Fingerprint-based background checks are a common part of the hiring process in specific regulated industries. These checks compare an applicant’s fingerprints to the FBI’s AFIS database for criminal records.
However, fingerprint databases often do not contain the final dispositions of arrests. Also, they may not accurately reflect an individual’s history. So, organizations need a more comprehensive search.
Importance Of Fingerprint-Based Background Checks In Hiring Processes
Many regulated industries need fingerprint background checks for employees to complete. These may be jobs that interact with children or older people or positions that require a security clearance. The process can be challenging and time-consuming. A digital fingerprint background check is a type of criminal record search. So, it compares an individual’s prints against a list of state and federal fingerprint records. It can reveal pending arrests and convictions, dismissed or acquitted cases, and more. A fingerprint background check can provide more accurate results than other background checks. Because it searches for records based on an individual’s actual prints, not their name.
Also, a fingerprint background check can detect false information that someone may give during the screening process. This is because fingerprints are unique to each person and cannot be changed or manipulated. But fingerprint searches aren’t always the most thorough source of criminal history information. Since law enforcement agencies and county courts often struggle with inconsistent data collection and reporting. So, they may only sometimes have the most current information. Many fingerprint-based records are missing final dispositions, like dismissals or acquittals. Thus, it’s important to use fingerprint-based searches with other sources of criminal history. It may be name-based checks and a national civil and criminal court records database.
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Less Time Consuming
Many regulated industries need fingerprint-based background checks as part of the hiring process. A fingerprint check compares an applicant’s prints to federal and state criminal records. So, it can reveal information like pending charges, misdemeanor convictions, and dismissal. Also, it can expose acquitted crimes that might not appear on a background report conducted with a name search.
However, a fingerprint-based background check can’t cut the need for employers to run more comprehensive inspections. It includes civil and felony records from local and state databases. Not all records are reported to the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS). Also, the data may not be updated regularly as arrests, case dispositions, and convictions are recorded and entered into the system.
Fingerprint background checks can return inaccurate results. Applicants may use different names or aliases in their legal history. Taking adverse action based on incomplete or false data could lead to unintentional discrimination and Equal Employment Opportunity Act violations.
Unlike name-based background checks, fingerprint searches use a person’s fingerprints. Plus, it uses their name and other personal information to locate criminal history. They run through the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), which houses 70 million records. But, these results only sometimes provide the whole picture.
While a search through IAFIS may return an arrest record, it won’t reveal the accompanying data, like the case’s outcome or whether or not the conviction was expunged from the person’s record. That means employers may miss important information. So, it could impact their hiring decisions if an employer relies on fingerprint-based checks.
Moreover, fingerprints are unique physical characteristics assigned by nature. Two people are unlikely to share the same fingerprint, even if they are blood relatives or twins. This makes them more reliable than a name or other demographics in a background check. Fingerprint-based checks are helpful for companies that need screening, like in regulated industries. It is important to use these checks with further checks, like county and state-level criminal checks, employment verifications, and education verifications. It can ensure you have the most complete and accurate data possible. This will let you make better hiring decisions that lower risk and protect your customers.
Unlike name-based background checks that private screening companies usually conduct, fingerprint background checks are processed by state and local law enforcement. This means their information is more accurate and less likely to contain false positives than a name-based check.
Further, fingerprint patterns are unique to the individual. So, it can’t be duplicated by blood relatives or twins, making them the most reliable. Unlike names, which can be changed, manipulated, or faked, fingerprints are a physical characteristic that can’t be. But, fingerprint background checks do have their drawbacks. For example, they don’t always show up on criminal records. That is why it is important to use other sources of personal identifiers. That includes education, employment, and residence verification, with fingerprint background checks when screening for the most qualified candidates.
Fingerprint-based background checks are only helpful if your industry or the governing body requires you to do one. Because they only look for criminal records but not driving records or education qualifications.
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