What Is Included in a Background Check?: An FAQ

Tammy Cohen

October 24 2022

With over 30 years of experience in the background screening industry, InfoMart can answer your most pressing questions about what a background check includes. Are you curious to know what is included in a background check? Have you always wondered who does background checks? Do you want to know how long a background check is good for? We have the answers you need. Discover what a background check consists of and more about how background screening works with this comprehensive FAQ.


What is included in a background check?

Many people think of a background check as a simple criminal history report, but there are  many services available to build a screening strategy tailored to your company’s unique needs. A background check consists of whichever services an employer chooses to run, though some regulated industries like the transportation industry 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 a background check includes: 

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. Some employers may also opt in to continuous criminal monitoring, which provides nearly instant notification when a current employee is arrested. 

Drug Screening & Occupational Health

Drug tests screen for common drugs of abuse, but the substances an employer screens for vary depending on their industry and location. Applicants either go to a drug testing facility to provide a sample in-person, or you can offer self-collection and instant tests. In addition to drug testing, we offer other occupational health services like 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, degree type, 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, and the license status, expiration date, and number.

Social Media Screening

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

Credit History

We receive credit information 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. We use this information to determine which states or counties to run background checks in.

Terrorist Watchlists

Using sources like the DEA, FBI, OFAC, OIG, and Interpol, we search terrorist watchlists to confirm an applicant’s name does not come up. InfoMart’s watchlist search, Verified Watch List, complies with the FCRA by verifying 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, many employers and applicants wonder who does background checks. The answer? It varies depending on the type of background check service a company orders.

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


Where can I get a criminal background check done? How do I get a background check for employment?

It’s important to know where and how to get the best background checks for your business. The most reliable background checks come from professional, experienced screening vendors. Reach out to us to learn more about our screening services. We offer a convenient self-serve portal for any company with fewer than 100 employees. If you have more than 100 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 you run a background check because candidates or employees can be convicted of a crime the following day or the courts can update their records. The best practice is to rerun post-hire background checks regularly on current employees to ensure their criminal records remain clean. The easiest way to do this is through continuous criminal monitoring, which continuously scans employees’ records nationwide so you don’t have to.


What does a background check look like?

Background check results look different depending on which screening company you work with. However, the best companies will give you a comprehensive document with anything you need to know clearly stated. 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 for background check results is under two days. Some services complete almost instantly, while services relying on candidates (like drug testing) can take longer. Discover 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. We source contact information using our proprietary list of employers. Our analysts talk to the appropriate contact at the company to verify a candidate’s dates of employment, terminations, positions/titles held, wages (where lawful), and whether they are eligible for rehire. Learn all about verifications here.


How far back do background checks search?

InfoMart’s standard background check searches a minimum of 7 years, though employers can opt to conduct 10-year or 15-year searches. We will search as far back as a client requests, but federal, state, and local law dictates which records are reportable. For example, it may be illegal for us 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?

From InfoMart! You can learn more about that service here.


Can you explain how to get a background check for employment? Or tell me 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 screening experts. Give us a call: (770) 984-2727.

A background check consists of whatever services your company may need to make an informed hiring decision without sacrificing compliance or infringing on candidates’ rights and privacy. The best place to get a background check is through an experienced, highly specialized third-party vendor like InfoMart. To get everything your company needs included in a background check, reach out to one of our sales representatives to learn how we can build a unique screening package.

I would love to hear from you and connect; add me on LinkedIn to keep in touch.

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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