Many companies assume that they are doing their due diligence when they perform a standard background check on a potential hire, business partner, or client. However, background checks can vary greatly in type, extent, and quality of the information they provide – what is "standard" anyway?

Private investigators make a distinction between two types of background checks: standard background checks (sometimes called basic, out of the box, or simple background checks), and extensive background checks like Trust and Safety Checks.  

  • Standard background checks:
    • Conducted online using automated tools, these checks usually only look for criminal records.
    • They are good for lower-level, low-risk positions because of the limited information they return, and because of the possibilities of errors in that information.
  • Extensive background checks:
    • Tailored to the needs to the client, these checks go much further than standard background checks and involve things like reference checks, social media analysis, interviews with colleagues, and more.
    • These checks are good for vetting people and organizations when your reputation, safety, or financial security depends on them. This is because of the depth of information analyzed, and because the contents of the check are verified by professionals.

Extensive background checks solve some of the fundamental flaws of standard background checks. Why are they better? 

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1. Extensive Background Checks Avoid The Mistakes of Standard Checks

Missing criminal records and falsely attributed convictions are common errors in standard background checks due to the fact that much of the US’s criminal records are stored on hundreds of local databases, some of which are not even digitized. To make things worse, statistical studies have found that thousands of people exist with the exact same name and date of birth. As a result, errors of duplication and false attribution are common in many background check systems.

Extensive background checks completed by private investigators counter these issues by verifying all records by hand and exploring other aspects of a subject’s record, like online activity.

Standard background check usually are limited to criminal matters. While it’s always a good idea to know if someone has arrests, charges, or convictions in their past, this is not a sure way to protect yourself or your company. Questionable behavior doesn’t make it onto a police blotter even though it may be troubling nonetheless. More in-depth searches like our Trust and Safety Checks can reveal:

  • Professional licenses
  • Known relatives/associates
  • Liens or judgements
  • Social media presences

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2. Extensive Background Checks Look For Deception 

It’s all too easy to beef up a resume by putting in false details about education or employment. From coaches to CEOs, these little white lies have consequences. 

We’ve investigated plenty of employees who stole from their employer, sexually harassed other employees, or otherwise turned out to be woefully underqualified for the position they were hired for. In almost all these cases, we found information in the employee’s past that should have disqualified them during the hiring process. So, why were they still hired? Because most hiring processes do nothing more than check for a criminal conviction and call a couple of references.

Social media investigations and employment verification by a private investigator can fix this problem and find out if someone is really telling the truth. Common questions we are asked to look into during extensive background checks include:

  • Does this candidate have significant conflicts of interest?
  • What is their work history really like?
  • Have they attended the schools etc. that they say they have?
  • Is there evidence that this employee behaves or has behaved illegally?
  • Would this employee’s behavior reflect poorly on the organization?

3. Extensive Background Checks Give You The Information You Need for Major Business Decisions

As a business or financial institution, each client you take on and each business partner you enter into a relationship with represents something of a gamble. Will they be able meet their financial commitments? Are they a legal liability? Are they a PR liability?

Part of extensive background checks involves researching the social media presences of employees and clients. Private investigators have uncovered everything from employees defaming their employer on social media, to business partners being affiliated with hate groups. An extensive background check can examine a person’s associates, business links, domestic and international financial links, and much more

4. Extensive Background Checks Have Human Smarts That Standard Background Checks Don’t

Private investigators have a critical, experienced eye that can be invaluable when it comes to analyzing data and, of course, following the law with respect to background checks. This means that they know when to withhold information that might open you up to legal action, and when to dig further on the basis of inconsistencies in the information they find. Private investigators understand the goals of each investigation and work with you to achieve them.

If you need an extensive background check to verify a candidate, vet a client, or get to know a potential business partner, an extensive background check package, like a Trust and Safety Check, include these crucial elements:

  • All names/aliases
  • DOB confirmation
  • Address(es) within the previous 7 years
  • Associated phone numbers
  • Criminal records
  • Sex Offender Registry check
  • Marital status and records
  • Professional licenses
  • Known relatives
  • Liens/judgements
  • Registered vehicles
  • Social media presence
  • Employment history

Extensive background checks will empower you to make the important decisions you need to move your business forward. 

Danny Boice
Danny Boice

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