Illinois Background Check: Everything You Need To Know
Background checks are an important piece of the puzzle of an applicant’s identity. They help an employer avoid negligent hiring, defamation lawsuits, workplace violence, theft, and fraud committed by their employees. Moreover, since there are cases when job applicants tend to exaggerate or lie about their professional past, background checks are always the fastest way to get to the truth about a candidate and potentially expose criminal history.
More and more companies hire private investigators to conduct background checks in Illinois before hiring new employees. And no, this is not an extraordinary measure! It’s the reasonable thing to do if you want to make sure you’re hiring a trustworthy and reliable employee that won’t hurt the company.
With the abundance of websites and companies that provide free backgrounds check in Illinois, many wonder why people still hire a private investigator to conduct background checks. Free background checks don’t provide the necessary details to make an informed decision about a candidate. They’re superficial and conducted either by persons who are not specialized in the field, or computers that just follow algorithms and can easily fail by providing a background check for the wrong person with the same name.
What can a background check include?
Illinois background check laws and the Illinois Department of Human Rights clearly state that employers must check all applicants equally regardless of their race, sex or religion. Illinois background checks need to be conducted in the same manner for all applicants and can include:
- reference checks
- driving records
- vehicle registration
- social security number
- workers’ compensation
- court records
- education records
- criminal records
- sex offender registry check
- credit history
- drug test records
- medical records
- property ownership
- past employers
- social media and internet checks
What can’t a background check include?
There are strict rules and laws that need to be followed when an employer conducts a background check in Illinois and, as a matter of fact, in any other state. Background check reports are subject to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and state laws. Employers in Illinois need to comply with laws concerning criminal background checks, credit checks, credit histories, and driver’s record information.
The Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act prohibits employers with 15 or more employees to conduct a criminal background check on an employee without first notifying them that they have been selected for an interview or without making them a conditional job offer.
Also, private employers in Illinois can’t ask for the arrest record of a candidate if they have 15 or more employees and private employers in Cook County and Chicago can ask a candidate if they’ve been convicted of a crime if they have fewer than 15 employees without notification or a conditional job offer.
However, there are some jobs where an employer can research the conviction history of a candidate. Here are some examples of such jobs: armed security guards, child care workers, health care works, school workers and other similar jobs. Employers in Illinois can never ask about arrests that did not lead to conviction or records or that have been sealed or expunged.
If you want to know how far a background check goes in Illinois, the answer is pretty simple. As far as the employer wants! Illinois has no law that limits the job background checks to a certain number of years. It’s true the FCRA establishes clearly that, on a national level, background checks can go as far as 7 years, but it’s also true that each state can pass its own law that can modify this number.
How long does a background check take in Illinois?
As with anything else in this day and age, everything needs to happen fast! Since background checks contain vital information about an applicant, employers are eager to receive the reports as soon as possible so they can continue with the hiring process or dismiss the candidate and move on with their recruitment process. So how long does a background check take in Illinois?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a standard period of time available for all types of background checks in Illinois. It all depends on the scope of the background check. If the employer is willing to pay for a background check, things will move faster and they will be able to receive an accurate report in two to four business days if there aren’t unforeseen circumstances that might complicate the investigation:
- identity checks – instant or up to two business days
- education verification – two to three business days or longer for international educational checks
- employment verification – two to three business days or longer for international jobs
- professional qualifications verification – two to three business days
- credit checks – one to two business days in the United States; ten to 20 days businesses outside the United States
- criminal history checks – one to two business days
- global watch list checks – one to two business days
How to get a background check in Illinois
The fastest and most reliable way to get a background check is to hire a private investigator. Lawrence Ryan Investigation provides background checks that deliver all the information an employer needs before hiring a candidate. Our private investigators don’t limit their background checks to general information or just to the criminal records, driving, and credit reports.
They put together a comprehensive background check report that includes everything from the applicant’s address history and alias names to business affiliations, associates, relatives, properties, and bankruptcies.
Moreover, our private investigators know the laws and limitations concerning background checks in Illinois and make sure to comply with their provisions. They will only provide the type and amount of information the law allows employers to access. This way, our private investigators protect their clients and make sure they avoid financial penalties and class action litigation.
When conducted without being aware of the law’s provisions and consequences for employment practices, background checks can bring the employer its own problems with law enforcement and expose them to suits and penalties while affecting its reputation and credibility.