There is no singular database that contains the entirety of criminal records across the country, unlike Hollywood portrays. To receive criminal information Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) utilize two methods of searching for criminal records: one is by going straight to the primary source of the information (ie: the county courthouse or federal district court where a crime was originally prosecuted) and the other is by searching an aggregated database(s).
Database only criminal history background checks are becoming increasingly popular. They are quick, they are inexpensive and they are easy to access. However, this can actually increase your liability, which will potentially cost much more than it saves. It is crucial when selecting a company to do background screens for you, that the company will do a thorough job; which means doing much more than a name-only search.
It has been an issue for individuals with a common name to have a background screen returned “red-flagged”, due to a person with the same name having a criminal history. Can you imagine how many possible records would come back on a name like John Smith? However, a good background screening company will perform due diligence and ensure that the person being screened is the same as the person who has a criminal record. By using Essential Screens you can count on numerous screening criteria, to ensure the record you receive is for the candidate in question.