Industry Update 

While more and more companies today are conducting background checks on their new hires, many are forgetting to require the same of their contract employees. Contract staff, whether working on-site or off, are essentially working on behalf of your company, and may include, but not be limited to, such workers as temp-to-perm or on-site vendors. Why not require these types of staff to adhere to the same background standards you require of your own employees? The answer is – you shouldn’t!

Equally as important as the fact that contract workers should be background checked is knowing the level of screening that the contractors are performing. Too many companies are willing to accept, at face value, their contractors’ claims of performing background checks and are satisfied with that. Don’t assume that their screening criteria and hiring standards are comparable to yours. Best practice would indicate that you:

  • Share with the contractor your specific screening requirements. If your requirements for a specific job function are to conduct a 7 Year Criminal Record search in all counties identified in an address history search, ask them to mirror these standards. If you include alias names, make sure that is included as well.
  • Make sure that your search definitions are the same. There are too many misconceptions, misrepresentations and misunderstandings about what various searches include and it is important that everyone is on the same page.

A point of caution: A common misconception among employers is that you automatically have the right to review the background check of a candidate your contractor has screened. Do not make this assumption. The FCRA prohibits a company from sharing with another party any consumer report ordered on an applicant for purposes related to employment without the signed consent of the applicant. Therefore unless specific consent has been granted to you by the contractor candidate, you do not have the right to review the report. How do you ensure that the standards you’ve set forth for the contractor are met? You essentially have three options:

  1. Communicate your hiring standards for what constitutes an acceptable candidate, cede control of the process to your contractor and have them certify with each candidate/contract employee they place with you that the individual has met your standards or
  2. Consult an employment attorney who can modify the Applicant Release form to legally allow you to review such information.
  3. Use the Integrated Screening Partners Co-op Screening® system which allows member companies to have access to vendor companies’ screening reports. This screening service reduces redundant searches by requiring a single background screen per contractor staff member, versus multiple screens on the same contractor staff in order to accommodate multiple clients. This type of screening system standardizes the background search criteria, is FCRA compliant with regard to third-party access to reports and has an annual “re-screening” component for added peace-of-mind. The ISP Co-op Screening® system is an effective, efficient and cost saving alternative for both vendors and their clients.

Obviously, open and direct communication with regard to working with contracting companies is key to ensuring that your standards are being upheld. A formal and contractually-accepted understanding of expectations with clearly defined parameters is essential in avoiding problems down the road.

For more information on background screening for contractors, or to find out more about Integrated Screening Partners’ “Co-op Screening Plan,” email us at or contact one of our employment screening specialists at 800-474-4420 option 4.


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About Integrated Screening Partners
For employers dedicated to identifying higher quality employees, Integrated Screening Partners (ISP) has become the preferred source. We understand the importance of investing in human capital and our goal is to provide the essential information you require to make the right hiring decisions in the shortest amount of time possible. Our global client list includes Fortune 100, small and midsize companies as well as education institutions and trade associations.

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