What’s Missing from Your “National Background Check”

A reliable criminal background investigation is much more than an internet search of instant databases.

Many employers rely only on so-called “national” or “nationwide” criminal record databases. These databases, compiled by large data brokers, contain limited information from a few counties and state criminal records repositories and often miss more records than they find. They are also notorious for associating records to the wrong people.

Likewise, most states’ criminal records repositories are incomplete and should not be relied upon as a stand-alone background investigation. In fact, Texas’ state criminal records database is missing one-third of the criminal records found in Texas’ county courthouses. Also, the records found are consistently missing information key to a full understanding of the case.

Databases are great… as one source of potential criminal records. A reliable background investigation will only use databases in conjunction with the most accurate sources of criminal histories: the actual records of the court.

Imperative’s clients can’t afford cheap background checks. That’s why we conduct hands-on research of the records in each jurisdiction where the individual has resided. This ensures the locations most likely to contain records associated with an individual are thoroughly researched. In many cases, these locations’ records aren’t even provided to the database companies.

Imperative uses state and “national” databases only as “safety nets” that might identify records in locations not associated with an individual’s residence history. For example, if an individual were arrested for an offense while traveling, that offense might be found in a database. Because database records are often inaccurate or incomplete, Imperative always verifies database records before reporting them to our clients.