Do You Know Who Owns Your Background Check Company?

Tammy Cohen, PHR, SHRM-CP

September 29 2015

Background check companies are as different as the many services they provide. Some companies focus on popular services like criminal histories, drug tests, etc. Others may run only database searches or offer many types of risk management services. With so many options, which do you choose?

Consider this: Do you know who owns your background check company? While company ownership may not have come to mind at first, don’t forget it when you review the options. After all, you don’t want to get in bed with someone you don’t know. Ask these questions before committing to a partnership:


How is Your Relationship with Leadership?

You should be able to meet or speak to the company’s executive leadership in the course of forming a relationship.

  • Large companies tend to have many layers of leadership, like executives, directors, managers, etc. This organizational structure means that you may never speak to top leadership. You might not even know who they are!
  • Mid- and small-sized company leadership tends to be more involved in day-to-day operations. Your best interests are important to decision-makers with whom you have a good relationship.


Does Leadership Change Often, or Is the Organizational Structure Stable?

Ownership and management have significant effects on the quality of business.

  • Company image, leadership, and customer focus are rated negatively for companies undergoing major restructuring.
  • If your provider’s employees are disengaged due to leadership changes, the quality of your services suffers.
  • If leadership changes often, there could be a deeper organizational problem with the company.


Is Leadership Experienced? What Does Tenure Look Like?

Established companies have been through the legal challenges and changes of the growing background screening industry and can often predict and act ahead of changes.

  • Your provider’s leadership should have a wealth of experience in background checks. It’s not enough to have only one experienced screener on the leadership team of a provider.
  • A look at many top professionals of large screening firms show they have little or no experience in background checks.
  • For example, InfoMart’s leadership has over 430 years of combined industry experience. Leadership’s average tenure is nearly 12 years.


How is the Provider’s Relationship with its Vendors?

Background check providers use vendors to fulfill requests such as drug testing, and the quality of these relationships can have an impact on the reliability and timeliness of results.

  • Experienced companies and leadership have spent years cultivating relationships with their vendors. They know who will provide accurate and fast information.
  • Screeners focused on cost-cutting or volume over quality may bounce from vendor to vendor. This can lead to slow turnaround and inaccurate results.


Is the Provider Accredited? What Kinds of Awards Have They Won?

Your provider should be able to prove that they meet best screening practices, and their awards can tell you where they shine.

  • The Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) offers an accreditation program that proves a company’s adherence to professional standards. These standards are governed by the Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC). A quick search of the provider’s company name on the PBSA’s membership directory will tell you if they are accredited. You can see what a PBSA accreditation stamp looks like here.
  • Providers can win awards for customer service, security, company culture, diversity and inclusion, sustainability, etc. If customer service is important to you, ask if a company has awards for that. If you’re concerned with quality, see if they’ve made any ‘Best’ or ‘Hot’ lists, such as Workforce’s Hot List of Background Checking Providers.

There is little variation in the background check services you can select from any given provider. Don’t settle for the first provider you find. Find a company that will work in your best interest, take your needs seriously, remain available to you, and get you the information you need to make the best hiring decisions for your organization.

About Tammy Cohen

Tammy Cohen, an industry pioneer and expert in identity and employment screening, founded InfoMart 30 years ago. Deemed the “Queen of Screen,” she’s been a force behind industry-leading innovations. She was most recently the first-to-market with a fully compliant sanctions search, as well as a suite of identity services that modernizes talent onboarding. Tammy revolutionized the screening industry when she stepped into the field, developing the first client-facing application and a due diligence criminal search that has since become standard for all background screening companies. Cohen has received national awards and honors for her business and civic involvement, including Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Top 25 Women-Owned Firms in Atlanta, Enterprising Women Magazine’s Enterprising Women of the Year award, the YWCA of Northwest Georgia’s Kathryn Woods Racial Justice Award, and a commendation in the 152nd Congressional Record.

About InfoMart

InfoMart has been revolutionizing the global background and identity screening industry for 30 years, providing businesses the information they need to make informed hiring decisions. They develop innovative technology that modernizes talent onboarding, including a first-to-market biometric identity authentication application and a verified sanctions search. The WBENC-certified company is a founding member of the Professional Background Screening Association, and they have achieved PBSA accreditation in recognition of their consistent business practices and commitment to compliance with the FCRA. The company is dedicated to customer service, speed, and accuracy, and it has been recognized for its success, workplace culture, and corporate citizenship with over 45 industry awards. To Get the Whole Story on InfoMart, please visit, follow @InfoMartUSA, or call (770) 984-2727.

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