Part Two: Are You Getting What You Pay For From Your Background Screener?

Part Two: Are You Getting What You Pay For From Your Background Screener?

By Tricia O'Connor

After 25 successful years in the screening industry and becoming the most awarded enterprise background screening provider, we’re confident we’ve reached a level of excellence that helps you meet your existing business goals and propels you forward to meet new and exciting benchmarks.

But how can you be sure your background screening company is providing the same commitment to quality as EBI? In other words, are you getting what you pay for?

We turned to Bob Capwell, Chief Knowledge Officer at EBI, for his insight. Bob oversees EBI’s Quality Management Program, including our ISO 9001 Quality Management and ISO 27001 Information Security Management standards certifications. Bob developed a series of questions businesses should use as a guide to determine how well your screening agency is putting your dollars to work. This time, we’re focusing on your background check company’s commitment to quality.

Our first five questions help you identify your screening goals.

No matter the size of your organization, we know creating and implementing a background check program is an investment. These next 5 questions will educate and empower you to find out if your Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) meets the quality standards you deserve.

1. How do you correct mistakes? 

Mistakes happen. It’s difficult for everyone involved when they do. But how a background check company responds to a mistake is just as important as correcting the error, advises Bob.

“At EBI, we track each known incident, conduct a root cause analysis, document corrective actions internally, and if needed, provide concessions or credit owed to our client.”

You want a screener who takes ownership of their actions; accountability speaks to the company’s integrity. Ask questions about if, or how, clients are informed of mistakes. Are you told as soon as the error is discovered? Or does the screener attempt to rectify the mistake before telling you? What type of error tracking and/or dispute logging process is in place? Have the number of errors increased or decreased in recent years? What is that attributed to? How are corrective actions handled and what role does management play in this?

2. What can you tell me about your risk management program? 

Beyond mitigating errors, a quality screening company should also have a risk management program in place. This systemic program identifies potential negative impacts and recommends a treatment or corrective plan. Sometimes this may be as straightforward as fixing a billing code in a client’s file or as complex as reviewing compliance regulations at the state level. Whatever the potential for error is, you want to feel assured your screener has a policy in place to regularly review and mitigate risks.

EBI’s risk management program is closely tied to our annual audit. Here are some areas we focus on:

  • Potential consumer disputes or inaccuracies during background checks
  • Data privacy infractions
  • Understanding client requirements
  • Compliance knowledge
  • Tracking human error
  • Quality auditing of outsourced processes and vendors
  • Billing set up
  • Non-compliance with federal, state, international or other laws

Whatever the potential for error is, you need to be assured your screener has a policy in place to regularly review and mitigate risks.

3. Do you audit your vendors? 

Many background check companies, including EBI, partner with third-party vendors to provide a full suite of services to clients. In most cases, these partnerships are symbiotic. Employers reap the reward of doing business with one company while having a host of services delivered by others. These relationships, however, depend on the CRA performing due diligence and vetting its vendors. It’s imperative you ask a screener if and how they vet their vendors and how often these reviews are performed.

You want to know how vendors are vetted prior to onboarding with your screener. Who analyzes these third parties and what qualifies them as a vendor? What quality metrics and accountability must they meet to be considered a vendor? After they become a contracted vendor, how regularly is the quality and accuracy of their work reviewed? What quality metrics and accountability are measured? And who performs these quality checks – is it the CRA’s in-house risk management or auditing team?

The point of this line of questioning is to determine if your screener has aligned itself with quality vendors.

“If we are vetting and putting in place a new public records researcher, we actually send them known positive records to be sure they find them. This is one way we perform a quality check on our vendors prior to beginning work with us, and then we conduct further quality checks on an ongoing basis.” – EBI’s Bob Capwell

4. Do you perform internal quality audits?

Think of an internal quality audit as your screener’s annual report card. It’s the single most effective tool at monitoring and measuring the products and services produced by a background check company. Audits may be conducted independently or as part of an overall Quality Management Program. Audits are usually performed by internal and external auditors. They discuss processes and procedures with employees across all departments, ensure existing standards are being met, and identify areas for improvement.

In EBI’s case, our audit is attached to our ISO 9001 standard certification for quality management.


Our internal auditors are impartial and independent of the departments being audited or assessed. 
As part of ISO, you can’t audit yourself or your own department.

Much like having a risk mitigation program, screening companies who perform audits show a proactive approach to quality control. They don’t wait for problems to appear and then rush to fix them. Conducting audits promotes growth internally and shows you they are transparent and take their integrity seriously.

5. What role does your management team take in overseeing quality standards? 

Any strong audit or Quality Management Program will also incorporate a Management Review Board (MRB). The MRB is responsible for reviewing client feedback, vendor evaluations, and a variety of recommendations outlined in audits, says Bob.

Having a strong management and leadership team is instrumental in reaching and maintaining quality objectives and standards. It’s important to know how often the MRB reviews audits and other feedback. Do they examine things like customer satisfaction surveys, sales differentiators, and employee performance reviews? What process does the MRB use to guide the company and enforce its mission?

Conversely, are employees encouraged to have open communication with their managers and leadership team? What processes are in place if an employee notices a discrepancy in the background check process?

“Fostering an open sense of communication between employees and leadership is critical for a risk mitigation or quality standards program to operate effectively.”

Curious to Know More?

We hope these questions, and the questions featured in Part One, are useful as you consider your next background screening company. If you need more information, our EBI team can help. You can also submit a question to our “Ask the Expert” segment and we might feature it an upcoming video.

In the meantime, get to know more about EBI’s commitment to quality – schedule a demo.

About the Author

Tricia O'Connor

Tricia O'Connor

Writer. Digital marketer. Storyteller. An award-winning writer and editor, Tricia O'Connor is the Marketing Content Manager at EBI. Tricia worked as a broadcast and print journalist for nearly two decades writing and producing programming for high-profile networks like ESPN Radio, History Channel, and Hallmark Channel, as well as contributing editorial work to publications nationwide. Tricia joined the EBI marketing team in 2019 and is responsible for content strategy, development, and engagement. Tricia earned a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and is a proud undergraduate alumna of Wheaton College in Massachusetts.

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