OMNIA Partners Blog

Background Screening 101: Your Questions Answered!

Posted by Sterling on June 03, 2019

In case you missed the webinar on "Background Screening 101" hosted by Sterling, you can view the On Demand version HERE.  To follow-up the webinar, in this post Sterling reveals the typical questions asked by employers and give practical answers needed to help develop a thorough screening program.


Originally shared on the Sterling Blog.

1. Why change to an outsourced provider?

Risk mitigation is the most compelling reason given to us by our customers. When using an outsourced provider, you place the expertise of fulfillment on the supplier. Enabling your supplier to “own” part of your recruitment process gives you peace of mind. With the most technical integrations in the industry, Sterling’s know-how helps you make the complex more efficient and effective for a seamless HR workflow experience. Using strategically developed technology and tried-and-tested methodology, we have successfully helped reduce time-to-hire, while helping to make the world a safer place.
In addition, with a screened workforce behind you, your customers, staff and other stakeholders can all have confidence in the robustness of your organization. The reality is that the difference between an organization that is fully accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) and one without, could be the difference between winning and losing a contract!

2. Will you tell me if I should or shouldn’t hire a potential employee?

No, Sterling is not a law firm, so we can’t offer legal advice on whether you should hire a candidate or not, but we most certainly can arm you with the best resources to make an informed decision. When we find adverse information, we note it according to how different it is to the original information submitted by your candidate by using flags in our system.
For example, if a candidate misquoted a start date at a previous employer and we discovered the actual start date was two months later, we would note this accordingly. If you think this should be considered a more serious discrepancy, don’t worry – we can amend our standard scoring to reflect what you would consider as a discrepancy.

3. If there are no regulations in place, should we still screen our employees?

At Sterling, our aim is to facilitate a safer workplace environment. Just because there aren’t any industry standards for the level you should screen your employees, it doesn’t mean there aren’t any risks of fraud or crime in your company. This is why we have industry specific Client Success Managers with subject matter expertise in their sector to help you discover any potential risk within your organization. From entry-level to C-suite executives, for SMBs to multinational corporate entities, we will explore each role and help you develop a program to mitigate risks.

4. Our recruitment agency conducts our pre-employment background checks, is this compliant?

This is a topic discussed often when working with companies who have a large contingent workforce, contractors or employees within the gig economy.
In short, yes this can be compliant, but this does not necessarily mean it is the best screening solution for your organization.
Sterling has been in the business of due diligence screening since 1975, giving us the experience and resources to operate at a high level – delivering screening programs with compliance at the forefront for companies of all sizes worldwide, supporting both hiring firms and recruitment agencies alike.
If you’re in any doubt that your agency is conducting the right checks or may be missing crucial information, then reach out to our Client Success Managers and we can help you review your current process and advise where we may be able to refine or even strengthen it.

5. Quick-fire candidate-related FAQs:

    • Will credit checks affect my candidate’s credit score?

In short, no. These checks are most typically run when the candidate is being placed in a control position, typically working within finance although this can also be portfolio management as well as asset management.

    • How long will the background check take?

Times vary significantly based on the type of searches conducted and the company that provides them. Sterling is proud to claim the fastest turnaround times in the industry for county courthouse records, the most common background check.
With automated digital access to 2,300+ US county jurisdictions, our CourtDirectTM fulfillment technology has lowered the turnaround time for criminal record searched to less than 24 hours (or one business day) in most cases. Most background screening companies promise turnaround times of 2-3 business days.
Remember, always loop in your legal counsel as there is significant variation between various State and Industry Laws. Your industry and job requirements will give you a good starting point.

    • What kind of data will you need on my candidate?

This will vary depending on what searches you run. If you’re looking to conduct a criminal background check, then we will need a signed proof that you have seen and verified the candidate’s ID and then a name and an email address. Once this has been obtained, we will take the responsibility of liaising with the candidate.
You need not worry about Turnaround times with our cutting-edge, proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) technology called Smart Data, we associate only relevant criminal information from courts for you. The use of cutting edge technology has been astounding – we increased the speed of our criminal searches by 40% year-over-year, and 66% of our criminal searches now close in an hour!

    • Will you contact my candidate’s current employer?

We will never contact a current employer without full permission from a candidate. When candidates are completing our forms, we will specifically ask if we can contact their current employer. We know that securing employment can be a very stressful time and that, often, the candidate will not want their current employer discovering they’re looking elsewhere.

    • Will my candidate be able to appeal a screening report?

Typically, HR departments and the governing bodies that we have partnerships with, strive to provide us with the most up-to-date information; but in the event, it is believed the information is inaccurate, Sterling has dedicated team members who will work to resolve any discrepancies.


We are more than aware that some questions may feel too simple or too complex to ask, but we also know background screening isn’t easy. Click here to read from our full repository of FAQs. Whatever questions you may have, our industry-leading subject matter experts are on hand to guide you through the process.

More questions? We’d love to hear from you.

Topics: Human Resources, Group Purchasing Organization, Background Checks & Drug Screening, Supply Chain Management, Procurement, gpo