Our Contractor Background Check Services from The Contractor’s Perspective
Background Screening |May 12, 2023
As a contractor who services, supports, delivers, repairs, or installs products for another organization, you may be asked to complete a background check at some point. The reason for this process is to ensure the organization you are contracting with can ascertain if there is any operational, legal, reputational, or financial risk to that engagement.
As a contractor, you are representing their company and product and customers have expectations that the organization knows who is being contracted on their behalf. It is important to note that each organization may have its policy on this topic and may require different components in a background search. The purpose of this blog is to outline some of the more consistent experiences a contractor can expect from the background check process.
What is Included in Background Checks for Contractors?
The purpose of the background check is to protect the organization and the process should be consistent across all contractors who hold similar roles. Organizations should be ordering the same type of searches on every individual and these may include criminal background checks, sex offender checks, identity verification, and possibly, driver record searches. It is important to note that just because you have driving issues or a criminal record does not mean you will not be considered for the contracted work. The organization should have established criteria to determine which types of information will be relevant and may have an adverse impact on the contracting relationship. Depending on what is in your background may impact if you feel confident and comfortable or a little anxious or nervous.
As you go through the process, there should be an opportunity to ask questions so you can understand what the requirements are. This can be done to your employer directly, maybe in the contract your company has with the organization, or maybe even by calling the background check provider. The key thing to remember is the background check process is regulated in the United States under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, (FCRA), and because of that, as an individual, you have rights.
What to Expect from Your Background Check
In compliance with the FCRA, when you are asked to complete a background check there are some specific steps you can expect. Depending on the process, the following steps may involve your direct employer, or you may be sent to a vendor website for some of this information. The steps you can expect are:
Provision of a disclosure that explains what the process entails, why you are being asked for information, and the nature of the searches being done.
Obtain your authorization to ensure you consent to the search and have been provided disclosure and direction to any sources contact to release the required information.
Request for information – this will include specific personal identifiers and demographic details such as your name, date of birth, Social Security Number, and address. This information must be complete and accurate as it will be used to conduct the searches. Ensure your date of birth is in the required format and that month and day are not transposed. Make sure all required legal names are provided. If you have a maiden, alternate, or alias name, it is important to include that. If your middle name is used as your first name, it is important to provide both names. If you have any suffixes to your name such as a Jr. Sr. or II, these should be included as well. This step may also involve you providing specific information or forms related to the searches. Some states may require a state-specific form to process a driver’s license check and if verifications of education or employment are being done, details for those may be requested at this time.
Processing of the Background Check – this is the “be patient” stage while the vendor collects all the information from the various sources that the organization has requested. Typically, this can be done in 3-4 days but depending on the searches required, the number of searches to complete and the nature of the information returned, this time may vary. An extended timeframe here is not necessarily a cause for concern as some sources do not have robust or automated systems designed to expedite the information-gathering process.
Request for Additional information – sometimes during the process information may be received by the background check partner that requires some additional investigation. Depending on the specifics, when this happens, you may be requested to clarify information or provide additional details. Again, this isn’t necessarily a cause for concern but is being done to ensure that the final background check report contains accurate information and only those details that belong to you. Typical examples here would be to ask if you have any additional names, to confirm the date of birth as given, or to ascertain the status of a criminal record. Under the FCRA, the screening partner is obligated to have procedures in place to assure they are returning results based on the maximum possible accuracy. It is important to respond promptly to these kinds of requests to ensure the process can be completed. If these issues are not resolved, the report may be deemed incomplete and closed out so that a report is not completed that is known to contain missing or incomplete information.
Completed Results – this is when the background check is complete! Depending on the workflow your organization is following, you may get a notification when the report is complete or they may receive it. Either way, it is important to point out that this may not mean the process is complete. If the results returned are clear and there are no questions, this is likely the end and last step. However, if records are returned, if the information could not be verified, or if there may be adverse action taken against you based on the results of the background check, there are some additional steps under the FCRA that you should be aware of.
If an adverse action may be taken based in whole, or in part, based on the results of the background check, you must be provided a copy of the report. This should be done before a final decision is made, should include your full background check report, and should also include a Summary of Your Rights under the FCRA. Included in these rights, is the opportunity to dispute any results that are not accurate. This disputing is done through the vendor who provided the report and may require them to recheck records and advise you of the outcome. If this process happens, you are given a timeframe within which to respond and it is important to not exceed that timeline. This ensures the process can continue. You may also receive other notices or options based on state, county, or local law at this time as well.
If the results of a reinvestigation change the report, you may be provided with an updated copy of the report.
If the results of a reinvestigation do not change the report and/or if adverse action is going to be taken against you, you will be provided with another letter indicating this.
While the above may seem quite cumbersome and lots of steps, the process is done all the time and flows very smoothly in most cases. As an individual being asked to go through the process, feel free to ask questions about it and do what you can to take the stress out of the experience. Background screening is a very common practice and is standard in most industries these days. Contact us today if you have any questions or would like to discuss our background screening options.
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.
About PlusOne Solutions
PlusOne Solutionshas been an industry leader in the risk management field by specializing in 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. To learn more, visit https://www.PlusOneSolutions.net.
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