What is a Professional Background Check?

Employment Background Check Companies

Background checks are crucial to the process of employment. They help the employer get a more detailed and accurate picture of their chosen candidate.

It might be tempting to conduct the check in-house since the data is publicly available, but we would recommend hiring one of the many companies that provide pre-employment background checks to help ease this task.

There are numerous reasons why hiring a pre-employment background checking service is a great idea, and in this article, we will be going through the reasons, and also shortlisting the best employment background check companies that provide background checking.

What is a Professional Background Check?

Employment Background Check Companies

Before an employer hires someone, they usually screen the employee’s credentials and history. This is known as a professional background check. Employers have background checks performed to determine if the candidate they are looking to hire has the necessary qualifications, and verify the information the candidate has provided.

The National Association of Background Screeners (NABS) has looked into the reasons why employers conduct these checks and have determined that the main reasons are for safety, to verify the candidate’s qualifications, to improve productivity, and finally, to comply with State/Federal laws.

A background check can reveal a lot of information about the candidate – their identity, whether they have a criminal record, their education/work history/certifications, and their credit history.

What Is An Employee Background Checking Service?

Employers who want to conduct a background check typically use an employment background check service. It is a service, mostly web-based, that checks a wide variety of public databases to gather information about the candidate.

Since the data they provide is available publicly, the major advantages of using such a service are the convenience or the ease of access. Most importantly, they are more meticulous about providing accurate information that complies with state and federal laws.

The Employment Background Check Companies & Service

  • GoodHire


GoodHire is a reputed company that provides pre-employment screening services to a number of businesses and industries. They specialize in a few industries, including construction, healthcare, technology, and retail. They ensure that their background checks comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Here’s more about the three screening packages GoodHire offers: Basic plan costs $29.99 per check; Standard plan costs $54.99 per check; Premium plan costs $79.99 per check. First-time users will also need to pay a one-time setup fee of $49.99.

Pros –

  • The web portal is easy to use and accessible.
  • Variety of packages available, and also allows customizable background checks.
  • Pricing is competitive.
  • The turnaround time is fairly fast.

Cons –

  • Does not have support for languages other than English.

  • Checkr


Checkr is a startup that was founded in 2014. It uses AI technology to create background checks that are automatically generated. Even though they use the data sources that other companies use as well, their use of AI means that they can generate reports at a much faster rate.

It is an affordable service, where a standard background check costs $21, a pro background check costs $29 and an employment Pro costs $47.

Pros –

  • Fast turnaround.
  • Available in multiple languages.
  • Easy to use interface.

Cons –

  • No fingerprinting offered for FBI verifications.

  • Intellicorp


IntelliCorp is a background screening service provider that is accredited by the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA). They offer reports that are comprehensive and comply with the laws of the state. IntelliCorp has not made its pricing information public.

Pros –

  • Been in the industry for over 20 years.
  • FCRA certified professionals make up their staff.
  • Offer extensive training and education programs that seek to maximize the value for clients.
  • The interface is easy to understand and use.

Cons –

  • Not multilingual.
  • Does not allow self-checks.

  • Accio Data

Accio Data

Founded in 2006, Accio Data sought to focus on firms that provide pre-employment screening. Using the knowledge of experts in software products and employment screening, it has created the very first open framework platform in the industry. Through XML, it allows unlimited data exchange.

Pros –

  • Good choice of platform for Credit Rating Agencies as it allows CRA integration.
  • Uses open XML to provide an unlimited exchange.
  • Provides social media checks.

Cons –

  • Uninteresting user interface.
  • Limited resources.
  • Self-checks are not supported.
  • No support for languages other than English.

  • Sterling

Sterling, a pre-employment screening company, offers a variety of services to its clients. It has a self-service division called SterlingNow and a cloud-based proprietary platform called SterlingOne.

It is a convenient service for small to medium-sized industries that are looking for a reliable option to perform their background checks.

SterlingNow is a great option for those looking to conduct less than a hundred checks a year. It is a self-service platform, and it requires no setup fees.

It offers a variety of plans that are economically priced, and it also offers the option of paying per report. Their basic plan costs $29.95 per check, the Preferred plan is $59.95 per check and the Pro plan costs $79.95 per check.

SterlingOne, another offering by Sterling, aims to integrate orders and data into a unified template. It is usually recommended to HR in companies.

Pros –

  • Variety of services aimed at different clients.
  • SterlingNow allows self-checks.

Cons –

  • No support for multiple languages.

  • InfoMart


InfoMart has been in the business for over 30 years and has its presence in 200 countries. It serves a bunch of Fortune 500 companies, but it is also a great pre-employment screening service for startups and small businesses.

It is affordably priced and offers a lot of flexibility with its plans. Not only that, but it has several preset plans in place, and has the option to add additional features to a plan of your choosing.

Pros –

  • Easy to use online portal.
  • Transparent pricing.
  • Flexible offerings.
  • Offers drug testing.

Cons –

  • Can cause a delay in delivering reports.

  • AccurateNow


AccurateNow is a division of Accurate Background that is geared towards small and medium-sized businesses and start-ups. It is a great option for those with a tight budget since it offers the option to pay as you use the service. It has a setup fee of $25, but no other monthly charges or minimum requirements.

Pros –

  • Affordable plans.
  • Great software.
  • Offers social media search.

Cons –

  • Sometimes, emails and communications can be unclear.

Services Offered by Background Check Companies

Services Offered by Background Check Companies

Most background check companies offer a variety of services. Usually, they come in preset packages, but some companies allow you to customize what check you require. Some of the checks they offer are:

Identity, Social Security Number Trace, and Address – The identity of the candidate is an important thing to verify. With identity theft being on the rise, it is essential that an employer verifies the candidate is who they claim to be.

Background check companies will verify the identity of the candidate by going through their public records. This kind of investigation also traces the social security number to confirm their identity. Another aspect that is linked to the personal identity of the candidate is their address, and background checks will cover that as well.

Criminal Record, Civil Record, Sex Offender Registry Search, Domestic and Global Watchlist Search – A number of companies have regulations against hiring felons, and they use background check services to look to see if their candidate has a record.

There are many industries and businesses that will not hire someone if they have been convicted of crimes that include embezzlement, theft, violent crimes, and sex crimes. Most of the employers that check for a criminal record do so to ensure the safety of their workplace.

Verification of Employment, Education, Professional License, Military Employment, Workers’ Compensation History, and Professional Reference – Most employers will look into the education and work history of their candidate to ensure that they are qualified for the job they are being hired for.

Looking at work history may involve cross-checking the information provided by the candidate with the date available. It can also entail checking the professional references. Certain industries require that you have a professional license, and a background check can verify if you do have one.

Social Media Check – A person’s social media can be looked into during the background check process. Usually, background check companies don’t offer this as a service because using social media as a barometer for hiring may cause trouble with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Motor Vehicle Reports – Under the motor vehicle report, an employer can check for a number of things that are related to the candidate.

They may take a look at the candidate’s license and see if it is valid. Motor vehicle records tend to have information about the status of your license, its class, and expiration date. It also has records of any violations and arrests, especially made for driving under the influence.

Some jobs may require the candidate to operate a vehicle, and that makes checking motor vehicle records an important part of background checks.

Credit Check – Any job that has financial responsibility attached to it will require a background check into the candidate’s credit report.

Fraud and embezzlement are commonplace in jobs that require the management of money, which is why an employer may want to look into the candidate’s credit report.

A credit check is subjected to certain stipulations, where the FCRA requires written consent from the candidate and also requires the employer to inform them that their credit report could be used in their hiring decision. Several states do not allow employers to check credit reports as part of the background checking procedure.

Drug Testing – Several companies require their potential employees to take a drug test as an essential part of the hiring process.

There are provisions for drug testing in the legal code of 18 states, and for some jobs, it is mandatory that the candidate pass the drug test. Some background checking companies offer drug testing as part of their package.

How to Choose a Background Check Company

How to Choose a Background Check Company

It is important as an employer to choose a pre-employment background service that suits your needs. There are plenty of factors that go into this choice, such as the pricing, the turnaround timing, and the data that you need. In order to select the best service for your business, these are the key factors you should pay attention to:

Compliance and Accreditation – You need to ensure that the company that you choose is in compliance with state and federal laws, as well as the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

There are certain outlines that need to be followed, and opting for a business that does not follow these guidelines could mean problems down the line.

Another factor to keep in mind is the accreditation of the company conducting the background checks. They should be a member of the Professional Background Screening Association.

The Information and Services Required – Companies offering pre-employment background checks can offer preset packages or customizable ones. It is important that you go through what the various packages offer, and see if the checks they offer are what you require.

For example, you may need your candidate to take a drug test, and the company does not offer one. You’ll need to conduct one separately.

Turnaround Time – Another factor you might need to consider is the turnaround time of the company whose service you are opting for. If you require the candidate to join immediately, you will need to go for a company that can provide accurate information as fast as possible.

If there is no such emergency, you may opt for a company that provides the information at a lesser price but has a longer turnaround time.

Additional Things to Keep in Mind – Some companies may have a minimum requirement of checks needed per year. If you are looking at low volume, it is best that you opt for a company that has no such requirement. There can also be additional fees – for setup, third-party fees, and other services.

Some companies may offer you a discount if you are placing bulk orders. You may also receive a discount if you commit to a certain number of checks a year.


Background checks are an essential part of the hiring process, and companies that offer pre-employment background checks fill in this very important role. While you can also do your own background check for free, your future employer may want to be as accurate as possible. While companies such as GoodHire, Checkr, IntelliCorp, and Sterling are some of the big names, the best company is the one that fulfills your requirements.

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