What Is Included in a Background Check?: An FAQ

Tammy Cohen

January 27 2021

With over 30 years of experience, InfoMart’s background check experts have the know how to answer the most pressing questions you have about the background screening process. Curious to know what is included in a background check? Always wondered who does background checks? Want to know how long a background check is good for? Find these answers and more down below.

What is included in a background check?

Many people think of a background check as a criminal history report, but it can comprise a variety of services. A background check results in whichever services an employer chooses to run, though some regulated industries have requirements employers must follow.

Common services included in a background check are criminal history searches, employment verifications, education verifications, professional license verifications, social media screening, and drug testing. Other services are available from most background check providers, too.

Here is a brief overview of what is included in a background check sometimes:


Criminal Search

Criminal record checks uncover felony and misdemeanor convictions at the county, state, national, or federal level (depending on the type of criminal history search requested). Criminal history searches often include sex offender registry searches, too. Most criminal history requests search back 7 or 10 years.


Drug Screening

Drug tests screen for common drugs of abuse, but which substances an employer screens for varies. Applicants go to a drug testing facility and provide a sample (either urine or hair) for testing. Self-collection and instant tests are also available.


Other Occupational Health Services

In addition to drug testing, employers can request alcohol testing, physicals, and immunization tracking.


Employment Verification

Employment verifications confirm dates of employment, terminations, job title(s) or position(s) held, wages (where lawful), and rehire eligibility. Expanded employment verifications may include customized interviews, including insight into an applicant’s character, attitude, work history, and attendance.


Education Verification

Education verifications confirm graduation date(s), degree(s), major/minor courses of study, and institutions attended. For added security, InfoMart also runs a diploma mill scan, which confirms that the listed colleges/universities are accredited.


Professional License Verification

Professional license verifications confirm the date(s) of certification, the type of license, license status and expiration date, and the license number.


Social Media Screening

We search for instances of violence, racism/intolerance, sexually explicit material, or other potentially illegal activity. Social media screening through a partner like InfoMart prevents employers from seeing protected information about a candidate prior to hire.


Credit History

Credit information is gathered from one of the nation’s major credit bureaus to assess an applicant’s credit history for pre-employment purposes.


SSN Trace

An SSN trace matches a social security number to the issued name to uncover a 7-year history of current and previous addresses. This information is used to determine what states or counties to run a background check in.


Terrorist Watchlists

A terrorist watchlist search coordinates with sources like the DEA, FBI, OFAC, OIG, and Interpol to confirm an applicant is not on a terror watchlist. InfoMart’s watchlist search is called Verified Watch List, and it is compliant with the FCRA because we verify a candidate’s identifiers before reporting the information back to an employer.


Who does background checks?

To ensure compliance with the EEOC and FCRA, background checks should be run by an experienced, PBSA-accredited background check company.

In addition to what is included in a background check, a lot of employers and applicants wonder who completes the search. Who does background checks varies depending on the type of background check service being ordered. Here’s a brief synopsis of who does background checks at InfoMart:

  • Criminal history searches: in-house analysts pull records from vetted online sources or searchers inspect records onsite at county courthouses.
  • Verifications: Education, employment, and professional license verifications are completed via the phone by in-house analysts.
  • Drug testing: All occupational health services, including drug testing, are conducted in partnership with labs across the country.


Where can I get a criminal background check done?

You can reach out to InfoMart to start background screening today. We offer a convenient self-serve portal for any company with fewer than 500 employees. If you have more than 500 employees, you can get a criminal background check done by filling out a form on our website or by calling 770 984 2727.


How long is a background check good for?

Background check results can change the day after the background check is run because candidates/employees can be convicted of a crime the following day or the courts can update their records. Best practice is to rerun a background check if 30 days have passed since you last requested a criminal history search.


What does a background check look like?

Background check results look a little different depending on which screening company you work with. You can request a sample of InfoMart’s background check results here.


How long does an employment background check take? Why do background checks take so long?

Background check turnaround times vary depending on the service offered, the amount of independent research necessary to provide accurate and up-to-date information, and whether the candidate needs to submit additional information.

InfoMart’s average turnaround time for background check results is under two days. Some services can be completed almost instantaneously, while services that rely on candidates (like drug testing) can take a little longer. You can learn more about how turnaround times work here.


How does a background check verify employment?

Our in-house analysts call the employers provided by your candidates to verify their employment details. Contact information is sourced using our proprietary list of major employers. Our analysts talk to the appropriate contact at the company to verify dates of employment, terminations, positions/titles held, wages (where lawful), and whether or not they are eligible to be rehired.


How far back do background checks go?

InfoMart’s standard background check searches a minimum of 7 years, though employers can opt to conduct 10-year or 15-year searches. Though we will search as far back as a client requests, federal, state, and local law dictates which records are reportable. For example, we may not legally be allowed to provide a DUI charge that occurred 15 years ago depending on the state your candidate lives in.


Can you tell me how to get employment history information?

InfoMart offers employment history verifications. You can learn more about that service here.


Can you tell me how to get a background check for employment? Or how to get a criminal background check?

We have been providing quick, compliant criminal background checks for employment for over thirty years. If you’re ready to get a background check for employment, you can fill out a form on our website, use our self-serve portal, or call 770 984 2727. Our background check experts are ready to answer your call!


I have another question you didn’t answer.

You won’t be able to stump our background check experts. Give us a call: 770 984 2727.

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. To learn more about Tammy, visit

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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