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What are the 4 Levels of Background Checks?

4 Levels of Background Checks

Individuals and companies run background checks to verify individuals’ identities. Moreover, background checks are used to confirm or reject positive criminal history, and to check employment and education history, as well as other activities. The purpose and frequency of background checks vary between people, sectors, industries, and states. Recruiters typically run an employment background check when you apply for a job, but your employer can do so once you’ve already been hired. 

No background check is universally valid; that’s why background check levels vary. Here are the four different levels offered by CheckPeople.com and other quality background check service providers. 

Level 1

This is the most basic kind of background check, normally covering just one jurisdiction – the person’s place of residence. Level 1 checks extend to employment verification, too. A key question to consider here is the difference between name-based and fingerprint background checks. Although fingerprint checks can be an effective way to conduct a criminal record check, few companies do fingerprint background checks today. Moreover, companies that offer this service are mandated by uninformed policies or outdated legislation. Fingerprint checks are far from the most affordable, timely, accurate, and easiest way to qualify one’s data or background. 

Insurance or finance companies are still required to perform fingerprinting, but most of them apply name-based screening as the main tool to check someone’s background. Meanwhile, fingerprinting is simply a supplemental procedure for them. 

These days, employers value digital screening. Online background checks mitigate hiring risk, especially if you choose an accredited service. Name-based reports are more compliant and transparent than fingerprint checks. 

Level 2

On this level, screenings tend to be done via state and federal databases to establish a criminal history. Level 2 background checks are done on candidates applying for jobs that come with a great deal of trust or responsibility. In addition, they can be done post-hire as needed.  

Level 3

This is the most common screening type, consisting of references, education, criminal history, and employment history checks. If required, it might include pre-employment drug testing. The purpose of level 3 checks is to make sure you’re hiring the right person and that they won’t inflict foreseeable damage on the company. 

Level 3 checks cover court records on the county, state, and federal levels. The background check company will start by looking for felonies in district court records. Then, they will proceed to look for more serious crimes in county court records. They will look for petty offenses and minor misdemeanors in municipal court databases. 

Using the results of such a background check, you can see whether a candidate has been arrested when looking at arrest records, but you won’t know what happened afterward. Likewise, you won’t get information about a conviction. A history of arrests for the same or similar crimes should tell you a lot about a candidate, however. By checking court records, you might see felony or misdemeanor cases tried in the state.

On a federal level, you can see conviction and arrest records. It’s possible that the information available will be insufficient, limited to the person’s name and the type of case and number. However, you’ll need to explore in greater depth to get the information you need. 

Level 4

Level 4 background checks are critical when promoting or hiring executives. They cover everything included in level 3, as well as a media search and a search of bankruptcy records. On this level, people search for criminal history information manually and sometimes even in real-time. 

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