Over half of job applicants admit to resume fabrication and misrepresentation, which has lent to the increasing popularity of background verifications in human resource departments. Most large companies perform some sort of background verification, and a quickly growing number of small businesses are running them as well. But do you know the difference between an experienced background screening provider and a free background check?

This number has only grown as free background checks have become more prevalent on the Internet, making it seemingly quick and easy to verify employment and check criminal history. However, while these “free” screenings may appeal to your bottom line, they are incomparable to the detailed verifications that an experienced background screening provider conducts.

Thorough background checks go far beyond the results provided by free background check options, from which supplemental or evidentiary information can be difficult or costly to obtain. Professional screeners provide comprehensive, affordable information to ensure that your employees are the perfect match for your company.

Customizable Screenings

The professed free background checks found online run the same background check on each potential hire, no matter the type of position or level of employment. You generally cannot customize your screen to verify, for example, only the highest degree earned. Additionally, free background checks don’t take extra steps to prove legitimacy, such as identifying diploma mills.

A professional background screening provider can advise you on the specific verifications that should be run for each level of employment and tailor these checks to the size of your company. They also offer customized packages, ensuring that your employees are cleared to work in your company’s field.

For example, a professional screener may suggest that a healthcare provider run both criminal checks and employment and education verifications, as well as industry-specific checks such as a FACIS screen. The medical industry also often checks their candidates against government healthcare databases, such as OIG and GSA.

Updated Information

Online, free background checks are limited in nature, primarily due to the fact that you are accessing public information that is not required to be updated regularly. In fact, in a statewide criminal search, the crimes committed are actually reported by local courthouses. Some of these government buildings still submit these reports by mail instead of electronically.

A professional background screening provider has access to verifications that are not open to the public and will ensure that all information obtained is the most recent available. If a result seems out of date or suspicious, these providers will investigate the information and make every effort to obtain the facts.

Priority on compliance

There are specific rules and regulations that companies must follow when running background checks for legal purposes, such as employment. Free background check companies found online may follow these regulations, but it’s all too easy to fail in compliance due to a lack of follow-through from “free” solution providers or by acting on inaccurate data they’ve provided.

Professional screeners know and follow the laws for every service, ensuring that your company’s background checks are compliant, a service not provided by free background checks. For example, these providers know when it is and is not acceptable to order a credit check, which can only be run on candidates for specific positions, if at all, depending on your geography.

Seamless Integration into Current HR Systems

The information found on a free background check stays separate from your current HR system unless it is manually entered, which adds a step that should be automated to your hiring process. Manual entry also provides the opportunity for human error and increases the possibility of legal challenges to your company.

Professional background check providers have developed technology that will seamlessly integrate the results of your screens within your current records. Experienced providers, such as InfoMart, have spent years integrating with many types of ATS/HRIS and offer integration to you free of charge.

Free is great, but your business is more important

The best value-added benefit that a background screening provider can offer is peace of mind. You will know that you have verified all of a candidate’s credentials and that he or she is completely qualified for the position and right for the business. Free background checks can’t do the job.

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