How to Choose the Right Background Check Site for Your Needs

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By Richard

In today’s competitive job market and rental landscape, conducting background checks on potential employees or tenants is more important than ever. With many background check services available, choosing the right one for your needs can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the best background check sites available.

Why Background Checks Matter

Employment background checks are crucial for ensuring the safety and integrity of your workplace. They provide valuable insights into a candidate’s criminal history, credit reports, driving records, educational background, and employment history. Similarly, landlords rely on background checks to assess the credibility and reliability of potential tenants.

Step 1: Determine Your Background Check Needs

Before diving into the world of background check services, it’s important to evaluate your specific needs. Different industries and positions require varying levels of background checks. For example, jobs in education or public safety often require criminal and sex offender record checks, while positions handling confidential information may necessitate felony record checks.

Consider the types of information you truly need to make an informed decision. Common types of background checks include criminal records, credit reports, driving records, verification of personal information, social media use, work history, reference checks, and worker’s compensation history. Understanding your specific requirements will help you narrow down the best background check service.

Step 2: Explore Your Options

There are two main options regarding background check sites: full-service companies and DIY websites.

Full-Service Companies

Full-service companies take care of the entire background check process for you. They conduct thorough investigations into criminal records, employment history, and any other checks you deem necessary. These companies are committed to legal compliance, ensuring that you adhere to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulations.

Some reputable full-service companies include First Advantage, GoodHire, and Checkr. These companies offer quick turnaround times, detailed reports, and user-friendly interfaces. They also provide options for international background checks, making them suitable for companies with a global presence.

DIY Websites

DIY websites, on the other hand, allow you to conduct background checks on your own. These websites operate similarly to search engines, enabling you to search for a person’s name and obtain results from various records. However, it’s important to note that the information found through DIY websites may not always be accurate or complete, and many of these websites are not FCRA compliant.

If you choose to go the DIY route, consider using a reputable website like, which offers FCRA-compliant services. Remember that collecting fragmented information from multiple sources may present risks and challenges.

Alternative Options

If you’re using an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to manage your hiring process, you can access a background check service directly from your existing account. For example, Workable has partnered with Checkr to offer seamless background check requests within the same platform. This integration ensures FCRA compliance and streamlines the hiring process.

Step 3: Evaluate Your Options

Once you’ve narrowed your choices, evaluating different background check services based on specific criteria is crucial. Consider the following factors:

Legal Compliance

Ensure the background check provider is FCRA compliant and adheres to all applicable laws and regulations. Full-service companies are typically compliant, but when using DIY websites, inquire about their compliance or carefully review their terms and conditions.

Types of Background Checks

Each background check provider offers different types of checks. Some may include education verification, drug tests, or healthcare sanctions. Assess your specific needs and choose a provider that offers the most relevant and comprehensive checks for your industry.


Cost is an important factor to consider when choosing a background check service. Prices can vary depending on the investigation level needed and the report’s depth. Full-service companies usually charge a flat fee per case, while DIY websites may offer more affordable options. Request detailed price estimates to understand the cost allocation within each package.

Turnaround Time

Consider the turnaround time provided by each background check service. The best background check services should provide timely results, ideally within a couple of days for standard checks. Delays in the background check process can disrupt your hiring or tenant selection timeline, potentially causing you to miss out on top candidates.

Ease of Use

Evaluate the user interface and overall ease of use of the background check service, especially if you opt for a DIY website. Ensure that the website is intuitive and user-friendly, as you don’t want to waste time figuring out complex processes. Quick and efficient navigation will streamline your investigation process.

Additional Factors

Pay attention to any additional factors that may influence your decision. Consider positive factors such as endorsements from trusted sources or negative factors such as recent lawsuits against a particular provider. These additional elements can guide you toward making the best choice for your background check needs.

Step 4: Ensure Legal Compliance

When conducting background checks, it is crucial to comply with all legal regulations, particularly the guidelines set by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Avoid any form of discrimination during the hiring process, such as basing background check decisions on a candidate’s race, age, or other protected characteristics. Additionally, genetic information should never be part of a background check.

Familiarize yourself with the specific regulations related to background screening in your state or county. Stay informed about the latest updates to ensure compliance and protect your company from potential legal issues.


Choosing the best background check service for your needs requires careful evaluation of your specific requirements, thorough research of available options, and consideration of key factors such as legal compliance, types of background checks provided, cost, turnaround time, and ease of use.

By following these steps and conducting due diligence, you can make an informed decision and ensure a safe and reliable workforce or tenant base. Remember always to prioritize legal compliance and adhere to the regulations set by the FCRA and EEOC.

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