Tips for Speeding Up a Background Screening

You need individuals onboarded right away and want to remove any delays from the process you can.  Clearing the individual through a background check is the last step …. Now you’re asking, “Is there anything I can do to help speed up the background check process?”

Actually, yes.

The first step is understanding that not all background checks are created equal. Doing things properly takes time and the screening packages most of our Customers use are thorough and contain various searches. While automated database checks may return a near-instant, they set companies up for increased risk and liability due to the fact they are often incomplete, out of date, and may not contain full all the required information.

Most comprehensive background checks, like those conducted by PlusOne Solutions, take one to four days to process, depending on the specific searches being performed, the resources being accessed, the jurisdictions included and whether records are located that may necessitate extra diligence.

Fortunately, you have some control and can trim time off the background screening process with a few of these tips.

  • Double-check to ensure all demographic data is entered accurately and completely on the Screening Request.

Is the applicant’s full legal name misspelled or missing? Are all legal names included? Have any digits of the Social Security Number or Date of Birth been transposed? Is the current zip code and address included? Data entry errors, however small, can negatively affect overall turnaround time, accuracy, and quality of the results. Discrepancies with the information may slow the process as PlusOne Solutions seeks to clarify differences and using incorrect or incomplete information may require a revised background screen to be submitted, which also adds unnecessary time to the process.

  • Include the applicant’s middle name as well as any alias or maiden names.

Did you know that searches at the county level are based on name and date of birth, but not the social security number? It’s true!  Including an applicant’s middle name(s) can help narrow down the results of the search more quickly and ensure the accuracy of the information returned. PlusOne Solutions will also search with alias and maiden names to ensure thorough research into an individual’s background. Including all these names improves the overall result. The middle name is becoming increasingly important to help determine if a record belongs to an individual, especially when they have a common name.

  • Complete any required criminal, driving, identification, or other forms required for processing.

Depending on the jurisdictions where the individual has resided, PlusOne Solutions may need unique consent or information to complete the screening. This is usually due to state-level legislation however we do also have a Canadian Identification (CAID) process and Helper process that may create requirements for a Customer before a screening result can be considered complete. These forms are typically emailed and requested at order submission but the PlusOne Solutions team may also follow up by email or telephone during the process to ensure these forms are provided.

  • Provide supporting documentation when requested.

Once a file is started, PlusOne Solutions may uncover information that needs further investigation, and you, or the individual may be requested to provide supplemental documentation, such as a Driver’s License or Social Security card. This may be done because information could not initially be verified, we may need to order additional searches, it may be used to help positively identify an individual’s or determine if their identifiers match a record. The screening process is often put on hold until this documentation is returned so if requested, be sure to forward these documents in a timely fashion!

  • Understand and follow the Pre-Adverse Action Process – and encourage your individual to as well.

As screening results come back and adverse information is uncovered, the individual may be put into Pre-Adverse status. Although this language is taken from the US Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) legislation, a similar process is followed in Canada. The means the screening has been completed but based on the results obtained, there is likely to be adverse action taken against them. Meaning more specifically that they do not meet the contractual requirements of the Customer’s program. Part of this process is the opportunity for them to dispute the results if they are inaccurate or incomplete. This requires the individual to contact PlusOne Solutions and file a dispute so that we may verify the information before a final decision is made. Under federal and some state laws, the requirement to ensure accurate and complete information is a right for the individual. If anything impacts the accuracy of the report, it must be further reviewed. To give the individual appropriate time, the file will remain in preadverse status for up to 11 days while a response is awaited.  The quicker an individual responds to a PreAdverse letter, the quicker the screening process can complete.

  • Use the resources available to track screening status.

Although options vary by Customer, PlusOne Solutions provides various means to ascertain the status of a background screening through our portal interface, nightly report, possible system integrations, and other tools. These are available 24/7 and allow you to track exactly where in the process a screening may be. As always, if you have an urgent or unique need, you can contact our team directly for an update.

  • Contact your screening partner with any additional requests.

Are you wondering about an ETA for screening results? Do you have questions about findings for an applicant?  Do you wish to expedite a specific screen request that has been delayed?  If so, be sure to reach out to your screening partner.

 

As always, if you have a specific screen that needs to be expedited, a background screening seems to be taking longer than normal or you have questions on the results or process, please reach out. We are happy to help!

To learn more about PlusOne Solutions or to discuss your contractor screening program please call us at 877-943-0100 or fill out our contact form and someone from our team will reach out to you.

Contents are provided for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Users are reminded to seek legal counsel concerning their obligations and use of PlusOne Solutions services.


 

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Interested in learning more about implementing a contractor compliance program? Contact us at (877) 943-0100 or send us a message using the form below.



6 Ways Our Screening Program Meets In-Home Service Industry Needs

With decades of experience in the contractor screening space, our founders knew when they started PlusOne Solutions in 2005 they needed to launch a solution that met the unique demands of the service industry. The traditional employment screening practices at the time would not work for contractor networks or service companies, so PlusOne Solutions created a fresh approach.

With the in-home service industry, independent contractors often worked for numerous companies in their local area. This meant they were subjected to various and multiple background screening processes. Some of these were comprehensive, but others were merely done to check a box. None of them were designed to keep the contracted customer at the forefront of risk mitigation.

With a focused effort, PlusOne Solutions created a process for treating the individual of the background screening with respect while considering the specific work they would be contracted to do when evaluating their screening results. This led to successfully balancing risk mitigation with compliance and the proper treatment of contracted servicers.

The PlusOne Solutions Contractor Background Screening Program was the first to address many unique service industry issues, such as:

 

Problem 1: Repeated and Inconsistent Screening Efforts

Contractors were paying for multiple background screening programs through various vendors based on whom their customers were using. This process was redundant, cumbersome and costly.

Solution 1: Shareability

One background check done through PlusOne Solutions can be accepted across multiple customers so a single purchase of a background screen can be used among our customers who an individual is contracted to work for. This lowered the cost of the background screen for each individual contractor, provided a streamlined screening process and improved acceptance of background screening across the industry.

 

Problem 2: Inconsistent Criteria

There were too many different background screening packages required across the service industry and there was no consistency in the components or search criteria. This created multiple requirements for individuals to be screened against, some of which were lacking true diligence, and caused confusion, frustration, and additional fees.

Solution 2: Standardized Package

A comprehensive, thorough and affordable background screening package that set the standard requirements for the industry. The detail, process, and use of the screening were better understood and used by customers as a result, thereby reducing risk and improving the credibility and caliber of the entire industry.

 

Problem 3: Unpredictable Variable Costs

The actual cost of the background check was unknown until all the screening was conducted because search fees varied from screening to screening depending on factors such as the vendor, specific package, and jurisdiction. The more counties, addresses or names searched, the higher the cost was. Contracted individuals required to complete a background check had no idea what was fair, what to expect or what was required.

Solution 3: Bundled, Predictive Pricing

A transparent bundled cost, which proactively factored in all costs including all pass-through fees such as the specific court, state, and motor vehicle reports fees, were included in the screening package. This eliminated surprise pricing for those going through the screening process and gave contractors an upfront fee they could accept to maintain consistency across all screenings.

 

Problem 4: Irrelevant Decision Matrices

Decision-makers were using irrelevant background screen information and bright-line decision matrices when considering a person for a role. For example, a felony would bar someone from consideration, yet not all felonies are equal. This approach was later determined to be in violation of the Employment Opportunity Commissions’ (EEOC) 2012 Enforcement Guidance.

Solution 4: Individualized Assessment

A set of fluid guidelines to use for in-home and on-premise contracted situations was created to better qualify and assess any previous criminal convictions and were considered based on behaviors related to the job. This also factors in whether the individual may pose a risk to the consumer, property or family as the severity of the conviction, length of time since the conviction and nature of the job were evaluated for each review of criminal records.

 

Problem 5: Violation of Privacy

Outdated, personal and irrelevant criminal record information about an individual was being shared prematurely with the individual’s employer through the consumer (background screening) report. In many cases, the information did not create an adverse condition. Since it was not information that needed to be shared, it unnecessarily violated the privacy of the individual.

Solution 5: Pre-Adverse Process Directly with the Individual

Working with the individual directly, and within FCRA and state laws and regulations, PlusOne Solutions evaluates the background screening and keeps the information confidential by not releasing results to the Customer or individual’s employer until the pre-adverse process is completed. This ensures a confirmed record is released only after the individual is aware of what information is shared about them and they have had enough opportunity to dispute the information. While the pre-adverse and adverse process are legislated, the approach to work through this with the individual, versus sharing with the company who would work with the individual is where PlusOne’s approach differs.

 

Problem 6: No Opportunity to be Heard

Without steps in place in order to fully understand the circumstances around the findings in a background screening, decisions were made based solely on the report and no additional information from the individual.

Even when using a decision matrix, there are valid reasons for reconsideration of the impact of past criminal or driving behaviors before a final decision is made. Background screening results are on real people and life’s circumstances can never be fully understood from just a background screening report.

Solution 6: Appeal Process

A unique process was instituted to allow the individual to provide more information that may impact the results and decision from the screening. From the very beginning, PlusOne Solutions implemented an “appeal” process to gain a better understanding of the circumstances that led to the charges showing in the consumer report.

After the background screening report is provided but before a final decision is made, the individual has an opportunity to “appeal” their eligibility decision. This builds on the individualized assessment process and allows the individual to explain their story and ask for reconsideration before making a final decision. They can demonstrate their rehabilitation and suitability for the role and often give greater insight into the circumstances which gave rise to the adverse behavior.

 


 

More than 15 years after PlusOne Solutions took this approach, many of our early solutions have been adopted as industry best practices. Additionally, some of our early practices were aligned with the recommendations from the Federal Trade Commission’s July 2011 release of 40 Years of Experience with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commissions (EEOC) Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Although our approach to our contractor background screening program is determined, we still work with customers on a case by case basis to understand their needs and identify any gaps. PlusOne Solutions is committed to providing a comprehensive screening program that creates safer work environments for both service providers and customers.

 

Contents are provided for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Users are reminded to seek legal counsel with respect to their obligations and use of PlusOne Solutions services.


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Interested in learning more about our compliance services? Contact us at (877) 943-0100 or send us a message using the form below.



PlusOne Solutions Now Offering Continuous Criminal Monitoring

PlusOne Solutions, a provider of compliance and risk management solutions that meet the complex challenges of contractor networks, announced the release of their Continuous Criminal Monitoring program.

A proactive approach to background checks, the Continuous Criminal Monitoring program is an FCRA-compliant service that provides near real-time alerts on U.S. booking or incarceration activity that occurs within your service network or workforce after the initial background screening.

Criminal issues that occur between the standard two-year rescreen cycles can often go undetected and the ongoing monitoring of employees and contractors allows companies to see alerts on their network’s criminal activity, including DUI, assaults, theft, and more, that may increase risk and liability.

“Since there is usually a two-year period between the background checks a contractor undergoes, Customers were searching for a solution to monitor potential criminal activity between these screenings,” said Michelle Leblond, Executive Vice President of Compliance and Privacy at PlusOne Solutions. “Although this doesn’t replace the need for a full background screen, this is another mitigation tool our Customers can utilize to demonstrate due diligence and monitor their network’s activity.”

Continuous Criminal Monitoring vs. Traditional Background Checks

 

Companies that rely on contractor networks of varying sizes are challenged with maintaining compliance throughout their relationship with a contractor. Although they conduct periodic background checks on their network every two years, how do they know if something happens in the meantime?

That’s the gap of information Continuous Criminal Monitoring could solve.

Instead of reviewing only historical results like a traditional background check provides, continuous monitoring is the ongoing process of reviewing U.S. county-level criminal records and provides notice within 24 hours of incarceration or booking event.

While continuous criminal monitoring does not completely eliminate the need for periodic comprehensive background checks, PlusOne Solutions’ sources cover over 85 percent of the population and is a suitable search to identify potential behavior that may pose a risk to your business, customers, brand, customer loyalty, and reputation.

“Continuous Criminal Monitoring is one more way PlusOne Solutions has continued to improve our risk mitigation portfolio, added value to our U.S. Customers and helped them improve the quality and compliance of their contractor networks,” Leblond said. “We look forward to continued opportunities to demonstrate our commitment to be a strong partner with our Customers.”

 

 

To learn how Continuous Criminal Monitoring is already having an impact, read our case study titled ‘Continuous Criminal Monitoring: A Proactive Approach to Monitor Contractor Networks’.

 

ABOUT PLUSONE SOLUTIONS:
For more than 15 years, PlusOne Solutions has been an industry leader in the risk management field by specializing compliance programs that meet the complex challenges of geographically dispersed contractors, vendors and employee networks. PlusOne Solutions protects companies from possible financial, legal and reputational risks associated with contractor and vendor relationships while creating safer work environments for everyone and is an Accredited Background Screening Agency by the Professional Background Screening Association.

 

Contents are provided for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Users are reminded to seek legal counsel with respect to their obligations and use of PlusOne Solutions services.


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