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How It Works


A background check is the process of looking up official and public records about a person. It is often completed in advance of an employment offer by a company looking to reduce the risk of hiring someone who could pose a threat to their business, either physically or economically. These checks allow an employer to make an informed and less subjective decision about a person.

Depending on the sources and the reason for conducting the background check, different legal requirements may apply. Some of the applicable laws around employee background checks are detailed in the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a copy of which is viewable in detail at www.ftc.gov/credit or in summary here. The FCRA sets the national standard for employers who want to find out more about an applicant or current employee. It covers much more than credit reports and the FCRA laws apply both to small businesses and large corporations.

While it is commonly thought that a background check is a single document, it is really a compilation of data from a variety of sources. A background check can be conducted by an individual or a company.


Background Checking Best Practices for Small Business

Armed with this basic information about employment background checking for small businesses, you can move forward to start feeling more confident about your hiring decisions and better ensure a safer work enviorment.
» Download Background Checking Best Practices for Small Business


FCRA Compliance

The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is designed to protect individuals by promoting accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files of every Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA). Most CRAs are credit bureaus that gather and provide information about individuals - such as if they pay their bills on time or have filed bankruptcy - to creditors, employers, and landlords. Companies that perform pre-employment screening services, such as HireRight, are also governed by the FCRA, as are the employers that use HireRight's background screening services.

HireRight provides FCRA compliance information and online templates of all letters and forms necessary to comply with FCRA employment background screening requirements, including:
» Download sample Adverse Action letters
» Download Summary of Consumer Rights

Obtain Employee or Candidate Consent
Except in certain cases of investigating employee misconduct, the FCRA requires that you must have your applicant's or employee's advance written permission to perform a background check. This disclosure and consent form should be a form separate from any employment application.
» Download sample Applicant Disclosure and Consent form