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Contractor Screening Program: What Part of a Background Check Can You Not Live Without?

Background Screening | March 7, 2022
contractor background check

Once your organization has decided to implement a contractor screening program across your network, there are lots of questions that will arise. Perhaps the most important of which is, what part of the background check can you not live without?
Admittedly all areas of the background check are going to be important and may yield helpful information when protecting your organization. However, in the interest of time and cost, you can’t check on everything and will soon have to decide which factors of the screening are most important and relevant to your goals.

Why Do You Need A Contractor Screening Program?

The primary reason for having a contractor screening program is to mitigate risk – be that financial, legal, operational, or reputational risk. This means that anything related to those factors will be important to include in the scope of your screenings. In the context of a contractor screening program, criminal record information will likely be considered the most important.
While no one can predict if someone will be a risk to your organization, verifying that an individual does not have a history of such behavior is an important step in the screening process. By conducting comprehensive searches with a variety of databases such as national criminal databases and state repositories, and primary record sources, such as county courthouses or federal criminal record sources, a contractor’s criminal history can be reviewed to determine if there are any relevant convictions in their past. Comprehensive means using all their names and looking at residential addresses where they have resided for at least seven years. 
Criminal checks are the most widely used background screening search, regardless of the industry or role of the individual. These records provide more information about a contractor’s background so that an organization can determine if there is a potential risk if they are part of the service network. Any items relating to physical aggression, dishonesty, or theft would be of concern. An organization should look for patterns of behavior, escalating behaviors, and the nature and severity of the records that might be returned. 
To verify that a background check is based on accurate and completeContractor Screening Program information, it is important that the contractor’s complete legal names, that the date of birth provided is accurate, and that records are searched for in the jurisdictions where the individual has a residential history. To gather this information, the contractor is asked to provide their name, date of birth, and Social Security Number (SSN). From that information, an identity search is conducted across various sources to confirm that the information is complete and accurate. Once the proper name(s) is known, the date of birth is confirmed as accurate and the address history has been generated, this information is used to conduct the aforementioned criminal record checks.
For individuals who will be driving as part of their role in your service network, it may also be prudent to include a motor vehicle record (MVR) search. Most organizations are less concerned with the accrual driving infractions such as seatbelt or speeding issues. When running an MVR search, they focus on verifying the contractor is not going to be operating a vehicle with a suspended, revoked, or otherwise inactive license which may post an issue. Whether the individual is operating their vehicle for the work they do for you, or one of your company branded or owned vehicles, the MVR search can provide valuable information. Since it is also government-issued documentation, the results of this search can also be used to cross-reference the name and date of birth information as an additional verification step. 
While there are certainly other searches available for screening your service network, the criminal record searches – at the county or federal level – and driving record checks, will provide the most valuable and relevant information to mitigate organizational risk. Adding additional searches such as Sex Offender Registry verification or even drug testing can be helpful and worthy of consideration but always ensure the base of criminal record checks is the foundation upon which other services are added. 
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 Solutions has 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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