The truth about criminal background checks

Pre-hiring criminal background checks have become a must for companies in evaluating an employee. Instances of sexual harassment, work place violence, and theft can cost a company, not only directly, but also in litigation.

However conducting a criminal background check is not as easy as many believe, according to Justifacts. While there is a National Criminal Database that includes information from court records, law enforcement agencies, and corrections agencies, the data may not be complete or may be misleading. The same situation can be true of various private database search services available on the Internet. This is because the information contained within many of these databases is “static” and is not updated as changes occur in particular cases. Thus the records may not be completely accurate.

Searching the National Criminal Database can be useful in that is has a nationwide reach. A local court would not necessarily contain criminal records from another locality. Timedelays, expense, and court costs can also be avoided by consulting the National Criminal Database or a similar system.

A local court computer database, on the other hand, is “dynamic” in that information is continuously updated and is thus more up to date and accurate. One the other hand, while searching a court database will give a more complete look at the possible criminal record of a prospective employee, there are some disadvantages. If the prospective employee had been involved in a crime in another state, records of the crime might not show up in a local court search.

A good strategy, therefore, is to use any National Criminal Database only as a supplement to local court level research.

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