Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I do pre-employment background checking?
Evidence suggests that up to a quarter of all candidates lie, embellish or distort the truth on their applications. Between 5% and 20% of applicants have a criminal record depending on the industry. If an applicant has had problems with credit, driving, or a criminal conviction, and then does it again after becoming your employee, you may be guilty of "negligent hiring" if you haven't done a background check. Workplace violence and employee theft are also increasing problems for many small businesses. Background checks by McAward - Cusanelli Associates, Inc. will significantly reduce your liability in both these areas.
What is "negligent hiring"?
In general, negligent hiring occurs when you knew, or should have known that an applicant had a past record and you did not check for it. It comes up when an employee, or in some circumstances an ex-employee, harms someone else where it would not have occurred except for the fact that this person was your employee. For example, if your employee has access to people's homes and then burglarizes a customer, it may be negligent hiring if that employee had a criminal record that you could have discovered with a background check.
What candidates or employees are most important to check?
Those in jobs that involve a high level of trust such as executives/management, working with children, the elderly, money/valueables/banking, driving, and having public contact. Additionally, checking is useful where there are job related licenses or educational requirements. You should tailor your searches to the specific requirements of the job.
When is it worth running background checks on current employees?
For some jobs, such as school bus drivers in New York State, periodic background checks are required. For others it may not be required, but it probably should be. You should do these checks anytime you would have a liability, if one of your employees was convicted of a crime, developed a problem paying bills, or with their driving record. It is best not to be caught by surprise and proper vetting can save lots of money and heartache down the road.
How much does a background check cost and what is included?
Costs vary depending on the number of leads, the data bases that need to be searched and how in depth you want the search to be. A typical background search ranges from $200 to $300. It often pays to spend a little more to be sure you are getting the information you need. The cost is really quite low compared to the liability for not checking. McAward - Cusanelli Associates, Inc. has set the standard for this industry and are the background specialists since 1966. Our cost is minimal and this includes our experience, expertise and knowledge, which is unsurpassed in our field.
What services should I request with my order?
We recommend that you request the following services to the extent that they are job related:
Criminal Convictions - For positions with managerial responsibility, a federal/civil and criminal district court check is recommended. In all cases, you should check conviction records on a county or state level where the individual has lived or worked more than a short period of time. Statewide checks are not always recommended as the quality of the state wide repository varies from state to state.
Address Verification from SS# and Credit History - It is very important that this be included in all background checks. This search matches a Social Security number to credit bureau demographics and other records to see if the number is valid and who it is assigned to. It is designed to identify someone who is using someone else's Social Security number.
Motor Vehicle Records - Should be checked for anyone who drives a vehicle on the job as well as where a DWI, moving violations or history of not paying traffic fines would impact the job.
What states are available for statewide/county criminal background checks? In addition, do you provide criminal background checks internationally?
McAward - Cusanelli Associates, Inc. can provide criminal background checks in all 50 states, in all the Canadian Providences and abroad. In almost all domestic cases, checking for criminal records at the county level will result in a more thorough and accurate search. This is because counties vary in the extent to which they report convictions to states. Some counties report much later than others, some report results from only certain courts. McAward - Cusanelli Associates, Inc. has the capability to check criminal records worldwide.
Is there anything that is an invasion of privacy or potentially illegal about background checking?
All searches are conducted using information that is a matter of public record and will only be shared with clients who have a documented "permissible purpose" to use the information under the law (such as pre-employment screening). We adhere to all industry standards and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. We can answer questions about the general way in which this information can be used. Specific legal questions should be referred to an attorney.
Isn't this information available on the Internet?
Some information is available on the Internet if you want to take the time to find it. Before using this information, make sure you read the disclaimers carefully. In our experience, even state agencies sometimes put incomplete or unreliable information on the net. We get most of our information from researchers who go into the locations where records are stored and do their searches there. When we get information on-line, it comes from specialized secured data bases that are only available with the proper training and a paid subscription.
What happens if the information is wrong?
Most of the time, public records information is correct, however, data entry errors, misinterpretations, and incomplete records do sometimes occur. You should always try to get corroborating information before basing an important decision on what you find out. If you decide not to hire someone based on information supplied in a background check, you must give the applicant the name, address and phone number of our agency and we in turn will provide them with a copy of their report after they have complied with the necessary paperwork. We have forms (adverse notices) you can use for this purpose and can provide follow up information on all of our background checks.
What is required to have you conduct a pre-employment background check?
It is simple. All you have to do is fax or email us with the candidate's application, provide us with information about how far we are to delve into the background, and include a signed FCRA authorization form, including the candidate's Social Security number and date of birth. (We can supply the necessary form if you do not have one) Our form has space for that data, including room for a driver's license number, in the event you require motor vehicle performance.
We'll take over from there and get your report back to you within the time frame you require.