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The Kansas City metropolitan area, the state of Missouri’s second-largest metro following St. Louis, straddles the state line between Kansas and Missouri and contains 14 counties – nine in Missouri, five in Kansas. With a population of 2.1 million, these metro counties include Linn, Miami, Leavenworth, Wyandotte, and Johnson counties in Kansas and Bates, Caldwell, Clinton, Ray, Lafayette, Platte, Cass, Clay, and Jackson counties in Missouri.
An economic center on the Missouri River, the Kansas City metro features a complex economy that sustains multiple large industries. Health IT provider Cerner is the region’s largest employer, while companies such as AMC Theatres, GPS-maker Garmin, and Hallmark Cards have headquarters in the region. Its large geographic area leads many residents from surrounding counties to travel into its cities seeking work.
The Kansas City metropolitan area’s size and position make it an attractive location for individuals at all stages in their careers. Local businesses based in the region are much more likely to field applicants from different counties and even other states. Though this trend can provide a much-needed infusion of fresh talent into the area job market, it also demands a diligent hiring process, particularly regarding background checks.
Even if background checks are already a core part of the company’s hiring policy, Kansas City companies should evaluate the benefits of a more detailed search. Considering records from only one or two counties can cause employers to miss relevant records from another county in the metro; an applicant may have a clean record in Clinton County, Kansas, but a history of convictions in Platte County, Missouri.
The solution: a metro-wide background check. By casting a wide net to bring in relevant background check results from nearby counties, you can enhance employment certainty.
Regardless of the background check policies they establish, companies must always operate within the bounds of local rules and regulations intended to guarantee fair hiring practices. Though neither state has a wide-reaching “ban the box” law, the city of Kansas City prohibits employers from asking about criminal history on an initial application. Further, adverse decisions cannot be made solely based on a criminal past unless that past is substantially related to job duties.
Outside of this policy, the region broadly allows employers to consider arrest and conviction records during hiring. However, the Human Rights Commission recommends not basing decisions solely on this information.
backgroundchecks.com can help employers look for the tools they need to obtain and understand criminal records for applicants based in the Kansas City metro region. Our versatile options include our US OneSEARCH, which provides instant record search results for Johnson county in Kansas and Missouri’s Bates, Caldwell, Clinton, Ray, Lafayette, Platte, Cass, Clay, and Jackson counties. Some counties, including Linn, Miami, Leavenworth, and Wyandotte in Kansas, do not have instant results available. A direct courthouse search of these counties can instead provide the information you need.
To limit your search to Kansas or Missouri, a state-specific background check is the strongest option. To look more broadly throughout the Midwest, opt for a regional OneSEARCH, which allows you to include results from up to five states.
Criminal data in Missouri comes primarily from the state’s Administrative Office of the Courts (updated monthly) and the Department of Corrections (updated bi-weekly). The state sex offender registry is also included. Information gathered from these sources can include a subject’s:
Using these tools to develop a metro-wide background check policy, employers in Kansas City can improve their ability to tap into a diverse labor pool without taking unnecessary risks. Review your policies today and explore how these powerful reports can help grow your business.
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