Are Government Background Checks too Slow?

By Michael Klazema on 10/29/2013

It's a question that has been asked over and over again in the background check industry: when it comes to employment screening, who gets the job done better, federal agencies or private companies? Often, employers assume that the government will do "better" background checks because it has a wider ranger of resources and more immediate access to court files, arrest reports, criminal records, and other databases.

In reality, private organizations sometimes have more resources than government agencies and can locate an applicant's "red flags"-ostensibly, criminal records with a serious criminal conviction-just as well as any federal, state or local entity. With products like US OneSEARCH, is a firm which can cover more ground more quickly than the average government agency.

The USOneSEARCH product has access to well over 1,000 local and state sources throughout the country, checking a subject's name and birth date against some 450 million criminal records. Furthermore, the US OneSEARCH based background check reports can literally be completed in seconds, giving organizations the information they need to make an informed decision about applicants and other subjects sooner rather than later.

Instantaneous background reports and accountability are enough to make independent background check companies competitive with federal, state and local government organizations in most situations, and can handily outstrip what government background checkers can do. Take a recent news story out of New York State, where some caretaking companies are being forced to wait between 4 and 6 weeks to get background check reports back from a state-run screening program.

Such a lengthy wait leaves these caretaking businesses-many of which provide care for disabled people-in a tight spot. State law dictates that employees must pass a background check before being permitted to work by themselves with a disabled customer. The fear is that, if backgrounds go unchecked for weeks, some organizations will provisionally hire a person and unscrupulous employees will take advantage of their vulnerable wards.

With weeks or months elapsing between an interview and a start date, caretaking organizations are either forced to double up their employees-unapproved employees can work with the disabled as long as they are supervised by another person who has already passed the background check-or to hope that their promising candidates are willing to wait around, unemployed, for a background check to go through.

In other words, whether the issue is a necessary background checks or a gridlock of red tape, New York's state government doesn't appear to offer speedy employee screening solutions. Independent entities like, with instant criminal searches that span every state, would be able to address and solve such a problem in moments


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