“I did a database search – isn’t that enough?”


We get that question a lot.  The answer could be yes, but mostly it is NO.  Consumer reporting agencies (CRA) in general gather their information from the same public records.  With that said, a database search does not necessarily mean that you are getting the information you thought you were getting.  They are a great place to start!

The multi-jurisdictional database searches are a broad brush of millions of records across the Nation from local/state/federal agencies that have been acquired by data providers.  These records are not always complete.  For instance, in Colorado, many counties do not provide their records to data providers.  That could mean if your applicant was convicted of a crime in a non-reporting county, you may not see it on the completed report.

Usually the most cost-effective and best practice method of a good applicant screening will include the database search plus all counties your applicant has lived in the past 7 years.  By running county searches, you are more likely to receive all FCRA reportable convictions.


If you are not sure what you are checking in your applicant screening process, perhaps this is a great time to reach out to your CRA and ask for a coverage review.  If you need assistance, or would like Guardian to do a free analysis, simply email support@guardianbackgroundscreening.com


Whatever your organization’s pre-employment screening processes:

  • Remain consistent when reviewing your screening reports and determining employment eligibility
  • Be familiar with the many different local/state/federal laws that apply when using a background screening company
  • Periodically review your processes and search sources


Here are some questions to help you evaluate your processes:

  • What information are you looking for and why?
  • Is the information relevant to the hiring decision?
  • How will you fairly evaluate that information?
  • Is the information reliable? (is your vendor securing the information from courts, past employers, schools?)


*The preceding information has been provided as general educational information only. It is not legal advice, express or implied. Consultation with legal counsel in all matters of background screening law and compliance is recommended. *
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