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Criminal background checks

Criminal background checks are the backbone of candidate screenings. Understand your candidate’s criminal history with fast and reliable data.

Let’s start with criminal background check basics

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What is a criminal background check?

Criminal background checks compile national and local records so you are aware of any reportable criminal records associated with your candidates. While criminal background checks can be used for service platforms or non-employment purposes, many companies run employer criminal background checks to make more informed hiring decisions, mitigate risk, enhance public safety, and build trusted teams efficiently.

Why is understanding a candidate’s criminal background check important?

There are many reasons why companies run criminal background checks for employment. Two key components to a criminal record check include:

Candidate eligibility and fit 

Does your candidate have a criminal record, or interactions with law enforcement, that could make it illegal or risky to perform the role? Are there specific offenses that might show up on a criminal record lookup that are critical for your organization to know? Criminal background checks help answer that question and allow you to make more informed hiring decisions.

Organizational risk 

A criminal background check for employment can help protect your brand’s reputation and reassure customers and employees of workplace safety. An accurate criminal record check from trusted law enforcement sources gives you additional peace of mind as you grow your workforce. 

Running criminal record background checks may seem daunting, but Checkr makes it easy to manage the process. With clear and intuitive messaging, you will know exactly where your candidate stands at every stage of the background check, from ordering a national criminal background check, to making your hiring decision.

Get a criminal background check with Checkr

Checkr’s AI-powered platform boosts the speed and accuracy of every background check. Backed by our expert research team, our comprehensive offering searches thousands of databases, law enforcement sources, and registries for a comprehensive report. Plus, our dashboard makes it easy to review results and understand what shows up on a background check. We provide holistic and in-depth employment criminal background checks so you can grow your business with public safety and security in mind. 

National Criminal Records Check

Identify which county records should be reviewed with this powerful primary search that queries over 900 million public records.

County Criminal Records Check

Search county records from any state for the most complete documentation of criminal history.

Federal Criminal Records Check

Search the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) for federal felony and misdemeanor convictions at the district level in federal courts.

State Criminal Records Check

Search state criminal record databases. This screening is dispatched in tandem with the County Criminal Record Check to ensure full coverage and case information.

Global Watchlist Search

Search a comprehensive network of domestic and international government watchlists for criminal history and industry bans.

Sex Offender Registry Searches

Search registries from all 50 states, Washington DC, and US territories. Reports will include the offender’s date of registration and current status.

SSN Trace and Address History

A powerful SSN trace searches through public and proprietary records to identify potential address history and aliases. Determine which counties and other databases should be searched for additional public records.

SSN-less Reports

If a candidate does not have or does not provide a SSN, it is still possible to run certain checks like motor vehicle records (MVR).

FACIS Searches

Fraud Abuse Control Information System (FACIS) screens for sanctions/adverse information in sensitive fields such as healthcare. Checkr offers two levels of checks for federal and state compliance.

Continuous Crim

Remove knowledge gaps by running ongoing criminal record checks in the background and get notified of reportable changes within your active workforce.

What to keep in mind when performing a background check

Checkr’s platform promotes fair and compliant practices with state of the art tools and technology. We are also your partner in education. When it comes to criminal background checks, here are the primary laws and best practices to consider.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

To build a compliant background check process, you must understand the FCRA and regional and local requirements around denying a candidate employment based on a criminal record.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The EEOC helps ensure that candidates are being treated fairly in the hiring process, and provides a framework for individualized assessments of a candidate’s background check.

Modern candidate experience

Background checks can be intimidating, Checkr improves the user experience with online educational tools, live support, and access to report status in our mobile-friendly candidate portal.

Ban the Box

“Ban the Box” is a collective term for regulations dictating when in the hiring process you may review a candidate’s criminal history check with the goal of ensuring fair access to employment.

Your company policy

At the end of the day, you define the terms of engagement for any role. A clear company policy regarding background checks that is applied consistently can help limit liability and risk.

Checkr builds fair chance into criminal background checks for employment

Checkr’s criminal background check platform uses modern technology to help you hire faster, while mitigating risk and maintaining compliance. In addition to leveraging software to improve efficiency and provide faster turnaround times, Checkr’s platform includes a suite of features that infuse fairness throughout the process. 

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To help you build fairness into the background check process, we offer accessible, easy to use tools that filter out charges which are not relevant to your business. Furthermore, Checkr’s dashboard makes it easy for you to conduct a “nature-time-nature” test during the adjudication process.

With 70 million+ working age Americans impacted by criminal records, community safety is about much more than restricting who you employ. Partnering with a modern background check provider like Checkr who offers the tools and data available today sets you up to screen and hire more eligible candidates into your workforce. 

Preview of the Fair Chance Playbook

Want to unlock a new, diverse talent pool?

Explore Checkr’s Fair Chance Playbook to learn why candidates with a criminal record can actually be the key to improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace. 

Featured solutions

Go beyond your typical criminal background check with Checkr’s advanced products and packages. Our offering powers at-scale hiring with less risk and more flexibility.

Continuous And International

International Background Checks

Manage global and local background checks in a single system with Checkr’s global platform which extends to 223 countries for international criminal record checks.

Continuous Crim

Get notified of any reportable changes to employee criminal records with Checkr’s continuous criminal records monitoring.

Explore more screenings with Checkr

Civil searches

Gain further insight into a candidate’s legal history beyond criminal activity with county or federal civil searches.

Employment Verifications

Verify work history outside the US while also surfacing data regarding criminal history and international watchlists.