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Background Check

Everything You Need to Know About National Background Check

Employers and companies often use a background check as part of their screening process in the pre-employment stage of recruitment. Background checks are created to provide businesses and individuals alike the tool to make sound and better recruitment decisions, verifying information available on individuals. These checks can be at the county, state, national, or federal levels.

A background check is a request for information on an individual’s past. Most of the time, this request covers criminal records, but it can also contain info like contact information, credit checks, marriage records, asset records, bankruptcy records, and more.

A national (criminal) background check goes through digital records from numerous jurisdictions, even terrorist and sexual offenders databases. It checks infractions, misdemeanors, felony convictions, and pending cases that may have occurred at the state and county level by searching thousands of digital databases across the country.

Though a national background check generates results from numerous digital records, they still aren’t comprehensive. Non-digitized, county records, and federal-level conviction reports are usually out of their scope, and you are better off using a county criminal court search in the relevant area for accurate information.

Criminal records would often show the database from which the record was pulled, the crime, the verdict, and the ruling date. It would also show the disposition of the charge, the sentencing information, and any pending criminal court case. Some background check providers may offer dismissed charges, non-convictions, and every interaction with law enforcement.

In most cases, employers and companies have to use background screening providers to get these reports. While the reports are readily available to those authorized to have them, authorized agencies are still subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulations. Sometimes, they even have to go through stricter standards from the state’s consumer protection laws.

As mentioned, there are various levels of background checks. Still, most people often confuse national background checks with federal background checks, and while they may share fundamental similarities, they differ greatly in scope.

Differences Between National Background Checks and Federal Background Checks

While national background checks report cases at the state and county levels, federal criminal background checks search across 94 federal US district and appellate court databases to uncover convictions and pending cases of federal crimes. Federal crimes include crimes against federal employees or on federal land, embezzlement, and other violations of federal law.

National background checks tend to yield more information and have a wider coverage area than background checks at the federal level. Due to the large volume of data involved, there is often a risk of inaccurate or outdated information. Companies and background screening providers may need to consult the lower state and county levels for comprehensiveness.

What do state-level background checks report?

State background checks report criminal charges and convictions (including misdemeanor and felony convictions) against a person at the state level. Like those at the national level, they could be incomplete or may not give the whole picture, as laws vary across states, the severity of an offense might not be equal across the states.

What do county-level background checks report?

County background checks provide the most accurate and up-to-date reports from the more than 3200 counties in the United States. Usually, the reports are typically pulled from the individual’s county of residence both present and past using a Social Security Number trace.

While they are the best source of accurate results, some counties lack digital records. A manual request of court records from those counties may be required, significantly affecting delivery time of the necessary records.

As a potential employer or company in the middle of the employee recruitment process, it is essential you have written permission from an individual before performing a background check, as required by the FRCA. They should also know that the results may affect your hiring decision. Information received from criminal background checks must not be used to discriminate against applicants in violation of federal law. You can visit the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) website for guidelines on using background checks in the hiring process.

Employer Checking Background Check Report

Affordable Background Check for Complete Background Checks

To ensure that you proceed appropriately and fairly, it is critical that you employ the services of a reliable background record provider. At Affordable Background Checks, we understand that background checks are a vital part of the employment process. Everyone should be able to conduct an extensive background check without having to pay exorbitant prices.

You can get every report you need in three simple steps, as our service covers commercial background checks, criminal background checks, background verification checks, and employee pre-screening background checks. No matter what type of service you need, Affordable Background Checks is guaranteed to get the job done fast and to your satisfaction. Call us or contact us online today!

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Gavin Muirhead

Gavin Muirhead has been involved in developing products for background checks and improving online experiences in the background screening industry since 2012. He is the lead author and editor of Affordable Background Checks.