Numerous public and private employers require background checks for employment purposes. Certain applicants are also required to have a background check to obtain professional licensure. State law requires that schools, day care centers, health care facilities and others require specialty background checks as part of the hiring process. To help ensure a more thorough criminal background check, employers may need to consider more than one type of criminal history check.

A standard background check goes back seven years into the applicant’s history. The states Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) conduct BCI background checks. The BCI oversees compiling criminal records, which are routinely accessed for background checks. A BCI background check will also include fingerprints and summaries of filed police reports. Court records at the local, county and state level will also be included that can only extend to so many misdemeanors, violations of city ordinances and bad check charges. Other records such as restraining orders, mental records or orders of protection may or may not be revealed.

All FBI background checks include a summary of an applicant’s criminal history. The FBI compiles criminal history through information gathered from fingerprint matches obtained by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The fingerprint investigation only applies to positions designated as “security or safety sensitive.” This investigation reviews an individual’s entire criminal history based on their fingerprints. The FBI database maintains an individual’s record until a person is ninety-nine years of age.

A BCI fingerprint searches only the state of Ohio whereas the FBI is a national database search. An HR professional can obtain either a BCI or an FBI depending on the reason for the fingerprinting. Having both the BCI and the FBI searches completed are important for applicant’s who have lived in another state in the past five years. In addition to the differences in criminal record reporting, there are also numerous jurisdictions and different types of jurisdictions across the United States, and the jurisdictions typically do not communicate with each other.

Background checks are a valuable safety measure that eliminates those who may not be suitable for certain types of work. Knowing what to expect as an HR professional can help ease concerns. Employers that understand the extensive selection of criminal history background checks available will be able to develop more highly-effective and efficient background screening programs that identify the best talent and meets the needs of the business.