The 3 Types of Background Checks3 Types of Background Checks (1)

At our private investigation and background screening company, our most frequently ordered service is the background check. Our first question to a potential is, “what kind of information are you looking for and what is the situation that is triggering you to look into someone’s background.”  There are three (3) types of background checks and we are going to talk more about what they can uncover, what situations they are best used for and which ones can be done discreetly without authorization or notice to the subject.

Obtaining background information on an individual often occurs in these three situations.

  • Before you hire an employee to work at your company.
  • At the onset of litigation it is common to look at the background of the plaintiff, witnesses and any parties that will be deposed or testify as their credibility is crucial.
  • During the M&A (Merger & Acquisition or when you are looking to acquire a company it is important to understand the background of the owner and key executives.

While looking into someone’s background is an excellent business practice, not all types of background checks are made the same. Some of them are extensive and verify the person’s previous employment, location, assets, litigation history, and so on. Others will simply see if the person has ever been convicted of a crime. And sometimes, that little bit of info is all you need to make a decision.

So how do you figure out how much information you need? How deep do you really need to go in order to get the job done?

Here are the three main types of background checks and what is usually involved with them.


Pre-Employment Background Checks / Employment Background Checks

This background check is sort of self-explanatory. It is primarily used to determine if a potential employee is a good fit for a company. Plain and simple.

There are some important things you need to know about pre-employment screening, though.

  • Should ONLY be conducted by an employer seeking to hire the applicant as an employee
  • You have to get permission from the person being screened before you can do anything
  • There are a set of rules that must be followed from the FCRA. Check them out here
  • The employee is entitled to obtain a consumer copy once the background check is completed

A pre-employment background check typically involves searching for criminal records, pulling a driving record, verifying employment and education.  This type of background check is the lowest priced of the three we will review. A typical employment background check will range from $30 to $100 per applicant. The variability in price will come from how wide you look in terms of counties searched and whether or not you conduct verifications of employment or education.

A very basic background check that only looks for criminal convictions can be turned around in 24-72 hours or less.

Background Checks for Litigation

If you are involved in litigation it is crucial that you understand everything you can about all of the parties (Plaintiff, Defendant, Witnesses & Experts).  The credibility of the parties will play a huge role in the outcome of the case.  In these situations a background check can be conducted without authorization or notice.  This allows you to discreetly look at everything from criminal records to social media.  A typical litigation background check might include the following;

  • Verification of Information (Name/Alias, SSN, DOB)
  • Address/Residence History
  • Criminal Court Searches (State & Federal)- Counties/States of Residence
  • Civil Court Searches (State & Federal)- Counties/States of Residence
  • Multi-state Criminal search with watch lists and sex offender searches
  • Patriot Act Watch List
  • Sex Offender Search
  • National Security & Terrorism Watch Lists
  • OFAC (Office of Foreign Asset Control)
  • Interpol Most Wanted List
  • OIG
  • General Services Administration Excluded Parties System List
  • Denied Persons List
  • Corporate & Business Affiliations
  • Consumer Public Filings
    • Bankruptcies
    • Judgments
    • Liens
  • Professional Licenses
  • News/Media Searches
  • Social Media

The information that you uncover in a litigation background check can give you the upper hand or maybe even the evidence you need to swing the scale of justice in your favor.

Social media is especially revealing. A lot of people don’t realize how incriminating some photos they post can be. Pictures of consuming alcohol inappropriately, being around certain people or places that they shouldn’t, or even saying things that they shouldn’t.

Every legal case is different. Because of that, a background check can be tailored to focus on finding the information you need for litigation purposes. You don’t necessarily need to know every unlawful thing a person has done, just the stuff that is relevant to your case.

These investigations can be a little bit more expensive than a pre-employment check. The starting price is usually in the $300 to $1,000 range and can take anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks to complete.

If you need a litigation background check be sure to partner with an investigation firm that has the resources, experience and databases required to uncover the necessary information.

Due Diligence Background Checks

If you are looking at acquiring a business, partnering with a business or engaging in M&A activity a due diligence background check can be your friend.  Due Diligence Background checks can be done discreetly and the can be conducted on individuals and businesses.

The components of a due diligence background check would include the elements referenced in the Litigation – Legal Background section, but they will also include the following;

  • Assets
  • Related Entities / Subsidiaries
  • Licensing/Regulation Checks
  • Trade Journal / Media Research
  • Corporate Filing Review
  • Regulatory Sanctions
  • Interviews
  • Business / Professional License (review/verification)
  • Domain Names

The information uncovered in a Due Diligence Background Check will tell you if the acquiring company will be able to successfully operate the succeeding business.  It will tell you if the buyer is bankable and can secure the necessary financing required to operate the business.  You will learn about litigation, both civil and criminal that can impact credibility. A snapshot of social activities and relationships will be evident in reviewing social media and potential family law cases.

In the end you will have a full profile of owners, executives and key employees of a business you are looking acquire.  This will help you in structuring and negotiating a deal after all of the facts are on the table.