At first glance, background screening seems to be a straightforward type of process.  The information is at point A, so we retrieve it and report it back to point B. If it only were so easy. Background screening is a complex matrices of process, formatting, regulations, and client customization, to identify just a few of the many steps involved in retrieving and reporting background check information.

There are more than 3,100 counties in the United States and each operates as a different entity, often requiring vastly different processes.  A county creates their own unique policy and procedures as to how criminal information is entered, stored, accessed, and archived.


For example, one county may allow online computer access, while another requires that you physically stand in front a court clerk to make your request. Some counties have terminals that are available only in the court clerk’s office. The most difficult of all are the small counties that still use daily booking logs. Imagine having to rifle through page after page of handwritten sheets to find a record!

In order to do a criminal check, you have to know how to access that information and how to read or decipher the criminal records. Counties often have their own unique sets of charges and dispositions. How many ways can you say DUI, DWI, driving intoxicated?

The most complicated part of the process, as it is for many businesses, is keeping up with and following the various regulations in each county or state.  For instance, California has a requirement on the font size that can be used on a candidate’s Authorization and Disclosure form. If your release isn’t in that size, you are non-compliant.

Training Traps

Our employees have to be trained in all the nuances of county and state records searches, as well as on the technology and regulatory compliance that relates to conducting a background check.

1. Onboarding: Employees can be quickly overwhelmed by the amount of information they must learn to do their jobs well, particularly if all of this information is dumped on them within the span of only a couple of weeks or a single onboarding session. In the screening industry, a good onboarding plan should:

    • Start with an overview of the Background Screening industry.
    • Show the “birth-to-grave” process of an applicant moving through the screening system.
    • Take a deeper dive, showing how the specific service is performed by other processors.
    • Next, provide a thorough and exact training on regulatory compliance impacting the screening industry as a whole.
    • Once an applicant has a grasp on what we do, we move into the mechanics and compliance issues impacting the specific service they will be processing.

2. Technology: There is a false reliance on training programs to adequately train employees and a broad overview of all company technology is not nearly as useful or helpful as thorough training. It is best to have a new employee go through the specific computer-based training he or she will need for the position, and then to have a tenured employee supervise to see if the employee understands how to correctly use your technology. Your training person should know which program elements are imperative to learn at first to help new hires avoid confusion and inefficiency. As employees become more comfortable in their particular roles, they may benefit from learning about other company technologies and their uses.

3. Sink or Swim: Companies often fail to maintain quality employees when they have a “Sink or Swim” attitude toward the training. Hoping that what an employee learns sticks and that they seek further knowledge on their own is wishful thinking if you don’t provide a solid foundation of knowledge and assistance in the first place.

shutterstock_451219966To avoid these training traps, InfoMart created a comprehensive onboarding and continuous training program called Teach Me Tuesday (TMT). Teach Me Tuesday is a 12-week training course that occurs, not surprisingly, on Tuesdays and provides both new hires and tenured employees with foundational information and updates on the many facets of background screening.

Check out my recent blog, “Teach Me Tuesdays at InfoMart,” to read about the specifics of this successful program. Initiatives like this are just one of the reasons why InfoMart continues to be recognized as a “Best Place to Work” with the quickest turnaround time and accuracy in the industry.

What training traps have you noticed in your onboarding and continuous education initiatives? I’d love to read about them on social media!

For additional resources you can use to develop your employees, check out my post on 8 Learning & Development Resources to Improve & Engage Your Workforce.

About Tammy Cohen:

In 1989, Cohen founded InfoMart, a multi-million dollar pre-employment screening company that provides services to Fortune 500 companies nationwide. InfoMart has numerous “Best Place to Work” awards from various organizations. As a recognized expert in the employment screening industry, Cohen is often referred to as “The Queen of Screen” and was influential in the founding of the screening industry’s first trade association, the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). Cohen is actively involved in a number of business and civic organizations and has received numerous personal honors, including a commendation in the 152nd Congressional Record, the Entrepreneur of the Year award from YWCA of the USA, an Enterprising Woman of the Year Award from Enterprising Women, and the Phenomenal Women Award from the Siegel Institute.

About InfoMart

InfoMart is an industry leader in background screening services, providing businesses the information they need to make well-informed hiring decisions. With more than 26 years in business, InfoMart is a pioneer in developing innovative technology and screening services, from criminal history searches to verifications of employment. Accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a designation earned by less than 10% of the industry, InfoMart has also been recognized on Workforce Magazine’s Hot List of Background Screening Providers for 10 consecutive years. The company prides itself on its dedication to customers, innovation, and accurate reporting. For more information about InfoMart, please visit or call (770) 984-2727.

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