check, a criminal record background check, and a credit record background check. Depending on the software and package that was purchased by the interviewer or the interviewer’s employer, there may be extra steps included.

What is the history of the work background check?

As with any job, gaining references is important to show that you have the correct skills and the appropriate experience to take on the work that you have applied for. This is also done to check the honesty of the applicant – the old adage goes that everyone lies on their resume, but with the growth of verification technology, this is a terrible idea.

Along with references (preferably from recent jobs), you will have to provide an accurate and up to date record of the jobs that you have worked since leaving education. This must also include an explanation for any gaps that are in your employment history (including self-employment and legitimate reasons for not working such as illness or caring for relatives).

It is important not to lie here – your employment history is generally a formality in a background check, just making sure that you are who you say you are. Having good references (which could be contacted without a background check) and showing that you are competent in the position is usually enough for showing that you are capable of the job.

If you lie at this point, then you stand to put your application in jeopardy from the very start. If you are a felon and have lied to conceal your criminal background and a prison stay, then you risk committing fraud and facing up to three additional years behind bars. Probably best just to be honest.

What is a criminal record background check?

criminal background checks

As the name suggests, this check is concerned with your criminal record and everything that is on it. If you have a clean criminal record, this is little more than a formality. You should pass this with ease straight away. However, it is possible that you may have a short delay if you have a very common name or one which is similar to someone with an extensive criminal background (a common name can cause issues as it is difficult to find you at all, let alone your specific criminal record).

If you have a criminal record, however, it will show up on the background check and the prospective employer will be able to see the number of crimes, the number of arrests, the types of convictions, and the length of any prison stays.

If you have lied at any point on your application or in an in-person interview, this will be found out. If you have committed a minor crime, you probably would still be considered for the job if you were honest (depending on the field).

However, if you have committed a serious crime and have lied about this, you could face a prison sentence for fraud. Do not lie about your criminal background. There are systems to check it. You will be found out.

What is a credit record background check?

Although it might not be immediately obvious to some, credit record checks are very important in certain fields. If you want to work in finance or law, your credit record will show if you have struggled with money or if you have unexplained income.

Struggling with money could lead to corruption, especially when one has access to money or has access to people who might want to pay money for illegal gain. A police officer cannot have a poor financial track record as it opens the door to someone paying them to turn a blind eye to criminal activity, for example.

Gaining written permission

After the individual understands that a background check must be carried out on them, it is essential to get written permission from the candidate. Running a background check against an unwilling individual is a criminal offense.

If you are interviewing for a new employee, gaining their written permission (usually with a signature of acknowledgment on an application form or pre-contract) is of utmost importance. We live in the age of GDPR and data protection. Making sure that you do not invoke a search into someone’s data is important!

If you suspect that someone has run a background check on you without due permission, you should contact expert legal help to investigate whether you have had your data unfairly scrutinized.

Developing proper processes for background checks

Developing proper processes for background checks

As background checks are business processes, you need to make sure they are fair and do not discriminate against any protected class of individuals. If a company is found to be running background checks exclusively on one class of people, even if only in error, they can expect a full investigation into their practices.

Ensuring that you have a robust and fair background check policy that is triggered by the same sequence of events and leads to the same processes is essential. If you can do this and show explicitly that you do not discriminate in this process, you can use ADP background checks properly.

Checking the information that you receive

As ADP has a wide range of different services available for background checks and can be used in a variety of settings, taking the data from the ADP database and checking it again is important.

Remember that sometimes mistakes do happen, however, and that looking to compare your results and findings with government data will also help in improving the reliability of your background check and give you full and trustworthy results for onboarding staff.

If you are receiving an ADP background check or have had one carried out against you, you can challenge the findings if you think they are unfair or you have been attributed the wrong crimes (a distinct possibility if you have a common name or share one with a famous criminal!)

Searching for legal representation may be the ideal solution to unfair or misattributed information, so finding a local lawyer or solicitor who specializes in this field will be of great importance. As ADP is a business with a long track record, however, this is unlikely.


The ADP background check is an excellent private background check service that draws on 30 years of experience in dealing with big data and using it to serve the needs of their clients. There is not just one service package available, but many that can help you to find the correct and proper search for your company.

As with all background checks, a number of factors will be considered including the big three: work history, including references; criminal record, including arrests, nature of crimes, and time served in jail; and credit rating, checking for unexplained earnings. Using the ADP check will give your company the edge in that you can add a variety of checks that draw on local, state, and national data to bring you the answers you need.

1 thought on “How thorough is the ADP background check?”

  1. Hello,
    My name is Carolin Hollman. A backround check was submitted months ago in my name for employment. Nothing has been done yet! I need answers as to where it is and why nothing has been sent to my employer! Email address is listed below.

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