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Important Background Check Information for New Clients

Background Screening Basics - How does HireSafe run an employee background check?

Whether you are new to the employment background check world or just new to HireSafe, it's reasonable to have questions about our practices! New and old clients alike have questions about why we use online forms, what goes into the cost of a background check, and what exactly compliance means to them.

Browse this page to learn how and why we do what we do. Be sure to check out our FAQ for more common questions and answers. If you're looking for the background check process, find out how a background check works, and learn about our paperless online report formats.

To navigate to a question you have to click the links below or scroll down if you're trying to get a firm grasp on the intricacies of background checking, the below covers:

Why Do We Use online documents and forms? Why not Paper or fax?

There are many reasons why HireSafe uses digital signatures and online forms for our screening services. Among the most important are accuracy, information security, and legal compliance.


By using our secure web portal, potential hires can fill in their address history and background information, and this has many positive effects. Firstly, it lowers costs for your company by eliminating the need to transpose the candidate's answers to another form in our office or yours. It also limits errors that arise from deciphering illegible handwriting, or errors from erroneous data entry from staff trying to transpose paper forms to digital format. When the candidate fills in their information, you can be sure they won't be misspelling their name or entering an incorrect birth date.

Errors with candidate data entry directly affect the screening's outcome. With an incorrect last name, birthdate, address, or other information, our searches could turn up nothing when a candidate has a criminal record. Digital data provided directly from the candidate increases reports accuracy tremendously while reducing costs.

Information Security

Paper and emailed documents are only as secure as the individual systems they travel through, and when dealing with potential employees, it is never sure what sort of environment you may be sharing sensitive information within. A compromised system may be sharing confidential personal information, social security numbers, and company data without you even knowing. For a long time now, faxing documents has not been considered secure and can be easily co-opted, allowing sensitive information shared via fax to end up in the wrong hands.

Faxing was once considered secure, but these systems are susceptible to hackers, and more than that have a very high potential for human error. If someone along the line accidentally dials an incorrect number, the effects can be devastating when dealing with sensitive information. Most companies use a scan to fax system that involves sending data through a private server. However, there is no way to determine whether those servers are secure as the companies providing them offer no promise of security.

To protect our clients, our business, and the many potential employees we screen daily, we secure all data with a two-factor authenticated and well-protected web portal. By securing sensitive documents through TazWork’s web portal, we ensure the highest security possible, ensuring your information will be safe.

All digital documents route through our partner TazWork’s servers secured with AWS cloud storage. These secure services protect the company, and potential hire information against unauthorized access with multi-factor authentication, sufficient firewalls, and intrusion detection. Visit our data security page to learn more about how HireSafe keeps our client’s and their employee’s data secure.

Legal Compliance

With employee background screening, there are ever-changing FCRA, EEOC, and local law changes that must be incorporated into candidate provided documents. Our clients are kept safe from lawsuits by automatically receiving these compliant documents. While in the past, HireSafe regularly updated these documents to provide them to our clients; we soon found that regulation’s pace exceeded our ability to maintain compliant documentation. There was also no way for our office to force our clients to print new forms every time an update occurred. To alleviate these issues, HireSafe uses digital documents to keep our clients safe from FCRA or other lawsuits.

Our online services are ideal for handling constant updates to local regulations and FCRA compliance. The correct FCRA compliant documents and required local materials are automatically sent to the client whenever they request a background check through our servers. With thousands of clients all over the US, it would be impossible to ensure that each of them had the most up to date documents and that they were using them following FCRA regulations.

Using online documents and forms keeps our clients, their employees, and candidates safe while lowering costs for your business. Accurate reporting from the source through secure servers helps HireSafe maintain high accuracy in background screening while protecting client data. Finally, digital format forms and documents protect our clients from FCRA lawsuits by providing the necessary compliance documents automatically.

Check out our paperless application format information page to learn more!

What Are Court Fees? Why do charges vary for each background check?

County Courts usually handle criminal record history documentation and storage. Due to this, you will sometimes find that background checks run through HireSafe include court fees on top of the employment screening price. These are fees imposed at the county court level by the government agencies in charge of keeping those records. Background checks that are compliant with FCRA regulations MUST use these agencies to confirm criminal records belong to and are valid for the candidate in question. Therefore, including these court fees is not only required by law but also the reason why HireSafe background checks have high accuracy.

Whenever an employee background check begins, we ask candidates to fill in their address history. When we investigate criminal records at their previous addresses, we refer to the county courts where these are stored. Using a mix of databases and search tools, our criminal record experts investigate your candidate’s past. These searches generally use personal identification information such as name, birth date, and social security number. If our original search gets a hit on a record, it is required by law that we confirm that history belongs to the candidate in question. We accomplish this by querying the county court where the document is stored, which is where court fees come in.

Each court in each state has a different method and price for retrieving the information needed to confirm a criminal record. Depending on where a candidate has lived before applying to your company, the court fees can be higher or lower than average. This means HireSafe can’t estimate what county court fees will be with each screening.

If your candidate has lived in several counties that have records attached to them, we would need to look for criminal records in each of those counties. As expected, this would lead to an increase in court fees.

Here is an opportunity for background check businesses to shave off those extra funds and to lower their costs. Instead of following the law and confirming records at the county court level, they assume the record found on a cheaper database applies to the applicant.

Without verifying this information with the county court, the above practice is both against the law and immoral. It is common to have duplicate names and birthdates showing records on these systems due to the nature of personal identification information. There is also the possibility of a criminal record being incorrectly attributed to someone with no criminal past. For these reasons and more, following FCRA and state law, the county courts need to confirm any record found. It is far too common to have a candidate show a criminal record on a database search but find that record is for a different person when researching at the county level.

Accuracy here is the goal. It is effortless to find cheap background checks online and sign up, only to discover that you aren’t getting an accurate report. In addition, national databases are not always the most precise source of criminal information. It is extremely important to cross-check county records because sometimes the database does not have the county in question, or they have not entered the record yet.
In this way, a cheap background check can falsely identify a candidate as having a criminal record or miss a criminal record that does not exist in a cheap database.

These are all compelling reasons for HireSafe to ensure the most accurate report possible by researching criminal records at the county court level. While this does incur court fees, they are usually inexpensive and well worth the safety they provide from hiring a candidate with a criminal record. Likewise, denying a candidate due to a record that wasn’t confirmed, resulting in a lawsuit.

HireSafe keeps a list of court fees which we update regularly, but court fees are often subject to change. If you any questions and are not yet a HireSafe client, fill in our consultation form, and we will get right back to you. If you're a current client, use the portal above or check out our contact page for multiple options.