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Are You At Risk For Inaccurate Background Checks? 3 Questions To Ask Your Screener

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Are you making hiring decisions based on inaccurate background check data? If your background screening provider provides background check results that misreport a personal record, known as a false-positive, you could risk legal liability if you hire or deny employment based on those results. Ask these three questions to find out if your provider is putting you at risk for false-positives.

Is your provider putting you at risk of making hiring decisions based on inaccurate background check information? This could happen to you if your screening provider delivers background check results that misreport a personal record, known as a false-positive. A false-positive may occur if your provider’s search derives from a simple database search, if your provider reports a name match with insufficient other identifying information, or if your provider returns a record that has been expunged, set aside, or misreported.

A false-positive result in background screenings is a double-edged sword, with the potential to damage both your company and your candidate or employee, and can throw a serious wrench in your hiring process. Not only does it create a delay during the background screening process, but if you take action (to hire or deny employment) based on the false-positive results, the potential for legal issues grows larger.

Here are three questions to ask your screening provider to find out if they’re putting you at risk for false-positive background checks.

1. Does your screener’s platform include built-in technology to reduce false-positives?

Because providers search countless disparate databases for needed candidate background information, for both speed and accuracy, it’s important to use a screener that has a system in place that automatically cross-checks record data for accuracy.

A compliance-minded provider, such as GoodHire, that uses a technologically-advanced platform or system can automatically flag, classify, and tag records correctly; has a built-in way to automatically apply legal reporting restrictions according to your and your candidate’s locations; and has a manual checking process in place for positive results. This checking system can expand beyond contained search perimeters to cross-reference with other sources to reduce false positives.

GoodHire’s platform uses automated filters to evaluate every record and applies a set of rules to determine whether a record can be shown based on local laws applicable to both the employer and candidate—which is critical if you’re hiring in multiple states. 

2. What is your screener doing to ensure maximum possible accuracy for background check results?

While the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) “follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of the information concerning the individual about whom the report relates,” not all screeners provide the same level of support and due diligence to reduce false-positives.

Background check vendors that claim they can deliver “instant results” may skip this step, increasing the likelihood of a false-positive. A reliable, FCRA-compliant background check provider will have processes in place, such as manual reviews by a quality assurance team, to review results, cross-reference data, and verify it for accuracy. This allows a screener to identify and remove duplicate records, confirm whether the record belongs to the candidate, and review results to assess whether they can be legally reported.

If your provider is not following current standard regulations set forth by state and federal governments, your company may be at risk for compliance violations and legal issues. 

At GoodHire, we have a dedicated, in-house, FCRA-certified QA team that stays on top of federal and state laws and reviews all background check results with hits to ensure maximum possible accuracy.

3. What is your screening provider’s dispute rate?

CRAs are required by law to investigate any dispute filed by a candidate and to review the report for accuracy. If the CRA cannot verify that the record is accurate and belongs to the candidate, the CRA is required to remove the record from the report. Records may also be removed during the dispute process if they are not legally reportable under local law. The resulting ‘dispute rate,’ or the ratio of legitimate candidate disputes to the total number of screens run, offers insight into the provider’s ability to provide accurate background check results. After all, your candidates are less likely to dispute records that are accurate and correct.

Although your provider’s dispute rate might not be visible on their website, they are legally compelled to inform you if you ask them. A lower dispute rate is a good indication that the provider is using reliable data, has a system in place to ensure accuracy, and is delivering correct and complete results the first time, every time. 

GoodHire’s dispute rate is less than 0.1%, among the lowest in the industry. If you’re experiencing an unusually high number of disputes from your applicants, it might be time to consider a new background check provider.

Work With A Compliance-Minded Provider

GoodHire is an industry-leading, accredited background check provider. We’ve been certified to check all the boxes for reducing the risk of false positives in background check results. 

  • We use trusted, relevant sources, and have an in-house, FCRA-certified QA team that reviews all background check results with records to ensure maximum possible accuracy.
  • Our in-house compliance experts monitor the regulatory landscape for changes that might affect you or your customers.
  • We have an industry-leading dispute rate of less than 0.1%.
  • Our platform uses automated filters to evaluate every record and applies a set of rules that determine whether that record may be reported based on laws where the candidate and employer are located.
  • Our technology improves efficiency by flagging records that may be duplicates, or records that may be incorrect or out of date, and removing records that cannot be compliantly reported. Records that are flagged will go through further review by our QA team to ensure maximum possible accuracy.

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The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. We advise you to consult your own counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.

About the Author

Rachel Koeling is a writer and editor with a passion for creating well-researched and engaging content. Her work often focuses on helping businesses improve employee experience and strengthen customer relationships. She aims to leverage her knowledge and skills for better communication, transparency, and understanding.