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Background Checks vs. Private Investigators

background screening company piWhen you’re going through the hiring process, trying to find the perfect employee, you may wonder what lengths you’ll have to go through to ensure that your new hire isn’t, say, a sex offender or a noted credit card fraudster. Some executives even consider going as far as to hire a private investigator to get the dirt on their potential employees. But is it worth it? Would thorough background screening checks suffice? Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to determine what’s right for you:

What kind of information do I need?

If you want to know if the job candidate is cheating on his wife, then you should absolutely hire a private investigator. If you want to know whether a candidate is who they say they are, and if their qualifications are legitimate, then a background screening service will be able to provide you all this and more. While a private investigator may be able to scratch the surface of these types of information, they typically won’t have access to the breadth of information that a screening service uses. For example, here at JD Palatine, we use dozens of databases across multiple states to get a thorough picture of a person’s professional (and in some cases, personal) history.

How much am I looking to spend?

When it comes to a private investigator, the sky’s the limit on costs! You could pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for an investigation, along with paying for expenses. Meanwhile, a thorough background check that looks for education history, job history, credit history and more could cost only a couple hundred dollars for thorough information culled from dozens of databases, websites and court records.

What’s at stake for me?

When you’re hiring a high-level employee, there can be plenty at stake. For example, mis-hiring a financial officer in your company could lead to lawsuits or accounting problems down the road. Meanwhile, mishandling how you conduct an investigation could land your company in a lot of hot water. For example, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires you to get consent before conducting a background check on a potential employee. Background screening services are able to stay on top of the latest laws and ensure compliance at local, state and federal levels, giving you and your company peace of mind.

At the end of the day, deciding how to screen employees comes down to you. Just know that a private investigator is not the only option. When you’re looking for a thorough screening service solution, a qualified background check company can provide you with all the information you need – and often at a fraction of the cost.

Would you rather use a background screening company or a private investigator? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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