Blogging background checking and security issues


State v. Private Enterprise

When it comes to background screening, the private and public sectors often clash. Maybe that’s not true…it’s more like the public sector treats the private sector like pests to be dealt with. Working for a background screening company I find that state agencies, because they aren’t subject to the same competitive pressures that private companies have to live with, are extremely inflexible and can be very difficult to work with.

For example, an employer is typically under a lot of pressure to get the background screening completed on a job applicant because once they’ve decided on who they want, they want to make an offer right away before that candidate is lost. However, if the employer chooses to do a state criminal check in say, Indiana, it could be eight weeks before the state gets around to completing the check. Who in the world came up with that great system?!? I suppose it’s nice that a state level check is even available, which is not the case in Ohio and a few other states, but the slow turnaround time renders the service nearly useless for many purposes. The employer then has to decide if it’s better to break with their internal policy and not do the state check (or hire the person before it’s complete), or hope that their applicant doesn’t find another job within the next two months.

State policies are much more difficult to influence and hold accountable than are policies held by private companies. For a private company the customer holds the leash. For the government, the people hold the leash and since most people are highly ignorant regarding background screening issues, there isn’t a lot of specific pressure applied. This may change in the future – that’s a big part of the reason I write this blog – but for now government agencies don’t tend to communicate well and don’t have a great deal of accountability for providing good service, high quality information or timely information.

Since private companies must work with government agencies to conduct background screening, greater accountability is needed at the state level. The current state of things drives those of us in the private background screening industry crazy.


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