Employment Background Check (Updated for 2020)

What is an Employment Background Check?

US Employers use Background Checks to see previous criminal history of a potential employee. But why? Half of our team here at KYSHRM are from Europe and when we started writing and researching about this article we came to the conclusion that only American companies are doing Background Checks. The reason for that is because of the US constitution. States and counties are responsible for policing in their borders, even though most states and counties collaborate effectively by each other, it’s still not a 100% perfect system.

There is no centralized database of criminal offenders in the US. Some federal agencies like the FBI, CIA, USCIS may have data on a federal level. But 90%+ of all criminal cases, especially minor ones are kept by the PDs of the states and counties.

Many new employees, would move states just to avoid getting flagged on their background check. Because of this, many American companies (unlike European ones) do Background Checks.

If you are an employer, a background check is a must. However there are numerous companies offering these types of services, even non FCRA compliant ones that can result in hefty fines if used for employment.

Which Employment Background Check Companies should you use?

Here are some of our top picks ranked by price, performance, ease of use and technology:
1. TrueFingerprints
2. HireRight
3. ClearChecks
4. GoodHire


TrueFingerprints wasn’t our first choice. We were using HireRight before but decided to switch based on the way TrueFingerprints works. All Background Check companies usually work on the check it self. This means that you have to submit an order, just like on an eCommerce store. This usually means that you have to enter the data, obtain FCRA consent, fill out all the info in one go. This is a not a problem when you have the data in place, but you wont all the time, which means you have to start over. On TrueFingerprints you don’t have to. The entire platform is like a Cloud workplace, where you can continue working whenever you want.

TrueFingerprints is also the only platform where the entire process is automated, you don’t have to select which type of check to do since the algorithm does that for you. This makes it super simple to do screening unlike other platforms. There are no misleading sources and no upsells which we really liked.


We place HireRight on the second place, it’s mostly out of private prefrence. We used HireRight for years and we were very satisfied. Platform is nice and everything is labeled accordingly.

It is a little expensive though and there are a lot of options to choose from. This was the main reason why we choose to go with TrueFingerprints instead.

HireRight does not publish their pricing online, which is a huge red flag for us.


Although we never used ClearChecks, one of our HR team did in a previous company. ClearChecks is a newer company launched only a few years ago and is advertised a lot especially on Google. ClearChecks is fast and simple to use, although there are multiple packages that you can choose from, this makes it a bit confusing since ClearChecks offers multiple sources, some of which are not good to run when needing a background check.


We never used GoodHire, but we’ve heard from our colleagues a lot from this company so we decided to have it on our list. GoodHire does have a lot of integration options and types of searches that other companies do not offer, like international checks. But you as an employer would never really need these.

Background Check for Employment – What to know?

Even if you decide to go with another company and not the ones we’ve listed. Make sure to see that the company you will be using is FCRA compliant. Using a non FCRA compliant source may result in hefty fines and long lawsuits.