10 Questions to Ask While Choosing the Right Vendor for Background Screening

10 Questions to Ask While Choosing the Right Vendor for Background Screening


The interview process for a new hire helps an employer understand whether an applicant has the required skills and the right attitude. These would ensure that the new employee is a good fitment with the company culture and can be expected to perform well as per the requirements of her job role. The right skills and behaviors can be assessed with the help of various tests and interviews.

In addition to such exercises, most employers also carry out a detailed background verification of the applicant. This is usually done as a pre-employment exercise, although there are instances of some part of the process taking place after the employee has joined. Additionally, because of the expertise required, most employers get such checks done by external vendors who have the required credentials and credibility.

What does background checking involve?

An employer first needs to be aware of what is a background check and what all does it involve. Background verification for a prospective employee helps the employer ensure a safe workplace for other employees, protects critical data, prevents workplace violence or theft, and keeps the employer safe from legal complications because of a new hire. The practice of verifying employee backgrounds prior to hiring improves the credibility of the employer and also helps in staying compliant. Depending on the job role and the country in which the new employee will work , there are differences in the mandatory and prohibited checks. But in general, these are some checks that almost all companies carry out in some form, irrespective of the job role or the location of employment:

  • Educational details
  • Professional qualifications
  • Employment history
  • Reference checks
  • Credit history
  • Motor vehicle record check
  • Criminal record
  • Social media behavior

Why do enterprises need an expert background screening provider?

Enterprises usually outsource some non-essential tasks to vendors thereby reducing the workload on employees. The background checks for a job applicant should be assigned to a qualified vendor to ensure that the job is done right. There are compelling reasons for this.

  • The laws governing employee verification are often complex and vary by country, which is why an in-house team might not be aware of all the legal aspects.
  • Background checks often require access to national databases, and a verified vendor has the necessary permissions to do so.
  • One of the most delicate issues in employee background verification is the risk of bias. Employees carrying out background verification for people who might go on to become their colleagues is not an ideal scenario. They might fall prey to conscious or unconscious biases which could unfairly impact the hiring decision.
  • Background screening also involves confidential information with personally identifiable aspects which should be protected and destroyed when no longer in use, ensuring it is not misused against an individual.

How can companies choose the right background check provider?

Given the legal, regulatory, and business reputation risks that are possible due to the actions of employees, companies need to ensure that the vendor they entrust with employee verification is dependable and does a watertight job. This is why the empanelment of such vendors needs to be done carefully. Let us discuss ten possible questions that a company must get answers to before it empanels a particular vendor.

  • Does the vendor have the necessary accreditations? As mentioned above, vendors would need access to databases in all states and countries where the company will hire.
    • Does the vendor have experience in your industry? The type of checks that would be needed for an employee at a hospital would be different from those needed for a bank employee.
      • Which countries do they offer services in? It is necessary to check whether the vendor offers services in the countries where it is currently operational or plans to expand in the future.
        • What are the checks that they offer? The company needs to find out if all necessary checks can be handled by the vendor.
        • What do the peers say? It is useful to ask other companies if they have used the services of the vendor before and how their experience was.
        • Are the services bound by a stringent timeline? The vendor needs to be able to commit a reasonable turnaround time for each type of check.
        • Are there any open litigations? The company must know if legal proceedings have been initiated against the vendor by clients or applicants.
        • How is pricing structured? Would the vendor offer a package or charge individually for the checks to be done?
        • Are they costlier than their peers? Like other empanelment exercises, the company must invite quotes from multiple vendors and compare.
        • Can they scale up? The vendor needs to give an idea of how many checks for how many employees they do every year.

        Closing thoughts

        Before assigning a vendor the authority of providing inputs for hiring decisions, an employer needs to check thoroughly whether the vendor can be depended on. The above checklist is a sound way to ensure that the correct vendor gets empaneled.

        About cFIRST

        cFIRST is a global background screening platform that lets companies make better-informed hiring decisions through intuitive insights. Over the years, cFIRST has become a trusted verification partner for Fortune 500 Companies and new-age start-ups.