Undoubtedly, criminal records play a prominent role in any applicant’s background screening. However, it is important to use a credible and trusted Credit Reporting Agency (CRA) since the laws surrounding background screening are constantly changing. A criminal search can reveal an applicant’s criminal past or present and help determine their eligibility for hire. Criminal searches can help uncover if an applicant is applying under a false identity or if they have ever been convicted of misdemeanors or felonies. If a criminal search is not conducted, it can prove to be a costly hiring mistake, costing the company their time, resources, and reputation.
At Pre-Check, we know what it takes to conduct a quality criminal search to turnover the most accurate results to employers. One of the major differences that set us apart from other pre-employment screening companies is that we physically send researchers to courts to search for an applicant’s misdemeanor and felony convictions. This ensures the most accurate results in a timely manner. However, there are specific courts throughout the U.S. that are clerk-assisted. What this means is that Pre-Check’s researchers are not permitted to independently complete searches, since only court clerks are allowed access. This can often result in delays from several days to a few weeks for results to be returned. While we are at the mercy of these clerks and searches, we check in with the clerks daily for updates and/or ETAs. Once we receive an update or ETA, we make them available for our clients in our system.
Each clerk-assisted search is different and TAT is determined by the rules and regulations of the specific court being searched, the proficiency of the clerk that the search is designated to, and the method that the clerk uses to conduct searches. For example, a search for “John Smith” will be delayed even if the search comes back as “clear,” because the clerk will need to pull files to double-check identifiers (name, address, Social Security Number, date of birth) for all possible cases, even those that are initially a name match only. If John Smith is older, the delay may be greater; there will be more potential records if the applicant was born in 1960 than if he was born in 1990.
There are other factors involved in determining if a search is clerk-assisted. If a court is not clerk-assisted, a search may still become clerk-assisted if records dating beyond 2000 are located using the public access terminal at a courthouse. Courts frequently house physical files for older records offsite, and when a possible record is located, an order must be placed by the clerk for the file(s) to be sent from the housing site to the court. The delivery of these files varies from court to court. Sometimes the files are mailed the next day, and other times they are delivered on a weekly basis. Once the file is received at the courthouse, our researchers have to wait for the clerk to verify identifiers and full case information before they can report back to Pre-Check.
Unfortunately, when searches are clerk-assisted, we cannot control TATs; however, we do keep our clients informed every step of the way. With Pre-Check, you will never be kept out of the loop. We make sure we provide regular updates so that you always know the status of each of your applicants.