• Welcome to Checkr!

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    We're happy to partner with you to make your background check process more efficient, reduce your compliance risk, and improve your candidates' experience. As you get started with Checkr, you'll probably be doing one of a few things: running a report, managing candidate statuses, or adjudicating/reviewing reports.

    This quick start guide outlines the steps required when using the Checkr Dashboard. Other articles within this section provide more detail on each of the steps mentioned here, and link out to more information within the Help Center.

    Quick start guide

    Use the Checkr Dashboard to order and process background checks.

    1. Get credentialed
    2. Set up your account
    3. Order a background check
    4. Track candidates on the Checkr Dashboard
    5. Review completed reports
    6. Hire/place or decline candidates

    1. Get credentialed

    New accounts must be credentialed by Checkr’s Customer Success team before they will be allowed to request background checks. We use the information provided to assess the validity of the business and its permissible purpose. This process generally takes less than 1 business day.

    Please work with a Checkr Account Executive or Customer Success representative to create and credential your account.

    For more information, see Get credentialed to run background checks

    2. Set up your account

    Once your Checkr Account has been created and credentialed, your Account's Admin will receive an email from Checkr with a link to access the account. Your Admin will then set up your account, including your user roles and permissions, and your Geos, Programs, and Positive Adjudication Matrix.

    For an overview of this process, see Set up your Account.

    If you have questions, need tips, or want access to advanced features, please get in touch with the Checkr Customer Support team.

    3. Order your first background check

    Users with admin or requester roles (usually recruiters at your business) can invite candidates to a background check.

    Use the Candidates page in the Dashboard to order Reports. To begin background checks for multiple candidates simultaneously, click Order background check.

    CandidatesInviteCandidates.png

    Checkr will email your candidates a link, which will take them to a page hosted by Checkr. We'll collect the candidate's PII (personally identifiable information) and provide Disclosure and Authorization documents, including state-specific documents.

    To learn more, see Order a Report.

    To learn more about running checks, see our article "How do I request a background check?"

    4. Track candidates and reports on the Checkr Dashboard

    Once you order the background check, the candidate takes the next steps in the process:

    • Enter their Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Requested PII will vary by screenings ordered. For more information on what will be requested of your candidates, see the Screening Types section of the Checkr Help Center. 
    • Read the disclosure(s) and authorize that they consent to have a background report run.

    After your candidate consents to the check, the Report will appear in the Dashboard in a Pending state. Changes to the status of the report will be reflected in the Candidates page. Click into a report to see any returned records or results.

    You may also choose to receive email notification when the Status of a report changes. Use the Account Settings page in the Checkr Dashboard to define your email preferences. 

    For more information on tracking Report progress, see Review a completed Report.

    For more about report statuses, see "What does the status of the report indicate?"

    5. Review a background report

    All user roles can review background reports.

    Checkr provdes a simple, linear, color-coded format to make reviewing and assessing reports more efficient.

    Once a report has completed, click your candidate's name on the Candidate's page of the Dashboard to open their report. The report will display all screenings that have been processed for a given report. It will also apply color-coded formatting based on the results of that specific screening so you can quickly see which screening(s) are triggering a consider status.

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    6. Hire/place or decline candidates

    Based on the information in the report, use the Actions section of the Report to do one of two things:

    • Click Engage to indicate that you have reviewed the Report, and intend to hire or place the candidate
    • Click Pre Adverse Action to indicate that you have reviewed information marked Consider on the Report, and decided that you intend not to hire or place the candidate, based on that information.

    Clicking Engage will change the status of the candidate in the Dashboard, and add their data to our Analytics charts. Clicking Pre Adverse Action will initiate Checkr's Pre Adverse Action process, send your candidate an email notifying them of their status, and provide guidelines to help you remain compliant through the process. 

    For more information, see The Adverse Action Process: Deciding not to more forward with a candidate

  • Checkr lexicon: Get familiar with our terminology

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    A "lexicon" is the vocabulary of a specific language, individual speaker or group of speakers, or subject.

    "No-hitter," "go-ahead run," and "Baltimore chop" are part of the baseball lexicon.

    This document is the lexicon for Checkr. It defines the words that we use at Checkr to describe our platform, product, processes, and relationships. It exists to create consistency and clarity in messaging across the Checkr teams, and with Checkr customers.

    Note: This is a living document. These terms are subject to change at any time for greater clarity and precision. These terms do not imply any legal commitments and are for informational purposes only.

    Checkr lexicon

    Address Scope: The number of years of candidate address history Checkr will use to conduct criminal searches at the county/state level. For example, a 7-year Address Scope will trigger searches in counties associated with the candidate’s past seven years’ of address history.

    Adjudication: The process by which customers reviewing returned background check reports decide whether to proceed with the candidate’s hiring/engagement process. The adjudication process ends with either candidate engagement or candidate adverse action.

    Adverse Action: The process by which a customer, upon reviewing the results of the background check, informs the candidate that they may not move forward with the hiring process. When notifying candidates of this preliminary decision, customers must follow applicable Federal, State, and local laws. For employment purpose checks: including providing information on how to dispute any incorrect or outdated information in the report, before moving forward with or terminating the hiring process. Steps related to this process generally include:

    • Pre-Adverse Action: Process by which employer/platform notifies the candidate of their preliminary adverse engagement decision. This includes written notification to the candidate that the Adverse Action process has been initiated, provides the candidate with a copy of their background check and other applicable notices, and gives the candidate the opportunity to address any potential inaccuracies in their background check before the final engagement decision is made. Pre-Adverse Action applies to employment purpose background checks, including independent contractor relationships.
    • Post-Adverse Action: Process by which the employer/platform notifies the candidate of their final adverse engagement decision. This notification completes the Adverse Action process and is conducted after a minimum of 7 calendar days from the dispatch of the Pre-Adverse Action notice.

    Automated: A process that is enabled by software, and generally does not include human intervention. Automated processes are initiated, advanced, and completed by the Checkr platform, usually without synchronous human mediation.

    Candidate: The individual on whom a background check is run. Sometimes also referred to as the applicant.

    Candidate Experience: Checkr’s Candidate Experience team interacts directly with candidates. The team manages incoming phone calls, emails, and portal communications from candidates, and work to answer their questions and issues relating to their background check.

    Certification: The process by which customers certify to Checkr that proper consent (that is, disclosure and authorization) to run the background check has been obtained from the Candidate and their use of background reports complies with all applicable laws. Certification occurs at the time of report request whether through API or manual orders in the Checkr dashboard.

    Checkr Investigations: Checkr’s Investigations team investigates any candidate’s dispute of the accuracy, completeness, and reportability of information on the candidate’s report.

    Checkr QA: The Checkr Quality Assurance (QA) team manually reviews certain reports before completion, which may require additional research of record information or Personally Identifying Information (PII) to ensure accuracy and completeness of reporting.

    Disposition: The court’s determination regarding the outcome or status of a criminal charge. A criminal case contains one or more charges, and each individual charge contains its own disposition. For example: Charge 1: conviction; Charge 2: Dismissed.

    Dispute: Action of a candidate informing Checkr that there is information on their report that is potentially inaccurate, incomplete, or unreportable.

    Engage: To complete the hiring process, and allow the candidate to access your platform or your business.

    Exceptions: Issued when a Report cannot be completed as initially run. Exceptions usually require additional documents or information from the candidate to be resolved.

    Filter: Limit information from a data stream/reporting. Checkr applies filters that hide returned information for several reasons:

    • Compliance laws restrict the reporting of some information.
    • Customers decide to limit the information returned in their reports.
    • The identity of the record does not match that of the candidate.

    Offline Records: Also known as “physical” records, these records are available only in person at the courthouse, and are not available through the internet. These records must be retrieved in person, at specific locations, and during posted hours, typically by Court Researchers. There are two methods of offline record retrieval:

    • Public Access Terminal (PAT): Available at a computer terminal located at the court with records, not requiring clerk assistance.
    • Clerk-assisted search: Available through records searches that require clerks to retrieve the records.

    Online Records: Available through publicly accessible, online resources. These records may be obtained electronically and remotely but may be unavailable at some times and may require a fee to access. There may also be limited case information available online, such that comprehensive/complete case information must be accessed offline.

    Package: A defined group of screenings, offered as a set.

    Partner: A company with whom Checkr works to provide software and services to customers.

    Personally Identifiable Information (PII): Any information that can be used to identify a specific individual, such as name, social security number, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, or biometric records. PII can be sensitive or non-sensitive. Sensitive PII is information which, when disclosed, could result in harm to the individual whose privacy has been breached. Non-sensitive PII can be gathered from public records, phone books, corporate directories, and websites.

    Readily Available Index: The system of record in a given courthouse and/or county to identify criminal records that are generally accessible to the public. Researchers and/or court clerks identify potential criminal records for a candidate by conducting a search of the Readily Available Index. Also known as the Primarily Used Index.

    Runner/Court Researcher: People sent to courthouses to conduct public records searches. Runners work for Checkr’s partners to retrieve Offline Records when necessary.

    Salting: The process by which Checkr initiates searches with its vendors on previously discovered and verified records. When these searches are returned, Checkr then compares these results with those that were previously discovered. This process allows Checkr to test vendors’ accuracy and comprehensiveness.

    Screening: A specific background check search Checkr offers customers.

    Search Scope: Defines the length of time that records will be retrieved from the court. Specifically, the Search Scope is measured from the search initiation date back to the record’s file date. For example, a 5-year Search Scope will retrieve records where the record’s file date occurred within the last five years from the date of search request.

    Vendor: A company from whom Checkr purchases services and researched information.

     

  • Get credentialed to run background checks

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    This article will help you understand:

    Getting credentialed to run background checks

    Before gaining a Checkr test or production account, you must first create and credential your account.

    New accounts must be credentialed by Checkr’s Customer Support team before they will be allowed to request background checks. We use the information provided to assess the validity of the business and its permissible purpose. This process generally takes less than 1 business day.

    The background screening industry in the United States is heavily regulated by federal, state, and local levels of government, and primarily by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Checkr complies with these laws, and helps its customers comply, through multiple Checkr product features.

    Two key processes in the account authorization process also enable compliance: establishing permissible purpose, and confirming a compliant user interface workflow.

    Establishing permissible purpose

    You must have a permissible purpose to initiate a background check under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).  Permissible purposes under the FCRA include extending credit to a consumer, a "legitimate business purpose", and for an employment purpose. International background checks also require a permissible purpose. International lawful permissible purposes may be different from the FCRA permissible purposes, and will vary by country. We recommend you work with your legal counsel to ensure you choose the appropriate permissible purpose for the applicable location and your business needs.

    Checkr establishes a customer's permissible purpose by collecting and confirming a number of key details about the business entity running a background screen. Customers signing up through our automated flow will be asked to provide:

    • Legal business name (associated with Employer Identification Number)
    • Number of employees
    • Industry
    • State of incorporation
    • Doing Business As (DBA)
    • Corporate Website (If you do not have a corporate site, we’ll also accept a Bloomberg, Crunchbase, YP.com, YC, or Dun & Bradstreet Profile.)
    • Tax ID / Employer Identification Number (EIN)
    • Tax Classification
    • Purpose
    • Address and Phone Number

    Customers working directly with a Checkr Customer Success manager to set up their accounts will also be asked to provide a copy of their articles of incorporation.

    Some permissible purposes may impose additional legal requirements on the business entity running a background screen. For example, purposes involving checking a candidate's credit history require an onsite inspection of the entity's business premises.

    Next, visit Help me understand Checkr Packages for information on available screening packages. 

  • Set up your account

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    After you've been credentialed, Checkr Customer Success will issue an email to your designated Admin for the account, inviting them to log into the Checkr Dashboard. Once logged in, this account admin may configure your account to fit your business needs.

    To set up your account:

    Enter contact and billing information

    Use the Account Settings page to add an email address for Support, Billing, Technical Contact, Compliance Contact, and Adverse Action.

    For more information on these fields, see Define email addresses for notifications on the Account Settings page in the Checkr Help Center.

    Note: Some Checkr clients choose to use a shared inbox for most of these fields, enabling multiple people in your company to respond to these notifications.

    account_settings_-_users_-_email_and_info.png

    • Support email: Used by candidates to contact you if they need to supply evidence of rehabilitation or other context during the Adverse Action process.
    • Billing email: Used by Checkr to contact you about invoices and other billing communication.
    • Adverse action email: Used to send pre- and post- Adverse Action notices on your behalf to candidates. It's also the address that will receive undeliverable notices if an Adverse Action notice isn't deliverable to a candidate (for instance, if they have a mistyped email address on file).
    • Technical Contact: Your primary point of contact to communicate with Checkr about technical issues or updates to the Checkr API.
    • Compliance Contact: Your primary point of contact to communicate with Checkr about compliance issues or updates. Checkr will also post the results of candidate disputes to this email (for example, if we changed the information on a report).

    Add and manage users

    Use the Users tab of the Account Settings page to invite new users to your account.

    AccountSettingsUsers.png

    Invite new users by entering their email address and clicking Invite. Once invited, you can change their permission level using the role drop-down menu. Assign multiple roles to individual users to customize their Dashboard access.

    To learn more, see How do I invite or delete new users in my account?

    Note: It’s important to have more than one Admin on your account. If one Admin gets locked out of the account, the other Admin can unlock them.

    Configure Screenings and the Positive Adjudication Matrix

    Use the Screenings Settings page to manage your Programs, Packages, Geos, and Positive Adjudication Matrix.

    • Geos: Geos allow you to group candidates, screenings, or users by location, and help Checkr to determine the proper compliance rules to apply. For more information, see Geos: Segment candidates based on location in the Checkr Help Center.
    • Programs: Programs allow you to group screening Packages by job role (or, for staffing firms, for a certain client's requirements). Creating defined Programs lets you ensure that the right Screenings are executed for each job requirement. For more information, see Programs: Manage groups of similar candidates in the Checkr Help Center.
    • Positive Adjudication Matrix: allows you to define which types of charges you want to display on your background checks. Charges can be filtered by charge severity (misdemeanor vs. felony), dismissal status, and time elapsed since the disposition’s date. This allows you to make your hiring process more efficient and more compliant, by filtering out charges that you don’t wish to take into consideration when hiring. Once filtered, these charges (while still listed) will appear as Clear, rather than Consider, on your Reports.
      For more information, see Positive Adjudication Matrix: Reduce bias and increase efficiency in the Help Center’s Features section. Work with your Checkr Customer Success manager to enable this feature for your account.

    Live vs. Test Environments

    Checkr provides two environments for each new account: Live, and Test. You may toggle between your Live and Test environments using the two buttons in the top left of the Dashboard.

    The Test environment is provided to test API integrations. It is not designed for use by Dashboard-only customers, and will not provide test data for any calls originating within it. Any reports ordered from within the Test environment of the dashboard will result in the creation of a Test candidate with a Pending report. No emails will be issued inviting the candidate to participate in a background check. No screenings will be initiated, and the report will never progress beyond Pending.

    By default, all Checkr Test environments provide three candidates, which will also appear in Dashboard-only accounts. Contact information for these three candidates, including their name, will differ by account. Their Social Security Numbers are consistent for all Checkr Customers.

    Test environment candidates will have the Social Security Numbers 111-11-2001, 111-11-2002, and 111-11-2010.

    If you are using the Checkr API in addition to the Dashboard, Please see Using the Test environment in our API documentation for more information on working with these three test accounts.

     

  • Order a report

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    Use the Checkr Dashboard to order background checks for your candidates using the Checkr-Hosted Apply Flow. This feature helps you to remain compliant with FCRA suggestions by offering Checkr best-practice recommendations for both the personally identifiable information (PII) you're requesting from the candidate, and the forms and disclosures they'll read.

    Using the Checkr-Hosted Apply Flow has the benefits below:

    • You can invite multiple candidates to simultaneously participate in the background check process.
    • The flow captures and stores the candidate’s PII for you.
    • The flow provides required forms and disclosures for the candidate to acknowledge, helping you to remain compliant with FCRA rules.

    Checkr-hosted apply flow

    To issue invitation links to candidates using the Checkr-Hosted Apply Flow, use the steps below:

    1. Navigate to the Candidates page of the Checkr Dashboard.
    2. Click Order background check.
    3. Select a package (required), and a geo and/or program (if either/both are enabled). 
    4. Enter up to 25 email addresses to receive the invitation. 
    5. Click Send Invitations. The listed candidates will receive emails with an invitation link.

    Order_background_check_button.png

    Invite_Candidates_step.png

    After they receive the email, candidates can click the link to start the Checkr-Hosted Apply Flow.

    Note: When you invite a candidate, their name appears in the Candidates page with Invitation Sent as their status. After the candidate accepts the invitation and their background check completes, you can also click into and open their Report from the Candidates page.

    For more information, refer to Invite candidates by email in the Checkr Dashboard User Guide.

    Candidate experience

    When you invite candidates to participate in their background check using a Checkr-provided link, the Checkr-Hosted Apply Flow guides them through the next steps in the process.

    Candidates receive an email with your company's logo and links to start their background check.

    StartBackgroundCheckSm.png

    Clicking the link opens a window in which Checkr collects the candidate's PII and provides Disclosure and Authorization documents, including state-specific documents. Candidates will be asked to do the steps below:

    • Enter PII. The information required varies by screening, but most candidates will provide their name, Social Security number, date of birth, and current postal code.
    • Read the disclosure(s) and authorize that they consent to have a background report run.

    After your candidate submits their information and consents to the background check, Checkr begins to generate a report.

    Track the report’s progress

    After you send an invitation, use the Checkr Dashboard to track its progress.

    The Candidates page lists all reports in progress, from the moment the invitation is issued until the report completes. After the report completes, this page also lists actions your account has taken with the candidate as a result of the report’s completion.

    The Status column lists the report’s progress through the Checkr system.

    • Invitation Sent: Your invitation has been issued, but the candidate hasn't responded yet.
    • Pending: The report is processing and should in 2-3 days but could take longer if Checkr needs documentation from the candidate or if a particular check takes longer than expected.
    • Clear: The report is complete and has no information that your account flagged for review.
    • Consider: The report is complete and has information for your team to evaluate.
    • Suspended: The report can't complete because candidate information is missing or can't be verified.
    • Canceled: All screenings in the report were canceled.
    • Expired: Your candidate didn't respond to the invitation within 7 days.

    For more information, refer to What does the status of the report indicate? and When is the report added to my monthly invoice?

    The Adjudication column lists your company’s decision about whether to proceed with the candidate.

    • Engaged: Your company has decided to proceed with the hiring process.
    • Pre Adverse Action: Your company has initiated the Adverse Action process and notified the candidate that something on their report might prevent your hiring process from proceeding.
    • Post Adverse Action: Your company has completed the Adverse Action process.

    Get email updates about report status changes

    Checkr issues email notifications at several points during report generation.

    To receive updates, go to Account Settings > Your Email Preferences, and select the events you want email notifications about. For example, you might want to know when a report completes and has Clear or Consider status, or when a candidate invitation expires.

    Individual users in your account can set individual notification preferences.

    To learn more, refer to How do I manage my email notification preferences?

  • Review a completed report

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    Once your report is complete, Checkr provides easy to use visual clues to help you review the report more efficiently:

    From the Candidates page, click the status of a Report or go to report > to open it in the Dashboard.

    Background Check Report layout

    Background reports include different screenings, from Motor Vehicle Reports to criminal records checks to sex offender registries. Checkr's background reports follow a simple, linear, color-coded format to make reviewing and assessing reports more efficient.

    Reports are divided into several sections:

    • Candidate information: displays candidate PII, including name, zip code, and date of birth.
    • Report information: lists report information, including its status, turnaround time, and the Package that was run.
    • Actions: provides information on actions taken as a result of the report’s contents, including a log of actions performed, and options to Engage or Pre Adverse Action the candidate.
    • Exceptions, Aliases, and Addresses: provides additional details about the report, including exceptions that prevent the candidate from being verified.
    • Screenings and Statuses: lists all screenings processed for the report, color-coded to represent the screening’s status.

    ClearReportExample.png

    Evaluate “Clear” and “Consider” records

    Checkr marks both completed reports and the individual screenings included within them as Clear or Consider. The report’s status is Clear if all screenings return Clear, and Consider if one or more screenings returns Consider.

    • Reports marked Clear do not contain any potentially adverse information.
    • Reports marked Consider include information that must be reviewed by your team.

    Individual screenings within reports are also marked Clear or Consider, allowing you to quickly find records for your review.

    Click a Consider record to see more information that will help you make an informed decision about how to proceed. For instance, you will see the charge type, offense date, disposition, and sentencing information.

    To avoid unduly declining candidates, consider the job-relevance of each Consider report. This type of individualized assessment will also help you comply with guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as well as state and federal guidelines.

    Note: Some screenings return a status of Complete, rather than Clear or Consider. In some instances, such as SSN Trace and the National Criminal Database Check, this status is returned for a pointer search which is simply an operational step in the process and does not return actionable records. Complete is also returned for Verification screenings, such as our Education and Employment verifications. These screenings are simply completed, and therefore cannot be categorized as Clear or Consider.

    Checkr also provides the Positive Adjudication Matrix (PAM), which allows your account to set filters by which returned records will be tagged for review for your team. For example, you may decide that you don’t want your team to review any parking tickets greater than 3 years old, or any fish and game records of any age. For more information on this feature, please see Positive Adjudication Matrix: Reduce bias and increase efficiency in the Checkr Help Center.

    For more information on Checkr’s statuses, see What does the status of the report indicate? In the Checkr Help Center.

    Take action on completed reports

    Once a report is completed, your team may decide to proceed with the candidate, or reconsider their employment.

    • If you decide that the candidate fits your hiring requirements, you may Engage them.
    • If the candidate does not fit your requirements, you may choose to initiate an Adverse Action.

    Engage the candidate

    Click the Engage button in the Actions section of the report to indicate that you have reviewed the information that was returned, and decided to move forward with the candidate. Clicking Engage also allows you to track that decision within Checkr Analytics.

    Begin an Adverse Action process

    If you have reviewed the information included in the report and decided not to move forward with a Candidate, click the Pre Adverse Action button in the Actions section of the report.

    This will begin the Adverse Action process.

    Although responsibility and liability for the Adverse Action process ultimately lies with you as the end user, Checkr helps make it easier to maintain a compliant Adverse Action process.

    Checkr provides an automated Adverse Action process that issues emails to your candidates on your behalf. To initiate this process:

    • Click into the candidate’s report.
    • In the Actions section of the report, click Pre Adverse Action.
    • Select the charge for which the Pre Adverse Action email will be sent.
    • Enter the number of days after which the Post Adverse Action email will be sent, and click Preview Email.
    • Review the email Checkr will send your candidate, which will include a list of charges, as well as the necessary notices, a copy of the background report, and "A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act" as attachments.
    • Click Send pre-adverse action notice to initiate the process.

    Checkr will send the original email, and then wait the specified number of days, during which your candidate is encouraged to reach out to dispute the record, if applicable.

    If the candidate does not respond during this time, the Post Adverse Action email will be sent, informing the candidate that you will not move forward with their employment.

    The Adverse Action process may be cancelled at any time by clicking the Cancel Adverse Action button in the Actions section of the report.

    Please remember that the responsibility for remaining compliant with local and federal laws is your responsibility. Checkr provides a default and automated Adverse Action system in an effort to help you remain compliant. Please consult your internal counsel to ensure that your company operates within legal boundaries.

    For more information on our Adverse Action process, please see The Adverse Action Process: Deciding not to move forward with a candidate.

  • Compliance overview

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    This article will help you:

    • Understand your obligations under the FCRA and fair hiring laws
    • Set up Checkr’s compliance features
    • See how Checkr automatically provides locality-based compliance assistance

    Checkr is honored to be your partner, not just in background screening, but in compliance best practices that allow you to improve your hiring process and mitigate legal risk from legal violations. 

    Checkr is a member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), the industry trade association for Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRA). The NAPBS offers an accreditation program for Consumer Reporting Agencies. Governed by a strict and thorough set of professional standards, the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP) has become a widely recognized seal of approval that brings national recognition to an employment background screening-affiliated organization for its commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards, and continued institutional improvement. We are proud that the Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) awarded Checkr its accreditation in April 2015.

    We’ve put together this guide to help you understand how you can use Checkr’s solutions to make your hiring processes more compliant.

    What do you need to comply with, and why?

    All background checks for employment screening are governed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and comparable state laws. Under the FCRA, employment also covers independent contractor and volunteer relationships.

    Many states and municipalities also have locality-specific fair hiring laws such as “ban the box” laws, salary bans, and individualized assessment ordinances, based on guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

    Not complying with the FCRA or EEOC guidelines potentially exposes you to risk, including lawsuits from applicants or government investigations. The FCRA does not have a limitation on class action damages, so failure to comply can lead to extensive damages.

    Your compliance checklist

    We’ll help you set up your compliance framework using Checkr’s solutions with this checklist. This is not an exhaustive list, but it covers the main areas of opportunity to implement fairer hiring practices and avoid common areas of legal risk. Work with your legal counsel to check your state and local laws to make certain that you remain industry compliant. 

    • You must have a permissible purpose to initiate a background check under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Permissible purposes under the FCRA include extending credit to a consumer, a "legitimate business purpose", and for an employment purpose. International background checks also require a permissible purpose. International lawful permissible purposes may be different from the FCRA permissible purposes, and will vary by country. We recommend you work with your legal counsel to ensure you choose the appropriate permissible purpose for the applicable location and your business needs. 
    • Set up your disclosure and authorization forms. Before you screen a candidate you’ll need to inform them clearly of the background check process with a standalone disclosure. Then they’ll need to authorize you to proceed. Checkr hosts these forms in our hosted flow, but if you use manual orders or our API to run background checks, you’ll need to make sure that you deliver disclosures and gain authorization.
    • Create an Adverse Action procedure, and stick to it. If you decline to hire, engage, retain, or promote a candidate based on information in the background check report, protect yourself from legal exposure by making sure you give the candidate notice and maintain a reasonable waiting period before taking final action.
    • Set up the Positive Adjudication Matrix. Checkr’s powerful Positive Adjudication Matrix lets you de-emphasize offenses that are minor or not relevant to the job position to increase your efficiency by saving you time as you review reports and letting you hire more quickly. Consistently clearing crimes that are unrelated to the job also reduces your legal risk by eliminating subjectivity and bias in the hiring process.
    • Use the Individualized Assessment Tool. Some cities will issue fines if you don’t “show your work” for why you declined a candidate based on criminal history. Checkr’s assessment tool walks employers through the individualized assessment process, documents the analysis, and provides the assessment to the candidate. Train your team not to skip this step, and to use the required forms in the cities of New York and Los Angeles.
    • If doing credit checks, certify your purpose with Checkr. Several states and cities have laws limiting credit checks for employment purposes. Many require that the credit check relates to the job position (e.g. the job requires access to financial assets or confidential information). Contact Checkr’s Customer Success Team to verify that you have a permissible purpose before requesting a credit check in these locations.
    • Observe "Ban the Box" laws where you hire. Several states and cities have laws limiting how you discuss criminal or salary history with candidates. Each law is slightly different and may govern whether you can mention criminal history on a job description or application, when you can run a background check, and how you consider criminal records on a background report.

    How Checkr assists with compliance

    There are several areas of legal and compliance risk when it comes to fair hiring and employment-related background checks. That’s why Checkr automates areas where manual work can lead to errors. For example:

    • Based on candidate/employer location, Checkr can provide locality-specific compliance assistance.
    • For states that have separate disclosure requirements, Checkr will serve those disclosures to candidates in the hosted application flow.
    • For localities that have longer waiting periods than 7 days for adverse action notices, Checkr will automatically enforce the longer waiting period.
    • Use our Positive Adjudication Matrix to automatically de-emphasize minor or job-irrelevant offenses. If you’re not manually considering these offenses, your process is more likely to be consistent and compliant. It will also make you more efficient, saving you time as you review reports and enabling you to hire more quickly.
    • If you are hiring candidates in locations that require employer to “show their work” through individualized assessment, Checkr will automatically insert a step into the adverse action process to provide the individualized assessment, and send the documentation (or upload city-issued forms) to the candidate.

    Checkr's guidance should not be construed as legal advice, guidance, or counsel. Companies should consult their own legal counsel about their compliance responsibilities under the FCRA, Title VII, and applicable state laws. Checkr expressly disclaims any warranties or responsibility or damages associated with or arising out of information provided.

  • Checkr candidate experience overview

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    This document describes the Checkr candidate experience of the background check process. This document includes information about the Checkr Candidate Portal and Help Center where candidates can self serve and address common issues that can stall or delay their background checks. This document also includes common reasons candidates contact to Checkr and how you can address these issues.

    This document includes:

    Candidate process

    The Checkr API and the Checkr Dashboard provide an easy link-creation process to invite your candidates to initiate their background checks. Both methods result in the same candidate experience. After you order a background check for a candidate, the candidate must take the next step. The candidate must first consent to the background check, enter their personal information, and sign an authorization form to proceed. The process has the steps below:

    1. The candidate submits the requested personally identifiable information (PII), which Checkr uses to research their background.
    2. The candidate reads federal and state disclosures, informing them about the background check process.
    3. The candidate then selects whether to receive a copy of their background check after it completes.
    4. After the candidate authorizes Checkr to perform the background check, the background check process begins.

    After the candidate's background check is in progress, they can use the Checkr Candidate Portal for the tasks below:

    • Review the status of the pending report, or request a copy of the completed report.
    • Submit additional information or clarification through the exceptions process.
    • Dispute information if the candidate believes that the report has inaccurate information.

     

    Personally identifiable information (PII)

    Candidates are asked to submit their PII, which includes the information below:

    • First, middle, and last names
    • Date of birth (DOB)
    • Social Security number (SSN)
    • Current postal code
    • Contact information (phone number and email)
    • Driver license number

    Tip: If you're ordering background reports, tell your candidates to use their legal name as it appears on official documentation. Using their preferred names or nicknames can slow the background check process.

    Background checks

    On average, a background check takes 3-5 business days to complete, although some reports can take longer. For instance, a county in the candidate’s search that's understaffed and backlogged or experiencing severe weather or closures can delay the report.

    Checkr simply provides background check reports. Checkr isn't involved in engagement decisions and can't answer questions about adjudication.

    Exceptions

    An exception is an event that prevents a candidate's background report from processing. Exceptions usually happen because of inadequate or inaccurate candidate information. The candidate can often submit information that resolves the exception. In these cases, Checkr contacts candidates daily for 7 days to ask them to upload or resubmit the information to resolve discrepancies and proceed with the background check. 

    The example situations below result in exceptions:

    • Checkr can't validate a candidate's name or birth date.
    • Checkr can't pull a candidate's electronic motor vehicle record (MVR).

    In these situations, Checkr raises an exception describing the issue and a possible resolution. After the candidate submits the information, the report continues processing.

    If the exception is unresolved for 7 days, the report suspends. After 30 days, the Suspended status automatically changes to Complete or Canceled. Refer to Exceptions: Addressing data discrepancies in reports or Report suspended: How to resolve an exception on a suspended report.

    Disputes

    Candidates whose background check reports return with records might take an action below:

    • Contact you to provide evidence of rehabilitation or additional context for you to consider.
    • Contact Checkr by phone, email, or the Candidate Portal to dispute the report's accuracy. Candidates can also mail their disputes with supporting documents.

    When a candidate files a dispute, Checkr pauses the background check and changes the report status to Dispute. You can't take additional action until Checkr reinvestigates the alleged inaccuracy. After a candidate files a dispute, Checkr legally has 30 days to complete a reinvestigation but strives to complete reinvestigations as quickly as possible.

    Some examples of disputes include candidates informing Checkr that a reported record doesn't belong to them (and might belong to someone else with the same name) or that a disposition has changed and is now dismissed.

    Candidates might share the statements below as part of a dispute:

    • "The assault charge you reported is for a different Jane Doe in St. Louis."
    • "The petty theft conviction you reported was dismissed after I completed probation."

    Disputes can change how you evaluate a candidate, so they're an important part of the process. When reading a background report on the Candidate Portal, candidates can file a dispute using the “Report an Error” button at the bottom of the page. After the reinvestigation, Checkr makes needed changes to the report and notifies you (through email and the dashboard) and the candidate (by email) of the updates. If the reinvestigation finds that the disputed information is accurate and the report requires no changes, Checkr notifies you and the candidate that the report is accurate and complete in its original form.

    For more information, refer to How do candidates dispute their report's accuracy? 

    Candidate Portal

    Checkr provides a mobile-friendly Candidate Portal that makes it easy for candidates to find the status and ETA of their background check, access a copy of their completed report, upload documents, or dispute report inaccuracies.

    Candidates can also log in to the Candidate Portal to download a copy of their report for 6 months after it completes. To ensure the accuracy and recency of candidate information, Checkr limits candidate access to the Candidate Portal to 12 months after the most recent report's completion. If a candidate requests a copy of an older completed report, they can contact the Checkr Candidate Experience team to request a copy.

    To log in to the Candidate Portal, candidates enter their name, birth date, Social Security number, email, and phone number.

    Candidates might have trouble logging in to the Candidate Portal if the background check hasn't started yet or they enter incorrect information, such as the examples below:

    • A nickname instead of a legal name
    • Different email address from the original submission

    If a candidate contacts you after applying with their nickname, wants to update their email address, or submitted an incorrect birth date or Social Security number, redirect them to the Checkr Candidate Experience team. That team can help the candidate update their information or resolve the error through the exceptions process.

    Checkr Candidate Experience team

    The Checkr Candidate Experience team works to make the background check experience personal, simple, and fast. The team is in the United States and supports candidates in both English and Spanish. The team is available to support candidates with questions or concerns at any time after Checkr initiates their background check.

    The Candidate Portal and Checkr’s Candidate Experience team are there to support both candidates and you, our customers. You can direct your candidates to the Candidate Portal or to the Checkr Candidate Experience team when for questions about their background check status, to resolve an exception, or to learn what's on their completed report.

    Note: Checkr can't answer questions about your company's engagement decisions. For example, we can't explain to candidates why they weren't engaged because that's your decision. Also, if candidates want to provide context for an offense or show evidence of rehabilitation, they must contact you directly.

    Common candidate issues

    The issues below are the most common reasons that candidates contact you, our customers.

    • Pending county searches: Some counties rely on a manual records search, but others are available online. This difference means that county searches have varying completion times, from less than a day to several weeks. If a candidate contacts you and their report is pending in this final stage, you can redirect them to the Candidate Portal for live report status updates. Unfortunately, there is no way to expedite this final stage of the background search. The best way for the candidate to stay informed is to periodically check the Candidate Portal.

    For more information, direct candidates to Why is my background check still pending in the Checkr Candidate Help Center.

    • Social Security number (SSN) Trace: When submitting information for their application to your company, a candidate might mistype their Social Security number. In this situation, Checkr might be able to help. If a candidate contacts you after their report suspends because of an SSN Trace discrepancy, ask them to check the Candidate Portal or their email for a link to resubmit their SSN. The candidate can also ask the Checkr Candidate Experience team to resend the link to their email address. If the candidate can't resolve an SSN Trace discrepancy during the exception process, you can initiate a new report with the correct SSN that the candidate provides.
    • Background check is complete: A candidate might contact you after their report completes to ask about your engagement decision or next steps. Checkr doesn't assess candidate eligibility or make engagement decisions. Checkr can help your candidates with questions about information that their reports include. For questions about what specific charges, violations, or restrictions mean, Checkr recommends that candidates contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or court.
    • Inaccuracies on the report: A candidate might contact you to inform you that their report is "wrong." If the report has inaccuracies or information updated since the report originally completed, redirect the candidate to Checkr to file a dispute so that Checkr can reinvestigate.

    Refer to How do candidates dispute the accuracy of their report? for more information.

    • Requesting a new report: Completed background reports are static, but the information used to generate them can be updated. Your candidate might contact you after a report completes to update something that might have resulted in a Consider report status. To address this concern, you can redirect the candidate back to Checkr to dispute the previously reported information and update the report, if appropriate. If other report information is outdated, you might also request a new report. You can decide what to do for each candidate.
    • Checkr Health: When you select a Health Screening package, your candidate can use the Candidate Portal to schedule their health check at a convenient location. If the candidate doesn't complete their Checkr Health Screening within 7 days after receiving the invitation email, the report suspends. You must initiate a new report, if necessary. If your candidate contacts you about a missed health check, you decide the appropriate next steps.

    For more information, direct candidates to Checkr Health in the Checkr Candidate Help Center.

    • License status: A candidate’s license status might change since their last report, and they might notify you about the change. If the candidate wants to update the information on their completed background report, redirect them to Checkr to file a dispute. Checkr can then reinvestigate. If a candidate contacts you to ask about their accurate license status, redirect them to their state’s DMV to learn how the DMV reports their license status.

    For more information, direct candidates to MVR status in the Checkr Candidate Help Center.

    • MVR violations: A candidate might contact you to clarify violations that the state’s DMV reported. Reported violations might include paid traffic tickets, not-at-fault accidents, and suspensions resulting in a Consider report status. If a candidate contacts you wanting to explain or ask questions about accurately reported violations, accidents, or paid tickets, redirect them to their state’s DMV to learn how the DMV reports items on their MVR. If the candidate wants to dispute information on their MVR, redirect them to Checkr to file a dispute.

    For more information, direct candidates to MVR status in the Checkr Candidate Help Center.

    Checkr Help Center

    Checkr provides robust help documentation for both customers and candidates. Encourage your candidates to visit the Help Center for answers to their most frequently asked questions.

    Some of the most frequently used customer topics include the ones below:

  • How do background checks work?

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    Candidates

    Are you applying for a job or undergoing a background check? If so, please visit our Candidate FAQs to see answers to our most common questions or get help with your background check. This article is for employers who use Checkr.

    This article will help you:

    • Outline the different steps of the background check process
    • Determine which steps you (the employer) take and which steps the candidate takes

    Checkr's background check process

    Conducting background checks is a complex process. Using the Checkr Hosted Apply Flow helps simplify the process for you and your candidates, by automatically gathering the candidate PII required to process your requested screenings.

    Using the Checkr Hosted Apply Flow to order background checks results in the following workflow:

    BGC_workflow.png

    1. You request a background check.
    2. The candidate receives an email with a link that opens a window requesting that they authorize the check and provide their information.
    3. The candidate enters their Personally Identifying Information (PII), and signs a disclosure, consent and authorization form electronically. This information is securely transferred to Checkr, and allows the background check to proceed.

      CandidateEnterPII.png

    4. Checkr processes the information, and conducts all required screenings. These usually take around 3-5 business days to process.
    5. When the report is complete, Checkr posts it to the Checkr Dashboard. After the screenings finish, the report is posted to the Checkr Dashboard for your review. If they have requested it, a copy is also sent to your candidate.
    6. You review the report and determine the candidate's eligibility based on your criteria. Based on that information, you decide whether to engage the candidate or initiate an Adverse Action.
    Checkr screens both private and public databases to check for records that match the full name, date of birth, and address history of the candidate. This process is not as instantaneous as one may think, and often requires a manual check of public government records.

    How do background checks help your business?

    Background checks benefit both the consumer (the subject of the background report) and end user (an employer or contractee) in a variety of legal and practical ways.

    • Contract positions entail a level of risk between the customer and contractor. By requiring your sub contractors to undergo a background check before interfacing with the public, you can establish a community of trust and transparency.
    • Employers maintain the quality of their workforce. The background check process encourages honesty and communication with the employer, while employees maintain peace of mind amongst their colleagues.
    • Mitigate negligent hiring and wrongful termination lawsuits. The cost of employee litigation can cripple company capital and resources, and conducting a formal process to screen your employees will help you navigate legal requirements.

     

     

     

     

  • Feature comparison: Checkr Dashboard, APIs, and Partner Integrations

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    Checkr provides three ways to use the platform to order background checks for your candidates:

    These three options serve different customers, and different use cases. Our recommended option for most new customers is to use the Checkr Dashboard. In some cases, a customized implementation built on our APIs, or a Checkr Partner integration with your current ATS might better suit your business needs.

    Available Checkr options:

    Option Description
    Checkr Dashboard
    • Seamless sign-up process.
    • No heavy configuration or development work is required.
    • Multiple pre-configured background check packages available.
    • Hosted candidate sign-up flow.
    Checkr APIs
    • Run high-volume background checks with integrated candidate experience.
    • Receive status updates to your system through webhooks.
    • Manage your branding and user experience.
    • Create candidates and send invitations automatically.
    • Access to the Checkr Dashboard and the Checkr-Hosted Apply Flow.
    Partner Integration
    • Package pricing pre-negotiated at a fixed rate.
    • Seamless three-step signup process to connect your Partner and Checkr accounts.
    • Background check process integrated with your existing system of record and workflow.

     

    Checkr Dashboard

    The Checkr Dashboard provides an easy entry to the platform's functionality. Easy to follow workflows help customers order reports, manage their candidate pool, initiate adverse action processes, and analyze their team's productivity. We recommend this option for the vast majority of new customers due to its flexibility and ease of use.

    The benefits of using the Dashboard include:

    • Multiple pre-configured background check packages available
    • A hosted candidate sign-up flow that complies with federal and state laws
    • Shareable invitation links for each available background screening package
    • Customizable Programs, Geos, and Motor Vehicle Record rules
    • Option to manually order background checks
    • Integrated Analytics dashboards
    • Seamless sign-up process, no heavy configuration or development work needed

    If you're interested in using this option, reach out to our sales team at sales@checkr.com for inquiries.

    Checkr APIs

    Use Checkr's robust set of APIs integrate the Checkr platform features directly into your applications.  Use our APIs to create and update candidate profiles, order reports, and obtain report and screening results. Use our webhooks to receive notifications of all steps in the process. Checkr APIs also support advanced capabilities such as adverse action, identify verification, and ETA.

    If you're interested in using this option, see the Checkr API documentation. Please contact Checkr Customer Support if you wish to develop custom integrations using our API.

    Checkr Reports API

    The Reports API enables customers to create candidates and reports, without the need to link to a third-party site. Using the API allows you to manage the branding and user experience for the integration to align with your brand standards and user experiences.

    The benefits of the Reports API include:

    • Receive status updates to an internal system (Webhooks)
    • Save time by automatically sending invitations
    • Run a high volume of background checks with an integrated candidate experience 

    Important: The Checkr Reports API cannot create Credit Reports, Health Screenings, or International background check reports. These must be ordered through the Dashboard or the Invitation API.

    Checkr Invitation API

    The Invitation API allows customers to create candidates and send invitations automatically. This integration strikes a balance between the simplicity of the Checkr Dashboard and the customization options of a Reports API integration. The Invitation API requires less development work and maintenance than the Reports API while providing the benefit of the Checkr Dashboard and hosted flow.

    Partner Integrations

    Checkr Partner integrations provide customers the ability to use a single platform for multiple services. Checkr is dedicated to secure, reliable, and seamless integrations with all of our partners. When you use Checkr through a partner integration, you receive:

    • Fixed, pre-negotiated rate for background checks
    • Seamless three-step sign-up process to connect your Partner and Checkr accounts
    • System and workflow integration between your background check process and your existing system of record

    To see if we integrate with a system you use, see our current partner integrations. If one of these Partner Integrations is right for your company, please contact our sales team at sales@checkr.com to learn more..