One of the things we’ve discovered, as a result of the background checks we do, is that employers sometimes jump to the conclusion that negative information about a candidate obtained from some quick and cheap data base is accurate. As a brief aside, I’ve tried to live by the axiom that “when you buy something cheap that’s what you get.” I’ve found that to be especially true with the quick and cheap criminal background checks that are readily available in the background checking marketplace.
All too often an employer will rely on the quick and cheap background check to disqualify a candidate for employment without bothering to insure that the information provided is true. Just because a candidate’s name appears on some criminal history data base doesn’t necessarily mean it’s accurate or that it has anything to do with the candidate being considered.
Quick and cheap criminal court data bases should be used only as a tool for further research, not as the last word on whether or not the candidate has some type of conviction on his record. As a matter of fact, the thing to do is use that data base information to go to the court of original jurisdiction where the correct data is stored.
Disqualifying a candidate for employment without making sure that the basis for the disqualification is accurate leaves the employer open to all sorts of possible problems under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. As in all things, it’s better to be safe than sorry. So, use that criminal data base as a starting point, not as the final word!