根据专业背景筛选协会 (PBSA) 的 2020 年调查，雇主将筛选成本列为头等大事。为了管理您的成本并避免花费超过实现准确和完整背景调查所需的费用，请采取以下步骤。
一些背景调查公司预先提供较低的套餐价格，但随后会增加大量隐藏费用。例如，您可能需要为超过 3 次验证尝试支付额外费用。这些背景调查公司也可能会为澄清模糊的背景调查结果收取额外费用。如果是这样，您的组织可能被多收费用。
为了获得高质量和准确的背景调查，有时无法避免从其他来源获取信息。例如，如果社会安全号码 (SSN) 追踪显示候选人的新地址信息，您的筛选公司可能需要在其他县进行刑事搜查，这将产生费用。或者，如果筛选人员在候选人的背景中因犯罪活动而受到“打击”，他们将需要进行法庭搜索以验证数据，这也可能产生费用。
When examining the cost of background screening, it can be helpful to think of costs in two groups. First, there’s the price your screening provider charges to obtain and report on individual background data. This price is usually agreed upon upfront and doesn’t fluctuate.
The second cost is in the form of variable fees, also called pass-through fees, charged by courts and data providers. When you work with a reputable screening company, these fees are not marked up and are passed directly to your organization. Pass-through fees should always be clearly laid out to you in detail, so you can avoid billing surprises down the road.
Pass-through fees can include the following:
County court fees
Statewide criminal data warehouses
Motor-vehicle record search fees
Access fees levied by third-party registries
Employment verification databases such as The Work Number
It’s important to note that variable or pass-through fees are not the same thing that some background check companies label “data entry and processing fees.” Such ambiguous-sounding charges are often a sign your screening provider is not reputable and may indeed be nickel-and-diming you.
Also, because fees are highly variable from county to county (some counties charge no access fees at all) and from database to database, your screening provider should charge you only when an access fee is incurred, rather than charging you a blanket extra fee for every search.
Why Some Background Checks Fees Are Necessary
Background checks are required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to include only the most accurate and up-to-date sources of information. To meet this requirement, your background screening company must often use multiple data sources to complete a quality background check, including those which generate a search fee.
Despite information available to the public through public records and over the internet, a thorough background check can’t rely on one data source, or only data sources that don’t carry a fee. There is no single “master database” housing all criminal history data, and background checks must rely on data from federal and county courts, sex offender registries, and other criminal databases. Depending on the source, your screening company will incur fees in order to obtain and verify data from those sources.
For the sake of transparency, a reputable screening company only passes on a court or third-party fee to you when necessary, instead of unnecessarily inflating the price of every background check. When done this way, you can see exactly what you’re paying for and avoid feeling like you’re being overcharged for services.
How to Avoid Feeling Nickeled-and-Dimed
According to a 2020 survey by the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA), employers named the cost of screening as a top concern. To manage your costs and avoid spending more than is necessary to achieve accurate and complete background checks, take the following steps.
Consider background check fees in the right context.
It’s important to see background check fees as an essential component of a high-quality screening program. Each pass-through fee represents the effort your background screening provider takes to deliver accurate background check results. Although a court fee or a database fee may add a few dollars to the cost of a background check, it is a minimal expense compared to the cost of a bad hire, which can run into the thousands of dollars in the form of lawsuits, reputational loss, and risks to workplace safety.
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Seek transparency in background check pricing.
Some background check companies offer a low package price upfront, but then add on a bunch of hidden fees later. For example, you might have to pay extra for more than three verification attempts. Those background check companies may also charge extra fees for clarifying vague background check results. If so, your organization is probably being overcharged.
To understand the reasons for each expense, you should ask about specific charges, including any hidden fees. Ask to see a list of extra fees levied by third parties and courts, and work with your provider to determine which are necessary for your program and which you should avoid.
Budget for background check fees in advance.
To get a quality and accurate background check, there are times when obtaining information from additional sources is unavoidable. For example, if a social security number (SSN) trace reveals new address information for a candidate, your screening company may need to conduct a criminal search in an additional county, which will incur a fee. Or if screeners get a “hit” for criminal activity in a candidate’s background, they will need to perform a court search to verify the data, which can also generate a fee.
An experienced background screening company can help you anticipate instances where you are likely to incur court and third-party fees. To get more clarity about when and why you will incur those fees, work with your background screening partner to set a budget for screening, which includes a list of which fees will be necessary to deliver the most complete background checks possible.
Conduct regular reviews of your background screening program.
To feel informed and empowered rather than taken advantage of, it’s essential to work with a background screening partner who offers transparent pricing and makes an effort to help you understand pass-through fees. Through scheduled quarterly reviews of your screening program, your screening provider can educate you about new product and service enhancements, and offer ideas for managing your screening costs over time. By identifying which kinds of screening products and services are right for your organization, you can understand related costs upfront and make sure they’re not a surprise later.