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How do Background Check Companies Look up Criminal Records?

You're happy that you have a background check company to dig up the dirt on your candidates; however, sometimes you wonder how they unearth all that information! It's not as easy as you might think; there is a lot of work that goes into finding all the pieces in a person's record. Here are a few things that these background checking companies have to do in order to present you with accurate criminal backgrounds for all candidates.

Gathering Information – The first thing that these companies need is detailed information on the person in question. Most of the time, this information is provided by you, so where do you get this information? By asking the candidate you're considering for hire. Some of the information needed to begin the criminal background check is as follows: full name, date of birth, address (both current and previous), as well as work addresses. Although a candidate may fill out a form, he or she may lie about some of their personal information. This usually happens when the candidate is trying to hide something. If a candidate lies about their personal information, it can be very difficult for a background checking company to find their records. Since most systems require a perfect match, one small error in the person's birthday or street address would keep their record from surfacing. When this happens, the background check company must then try to pull the person's credit report. If this is done successfully, personal information can be pulled from the credit report.

State Records – Once all personal information has been collected, the background check company can then begin to search for criminal records. They start at the state level by searching through county and city databases for any criminal records that might exist. This is done by searching in cities and counties where the person has lived and worked. After going through each county or city, the background checking company will then access the state criminal record repository just to make sure that no criminal records have been missed.

Federal Records – There is a difference between state and federal records; if the candidate has federal criminal records, they will not show up in the state systems. This is why the background check company must also conduct a search at the federal level. This can be done by cross checking a variety of federal criminal databases. There are a handful of highly-reliable databases that these background checking companies use. Again, they are crossed referenced to make sure all criminal reports have been found.

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" We are very pleased with the thorough information and prompt response of your company. This latest report is very telling and gives us insights we would never have had any other way."

Floyd Fitzgibbons, CIC
President of Fitzgibbons & Associates

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