Background Checkin On A Budget

Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes


  • Determine what you need to know about your candidate and then educate yourself on the different types of screening
  • Determine which type of background check to help you identify what’s in your budget and fulfills all your needs
  • The source of the information used in a background check plays heavily into the cost, speed, and comprehensiveness of a background check
  • Research your applicant, then determine what kind of background check you will need such as criminal records, sex offender registry status, and driving records

Did you know that when a resume is viewed by an employer, they only have 7 seconds on average to review the resume? Add this to the interview process and it can be difficult to ensure that you are fielding the right candidates for your organization. Is that nearly enough time to really make a confident hiring decision? Maybe. But wouldn’t it be nice to turn that “maybe” into something a little more concrete?

“By what? Doing a background check? Yeah, that would be nice, but they’re so expensive. I just don’t want to use the money on it.”

Implementing a background check policy might not be as expensive as you’d think. You just have to ensure that you’re picking the right background check for your organization.

Not All Background Checks Are The Same

In order to understand what the right back ground check is for you, we first need to explain why not all background checks are the same. There’s a perception that background checks come from a magical database in the sky – that they contain anything and everything you should know about your applicants. But did you know that this isn’t actually the case?

Background checks come in all shapes and sizes – none of which come from an all-encompassing database. The source of the information used in a background check plays heavily into the cost, speed, and comprehensiveness of a background check. Information collected from one source may require large amounts of research time or may have a high usage fee. For Example – the average court record fee is $5, but it costs $65 for county court records in New York. So how do you know which one you need?

How to Find the Right Background Check For You

Figuring out which background check you need and information you’ll use will get you on the right track for picking the right background check that’s in your budget and fulfils all your needs. So, how many types of background checks are there?

  1. Criminal Record – . Criminal records originate from the different court systems in the United States (i.e. municipal, county, or federal)
  2. Driving Record – Driving record information will come from state Departments of Motor Vehicles.
  3. Credit History – Credit information used in a credit report comes from many different types of institutions linked to a consumer’s finances.
  4. Employment Verifications – Employment verifications are used when verifying past employment
  5. Education Verifications – Education verifications are used when verifying past education
  6. References – References are used for the action of mentioning or promoting an employee’s past work
Compliant Background Screening Practices
The Companion Guide

The topic of Background Checks is a tricky labyrinth to navigate these days. Let us help with the directions.

So What Do You Need?

The important part to remember is that you need to focus on your needs. So, what do I mean? Consider the following:

John, an HR manager for a local school district, is finalizing the employment offer he plans to give to a new school bus driver he hired, Jane. Before finalizing Jane’s employment he realizes that he should run a background check. But the budget John has been given doesn’t leave him a lot of money to conduct background checks. So he finds the background check that focuses on his needs. John does his research and comes to the conclusion that he’ll need a background check that will explore Jane’s criminal history, sex offender registry status, and driving record.

Since John was able to focus on his needs, he was able to pick the right background check for him without having to sell the farm. Sometimes the bells and whistles can be nice and very appealing, but when you’re “background checkin on a budget”, focusing on your needs is definitely the way to go. The key to maintain your budget is to dig deep into what you REALLY need to know about your candidates. By educating yourself on the different types of screening out there, you can choose the specific screening types that are essential for your organization.

Closing Thoughts

Still not sure if you want to implement a background check policy? Well check out our podcast, “The Water Cooler Podcast”. On our recent episode, “Watch Your Back…With a Background Check”. The host, yours truly, is joined with industry expert, Hank Zerbe, where we discuss the value of a background check. We’d also love to know what you think, or answer any questions you may have. Please leave a comment below to tell us your thoughts. To learn more, or if you have any questions, please email me at For more great blogs and content please subscribe to our blogs here.