Bearak Reports - Asset Search and Information Verification Services
Bearak Reports Asset Search and Information Verification Services

Corporate Offices

40 Speen Street
Suite 403
Framingham, MA 01701
508-788-6660 (phone)
508-788-6642 (fax)

Questions and Answers About Background Investigations

Q. Why Should I Conduct a Background Check?

A. It makes sense for you to request a background check because it demonstrates you have established, implemented and documented safe hiring practices. Doing so enables you to:

  1. Choose the best-qualified applicant
  2. Provide a safer living and working environment
  3. Minimize theft of assets and vehicle accidents
  4. Avoid civil liabilities associated with negligent hiring practices

Q. Who Should I Conduct a Background Check on?

A. Depending on your situation, there are many different types of applicants whose background you should checked as a part of your routine decision making process:

  1. Prospective Employees
  2. Prospective Tenants
  3. Prospective Customers
  4. Prospective Business Partners
  5. Prospective Nannys and Baby Sitters
  6. Home Health Care Workers

Q. When Should I Check a Background?

A. There are a few different situations where a background check is important.  

  1. Prior to hiring
  2. Prior to annual review
  3. Prior to renting or granting credit
  4. Prior to entering into major business deals

Q. Should a Criminal Check be part of the Background investigation?

A. Yes, a Criminal Check should be part of the standard pre-employment screening process if the employee will work with other employees or customers or have access to money or valuable items. All candidates are not equal, and all job requirements are not the same. Over 70% of convicted criminals are returned to prison after parole? This means that the possibility of a convicted criminal performing another criminal act is very high.

Q. Is it possible to run a nationwide criminal records check?

A. No, it is not possible to run a nationwide on-line criminal records check.The only national database is maintained by the FBI National Criminal Information Center. This database is not available for private business employment or resident background checks.

Q. Since I cannot search nationwide, how do I know which jurisdiction to search?

A. Decide if you want to conduct a statewide or local county search. Begin in the state or county where the person lives. Additionally can run a Social Security Number Trace. This will tell you where the person lived in the past and provide any aliases associated with that social security number. Based on the results you can expand the scope of your search to include other states and counties where the person previously lived or worked.

Q. Which is better, a statewide Department of Correction search or an individual county court record search?

A. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Department of Correction databases typically include only felons who have been placed under the supervision of the Department of Correction. While they include felons who have been convicted by courts throughout the state, these records usually do not include records of offenders who have been convicted of misdemeanors or first-time felons who have been placed on probation under local supervision. Department of Correction databases usually include information about the current status of offenders following their release from incarceration; for example, their parole status and when they were released from supervision.

County court records usually include convictions, both misdemeanors and felonies, regardless of the agency that supervises the offender following conviction. However, the county court records do not include information about the status of the offender following conviction. In addition, county court records include only the records for that county. Therefore, if an applicant lives in one county, but commits a crime in another county you will receive an incomplete report unless the surrounding counties are not checked.

Q. Should I check driving records?

A. Driving records are very important if the employee will have access to a company car or driving employees, clients or cargo for your business. They typically reveal how well a person drives including convictions for Driving Under the Influence, speeding tickets and other moving violations.

Q. What is the difference between using a database or correspondent?

A. The results of a database search are available next business day. Searches conducted by correspondents are usually completed with in 72 hours.

  • One database search can simultaneously check multiple jurisdictions. Correspondents check one jurisdiction at a time.
  • Correspondents conduct the most in depth searches and provide the freshest information available. Databases do not contain comprehensive information from many counties and states. They also do not have up to date records. They acknowledge this by describing their information as “Best Available.”
  • Correspondents provide copies of documents included in a personnel file. A database provides a report with no supporting documentation.

Q. Do I need a signed release from the applicant before conducting a background check?

A. Yes, Federal Law (Fair Credit Reporting Act) requires potential employers to obtain a signed release for background screening purposes. This law protects the employer and applicant. The employer gets a chance to confirm the applicant's information, credentials, records and other information. The applicant has the opportunity to learn if there are any errors on their record due to mistaken identity or public record errors. In addition, we ask our clients to complete an application for services prior to a search.

Q. How long does it take to get the results of the background check?

A. Some reports are available the next business day while other information takes longer to provide. Many factors influence turn-around time including record accessibility, court requirements, government paperwork and database requirements, etc. We realize time is of the essence when you are making an employment decision and are committed to delivering information to you at the earliest possible time.

Q. How should I tell a potential employee we conduct background checks?

A. We suggest that you be upfront with your candidates and tell them all applicants will be reviewed and many factors (including the background) will be considered before an employment decision is made. Hiring the wrong person is expensive. Turnover is costly and it adversely impacts company morale. Requiring a background check presents a professional image of your company right from the beginning. It also gives the prospective employee an opportunity to explain any discrepancies you may uncover on their resume or application.

Q. Do I still need to conduct a background check if I am hiring a person through an Agency?

A. Yes, you should still conduct a thorough background check on someone referred by an agency. The agency's purpose is to place a candidate in a position. Often they are compensated based of their success. Allowing the same agency to conduct a background check is a conflict that may influence the scope and integrity of their investigation. Some placement firms now outsource their background checks because they realize conducting in-house investigations is a conflict of interest.

Q. What else can I do to verify the credentials of a candidate?

A. There is a lot you can do to gather information about a potential employee. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Have the prospect complete and sign a formal job application.
  • Establish chronology of work and education history. Look for unexplained gaps on an application or resume. If significant gaps exist, ask the candidate to help 'fill in the blanks.'
  • Personally contact all references or retain a service to make calls for you. Be sure to verify all information. Pay special attention to previous employers and determine subject’s eligibility for rehire.
  • Conduct a state or county criminal record search.
  • Require the person provide you with an original, current DMV record or order one.
  • Obtain a credit report to review the applicant’s financial status.
  • Verify education by calling schools or asking the applicant to provide copies of transcripts or diplomas.

For more information on pre-employment screening programs and background checks, please call 800-331-5677.


© 1992 - 2005 Bearak Reports, Inc.  All rights reserved. 
Bearak Reports -- 1257 Worcester Road -- Suite 308
Framingham, MA 01701