How Does a Background Check API Work?

November 03, 2021
Checkr Editor

In our previous posts, we’ve discussed when you should integrate background checks into your platform and where to integrate background checks into your platform, but what is a background check API?

At a high level, a background check API covers these key areas: (1) initiating the background check, (2) the results of the background check itself, and (3) providing updates throughout the process. We’ll talk through how each of these simplifies and streamlines the user experience, making it an easy choice to incorporate background checks into your product.

Initiating the background check

The process to kick off a background check used to be—and still can be extremely manual. Imagine asking your candidate to fill out a paper consent form with their information and then having to manually enter it into a portal to start the background check. It depends entirely on you (or whoever is managing the process) to ensure the transfer of information is correct—not to mention the use of paper forms comes with security risks.

With a background check API like the one Checkr offers, you can streamline this process with two API calls, one that creates the candidate profile in your system and the other that creates the invitation.

Your product simply needs to capture the candidate’s basic information (such as email address) through something like an online form. That’s enough to create the candidate profile and pass that information through to the invitation. From there, the invitation call sends off an email to the candidate and they can fill out any missing information online to kick off their background check. In addition, the invitation collects candidate consent and facilitates compliance automatically. No paperwork or manual intervention is required.

The background check itself

This post from the Checkr Engineering blog goes into more detail about how background check data is gathered from various sources and how the data is subsequently packaged and translated into something that’s relevant and easily digestible. How does that affect the API that customers can access? A more robust API will contain the details of a background check report, down to the details of each search with line items such as case number, charge number, outcomes, court dates (where applicable), etc.

With this level of detail available, companies are able to more creatively and flexibly work with the information to build automated processes and workflows. Are there specific use cases where you’d like to create an escalation depending on the type of report and display the details of that report in an internal system? With a background check API, you can, and you don’t have to rely on passing information manually between multiple sources.

Providing updates

Depending on where you are integrating or want to integrate background checks, it’s important to understand the status of the background check throughout the process. Has the candidate completed providing their information? Is it pending? Are there issues with conducting the background check? Is it complete?

You can pass and incorporate the report status wherever you need to in your product by listening to Checkr webhooks or making API calls. For gig, on-demand, and two-sided marketplaces, if you offer a candidate account login, you can use the Checkr API to update the report status, and the candidate can check at any time to see the status of their background check. You can pass the same report status (as is or translated to a more relevant value) to end users who benefit from knowing if a background check has been completed on the candidate they are interacting with.

We’ve mentioned before, and we’ll say it again: the possibilities are endless as you think about how to best incorporate background checks into your product. A background check API makes it easy to incorporate a complex process and allows you to offer a seamless user experience without any heavy lifting.

Ready to implement background checks into your platform? Talk to our sales team today.

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