How important a factor should background checking cost be when you are choosing a background firm? There are employers who believe that background checking services are just a commodity. They just believe that all background checking is done in the same manner. When that is the belief choosing a background checking cost will determine which background checking vendor will be selected. Employers must get beyond just looking at background checking cost and compare proposals on an apples to apples basis. Some background checking firms will produce lower background checking cost by shortening the time they go back into the records. They will also reduce costs by hiring the cheapest available labor to process important information. Some will even hire at home labor to process their searches. Imaging how applicants would feel if they knew their most personal information resided in someone’s home with little or no security. Let me give you an example of apples to apples. One of my clients called me last week and told me that they had received an offer that would reduce their background checking costs by over $5 per report. Fortunately she was astute enough to send me the proposal and ask me if it were comparable. The way the background checking firm was able to provide those “savings” in background checking costs was to provide a criminal background report on only the most recent county of residence compared to what my company did which was to provide reports on every county that the applicant had lived in. That’s a major difference but it is just an example of how a less astute employer would wind up not getting what they thought they were paying for. So the answer is that background checking cost should never be the determining factor in choosing a background checking firm. That choice is just too important.

Sandy Steinman

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