How To Read A Background Screening Report

November 2016

When you order a background screening report, whether for a tenant, employee or some other purpose, you might have a hard time understanding it. Reading a background screening report is not always straightforward, because these reports are often filled with terminology the reader is not familiar with. If you are trying to understand a background check report, here are some tips to help.

Know What the Background Check Contains

While each background check is going to be a little different from the next, it will contain much of the same information. The first section or page on the background report will list the applicant's information, including name, address and the last few digits of his or her Social Security number.

After this initial information, you will receive the background check information you ordered. This typically includes criminal records checks, Social Security number verification, and checks and credit checks. It may also include employment and rental history. Some of the information is self-explanatory, but you may come across some terms you don't understand, particularly in the criminal background check section.

Common Terminology on Criminal Background Checks

If you ordered a criminal background check, you will find a number of items listed that are not necessarily criminal convictions. Reading a background screening report requires understanding these terms, which may include: 

  • Adjudication withheld — This means the accused individual essentially admitted to the charges without actually accepting a guilty judgment.
  • Deferred judgment — The defendant is not found guilty and judgment is deferred to give the defendant time to comply with conditions set forth by the judge.
  • Dismissal — The case was dismissed with no further consideration, often due to lack of evidence.
  • Nolo contendere/no contest — The defendant pled no contest to the charges without admitting guilt, and is therefore found legally guilty.
  • Nolle prosse/nolle prosequi — A type of dismissal when there is insufficient evidence in the case.
  • Diversion program — A work or educational program required by the court.

If you see problems like these, you may want to dig a little deeper to find out what really happened and ensure that the individual is safe.

Understanding the Credit Portion

If you ordered a credit check, and need to know that the individual is financially responsible, dig deeper than just the credit score. Some individuals will have problems in their past — like a bankruptcy or foreclosure — that they have since recovered from. However, the credit score will not reflect those improvements for many years. Take the time to look at the history, which will show if the individual has learned from past mistakes and is making wise financial decisions now.

If you are spending the money on a background check report, take the time to understand the data you are receiving. If you are in the market for a background screening, contact Global Verification Network for a free quote on the reports that will meet your needs.

Contact Us

Bottom Body: 
  • Headquarters Location

    Palatine, IL
    P.O. Box 95258
    Palatine, IL 60095
    (877) 695-1179

  • Additional Locations

    Tampa, FL
    Wake Forest, NC
Hero Title: 
We Want To Hear From You

Please give us a call at 855-960-5318 or fill out the form below and we’ll get in touch with you right away.

  • May 2018
    For many employers, background screenings play a significant role in the hiring process, and a criminal history record check provides key information. Learning that a candidate has a criminal record, however, is not always the end of the story. Employers often decide to move forward with candidates who have criminal convictions. To hire the best candidates and to ensure that your organization follows the law, what steps should you take after finding that a prospective employee has a criminal record?...
  • April 2018
    The modern workplace requires employees with advanced skills and proper training, yet falsifying educational backgrounds has emerged as a common form of resume fraud. As the job market has become increasingly competitive, some applicants feel the need to exaggerate — or completely fabricate — their educational credentials. Such false information can lead employers to make costly hiring mistakes that can damage the reputation of a business and increase liability risk. Why should you verify prospects’...
  • March 2018
    Poor hiring decisions can have serious consequences, including financial losses and decreased employee morale. By fine-tuning your procedures for recruiting, interviewing and onboarding new team members, you help keep your company strong and competitive. To improve your overall process, consider these seven common hiring mistakes - and how to avoid them. 1. Failing to Do a Pre-Employment Screening Pre-screening applicants is a critical first step to keep your hiring process running smoothly and...
  • March 2018
    Purchasing a home is a major life event that often follows years of saving and sacrificing. If you're in the market for a new home - or you're selling a home you own - you understand the complexities of loans, negotiations, inspections and closing the deal. One of the most important individuals in the home sales process is the real estate agent. You expect your real estate agent or Realtor (a member of the National Association of Realtors) to have the proper licensure and qualifications for taking care...
  • January 2018
    Across numerous industries, workforce globalization has heralded new opportunities to bring in talented team members. For companies hiring international workers, comprehensive background checks protect against costly personnel errors. If you are interviewing candidates who were born, received their education or have worked in a country other than the United States, you may encounter challenges as you attempt to confirm biographical information. For some hiring managers, verifying criminal background,...