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The 12 Most Common Terms Used in Background Screening

The 12 Most Common Terms Used in Background Screening

No matter what the industry, terminology can get pretty confusing, and the pre-employment background screening industry is no different. If you are an applicant getting a background check ran on yourself, or if you’re the employer wanting to conduct background checks on your applicants, it is important to understand the terms that are used. Below is a list of common jargon that is used within background screening companies to help you stay informed on just what’s going on during a background check.

Adverse Action: The second part of a two-part process in which the employer denies an applicant of employment, promotion, or retention. The first part of the process is the pre-adverse action, see below.

Authorization Form: Written consent that the applicant or employee agrees for the background investigation to be conducted.

Consumer: The person who is seeking employment, retention, or promotion and is the subject of a background report.

Consumer Report: A Background Report, as named under the FCRA. Another name given is an investigative consumer report. The difference between the two is that the investigative consumer report contains opinionated responses while consumer reports contain only factual information. For example, investigative consumer reports will contain reference checks on previous job performance while consumer reports will only ask about factual information such as the dates when the consumer worked.

Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA): A Consumer reporting agency collects information and provides reports to End-Users about the subjects of a background check.

Disclosure Forms: The document that informs an applicant or employee that they will be the subject of a background check.

Dispute Form: This is a form given to a consumer when the employer gives the pre-adverse action notice. This form gives the opportunity to the consumer to dispute any incorrect information on the background check that was conducted on them. This report should be given back to the back-ground screening company for further investigation.

End User: The employer that requests and receives the research results from the consumer reporting agency in the form of a consumer report.

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA): A US Federal Government Legislation that was enacted to promote fairness, accuracy, and the privacy of consumer information that handled by a consumer reporting agency.

Identifiers: Facts that are used to determine if public records belong to a consumer. These include DOB (Date of Birth), SSN (Social Security Number), DLN (Driver’s License Number), address, et cetera.

Pre-Adverse Action: The first part of the adverse action process. It is the beginning of the process when a negative employment decision is being considered. It contains the preliminary document of the adverse action, a notice a copy of his/her background report, and A Summary of Your Rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Reportable: the results that can be legally reported to an end-user. This being determined whether information complies with the FCRA and state consumer reporting laws. This definition also refers to unusable records that is in context of a criminal search.

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