Background checks give power to employers looking to hire and manage employees.
But with so many vendors on the market, how do you know the best background check service to choose?
Below, we’ve listed our top ten best background check companies of 2021 for employers to help you find the perfect solution to properly protect your business.
We’ve also covered what to look out for and many common FAQs. Keep reading to learn more.
Best Background Check Services for Employers
When searching for the best background check providers, it’s important first to understand your company and its needs.
A background check company that offers unlimited reports but requires a monthly subscription, for example, isn’t the best fit for a mom & pop company that wants to purchase single reports one at a time.
While there are positive features that transcend unique needs, like reliable customer support, you’ll be aided in your search for the best background check company by understanding your own needs vis-a-vis background checks.
Below are the 10 top background check service providers of 2021, ranked according to the highest combined performance in areas such as cost, turnaround, and accuracy.
ScoutLogic combines the best of versatility, affordability, and support, making it the top background check service provider of 2021. Whether you need to conduct background checks related to motor vehicle records or dredge up hard to find social media accounts, ScoutLogic has you covered.
ScoutLogic’s main benefit is its unique Scout service model, which pairs each company with a dedicated customer support point of contact. That “scout” is available any time to explain background checks, request additional information, and ensure that all social security numbers and other confidential information written up in background checks remains private.
ScoutLogic is so popular they are continuously being rated the best background check service.
- Great customer service
- Accurate background checks
- Variety of pricing options
- Longer wait time for premium screenings
2. Best for Integrating with CareerBuilder — Accurate
Accurate Background Screening recently acquired its background check business from CareerBuilder.
Along with the many other firms folded into its business, Accurate has the power to provide comprehensive reports and background checks with global reach.
Select which background checks you want performed, such as education verification and address history, and after paying a one time setup fee, enjoy unlimited reports. Of course, you are constricted to plans requiring a monthly fee, so this may not be the best service for small-time companies looking to hire on a candidate by candidate basis.
- Global capabilities
- Personalized reports
- Unreliable customer support
- Reports of inaccurate results
3. Best for Global Checks — HireRight
For all your Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) compliant needs, check out HireRight. HireRight distinguishes itself from other background check services by providing top notch services like employment background checks/employment history/employment verification and sex offender registry searches while always staying on the good side of credit reporting agencies.
Though there have been reports of partial or incomplete background checks (including missing contact details), they still remain on the top rankings of background check sites by providing the most comprehensive reports with supportive customer service to back them up.
- Good user interface
- Easy to read reports
- Fast background check process
- Reports of incomplete background checks
- Difficult onboarding/integration process
4. Best for Giant Companies — Sterling Talent Solutions
Sterling is known for its expertise with criminal background checks. They include over 2300 county records for the best county criminal court search, which includes on the ground court runners who check what is not online or up to date, to get the most comprehensive reports to you.
In addition to civil records checks and social security number trace services, Sterling is a perfect compliment for the multinational corporation who needs batch background checks.
Their onboarding process could use some tinkering, as the trade-off of global capacity is often reliable customer support, but if its criminal backgrounds you’re worried about, Sterling is the right background check service for you.
- Unlimited Background Checks with monthly fee
- Comprehensive criminal records check capabilities
- No capability for individual or à la carte background checks
- Slow turnaround
5. Best for High Volume & Self Service — Checkr
If you want personal data handled discretely for a low monthly subscription fee, Checkr offers some of the best background check services in the industry.
From unlimited searches on criminal records to conducting employment verification and employment history checks on even the smallest of small businesses listed on resumes, Checkr comes through for background checks.
Though some customers have reported that some data, like alumni details for education verification, must be manually retrieved, Checkr’s background check reports boast the unique feature of being automated. If quick, easy to read, FCRA-compliant reports are what you’re looking for, Checkr is your best background check bet.
- Easy, automated background checks
- Up to date privacy and compliance standards
- Not much customization
- Some data must be manually retrieved
6. Best for Startups — BeenVerified
7. Best for the Digitally Disinclined — GoodHire
8. Best for Short Term Value — PeopleLooker
9. Best for Alcohol and Drug Screenings — Universal Background Screening
10. Best for Property Managers — Rentberry
What Employers Should Look for in Background Check Providers
From small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, no hiring process is complete without a great background check service.
Many background check companies specialize in one type of background report or another, from motor vehicle reports on motor vehicle records, to sex offender registry searches, to identify verification, the best background check sites combine speed with comprehensiveness.
There are however certain background check services that are required whether you’re running an international media group, or oversee a collection of small businesses.
Dedicated Client Support
Some professional background screeners are suited toward global operations, which means their services come automated, and after payment of a one time setup fee, hiring managers are left to themselves to navigate searches as complex as employment verification and criminal searches.
Unsurprisingly, conducting county criminal court and civil records searches is no easy task.
You’re going to want a dedicated client support liaison, or at least the guarantee of an all hours call center to help you through the background screening process.
Comprehensive Menu of Options
Maybe you run a business which actively seeks out rehabilitated sex offender felons to serve in front line customer service. In that case, you won’t want to bother with searching criminal history and criminal records checks. The best background check service providers offer a buffet of search options to choose from.
From education history to sex offender searches, a background check company that has more capabilities is more often than not simply a better pick. More resources means more staff, which means more support, which means better service.
Fair Credit Reporting Act Accreditation and Compliance
You can conduct as many searches into criminal history and professional license verification as you like, it won’t matter if you aren’t Fair Credit Reporting Act compliant.
The FCRA is regulated by the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau, a national association that has established rules by which professional background screeners must obey.
These rules cover ground from privacy when conducting a social security number trace on candidates, to accessing and requesting information from the sex offender registry.
Candidates who feel misrepresented by background checks or feel their data was wrongly breached can file lawsuits through the CPFB, so it’s best to stay on the legal side of professional and personal background checks by investigating the FCRA compliance history of your best background check services pick.
Some background check companies require a one time setup fee and then a monthly subscription, and from there open you up to unlimited searches at no additional cost.
Some have a fully customized dashboard of à la carte services, from reference checks to criminal searches.
A good background check provider won’t necessarily offer a selection of high cost monthly plans with lots of features and pick and choose single report services. Some companies cater to big businesses with bulk demands, and some to mom and pops with low-scale demands.
This is where it’s important to know what background check services you want, and how you want them.
Online / Mobile App Functionality
A background check service without full online / mobile app functionality isn’t going to cut it for a leading digital publisher, national association, or other busy, high profile company with constantly evolving needs.
Everything from motor vehicle records to criminal records have gone online. The outfit you choose needs to meet the world there.
* What is the best background check platform?
The best background check platform depends subjectively on the wants and needs of the company or person requiring their service.
For employers who need the best overall background check platform, we’ve rated ScoutLogic as the #1 choice.
Their straightforward service tailored for hiring professionals, Scout service model, clear pricing, and more set them apart from the rest of the pack when it comes to employer’s needs for checks.
* What do background check services perform?
Background checks are all about identity verification. They are a way of verifying that a candidate for a job:
- Is who they say they are
- Can stand up to a social security number trace
- Passes individual client demands (has no criminal history, isn’t a sex offender, etc.)
Honesty is the foundation of all good relationships, and if you catch a candidate in a lie early on, chances are you’ll catch them in a lie later, when it’s too late — once you’re paying them to represent you. Identity verification is key.
* Why would my company need comprehensive background checks?
The internet’s unlimited trove of information and ease of search functionality has tricked us into believing we can answer any question with a simple Google search.
But the truth is, questions of identity verification, professional license verification, international employment verification, and address history won’t turn up in a cursory Google search.
You need a team of experts who know where to look, how to look, and who have the tools. Search records are complex, and learning to read them is like learning to read another language. Good background check sites ensure things like reference checks and criminal searches will be explained following reports that include them in their findings.
* What is the most reliable background check site?
All the background check sites in the top five of this review are reliable, though if you decide to go with something else, make sure to look extensively into their operations and services.
Affiliation with NAPBS, or the National Association of Professional Background Screeners, is a good sign that the company you’re interested in can handle things like education verification requests and identity verification searches.
* What company do most employers use for background checks?
Companies tend to go with the best background check services provided for their particular needs, whether that be small businesses looking for modest education verification services, or huge conglomerates looking for complex, bulk education verification services.
* What are the best online background check sites?
It’s important to make sure that background check companies have online capabilities. Some provide background checks completely online, or via mobile app.
Providers like BeenVerified and ScoutLogic are known for their comprehensive online capabilities, and reliable customer support.
Background checks are the backbone of any good hiring process. Understanding where your business’s needs lie and finding the top background screening company to fulfil those needs is key to success.
Ultimately, the route you take to discover the perfect screening service for your business is up to you. What’s most important is that you protect your company by using a dependable and reputable background check service to responsibly hire in today’s market.