How to Choose the Best Background Check API

Not all background checks are the same; while the government court data is universal, the mechanisms to access that data vary wildly from automated searches to manual court-runners.

This means the speed, cost, and accuracy of reports vary from provider to provider.

I should be clear that I’m not unbiased, as an engineer at GoodHire, but after managing dozens of API integrations with companies like TriNet, Lever.co, BambooHR, ZipRecruiter, and beyond, I’ve learned how to make an employment screening API work well.

On top of that, the APIs used to access reports vary. With that in mind, there are three things you should pay attention to when choosing a vendor:

Tech Stack and API Design

To avoid spending lots of unnecessary time on an integration, select an API that has been well-documented and tested. Beware of legacy platforms using outdated and insecure technologies. Make sure the API you select is RESTful, provides HTTPS endpoints, and requires API keys.

Customer Experience 


Think carefully about the full-cycle customer experience and make sure your API can support them every step of the way. Some key functions that you might want include: 


  • Order / Retrieve Reports - Of course, you want to be able to trigger and receive API calls for the check itself. This is the main function, and this is where most APIs stop. 

  • Create Account - Provision access for your users automatically through the API thus eliminating paperwork.

  • Create Sub-Account - If your app will be used by businesses (like HR platforms), you’ll need to create sub-users. 

  • Define Reports - there is no one-size-fits-all report for all customers. You might want to let your customers build a “bundle” of reports during signup. 

  • Customer Credentialing - Under the law, any background check vendor must collect and verify certain customer data to prove it’s a legit business. How does this happen? 

  • Reject / “Adverse Action” - If a background check has negative results, employers need to follow a legal process to reject the candidate. It’s quite complex with different state and county laws. 



The GoodHire APITrack this API has calls for all these functions to be done automatically. 


Trust and Compliance


Adding background checks to your app means that you’ll be covered under regulations, including the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) of the USA.  How you manage your compliance is key to ensuing a successful integration. 


  • State and National Laws  - Background checks are affected by overlapping state and national laws passed in 2017. If you use a screening provider that’s not in-compliance, you open yourself to legal issues. 

  • Security - Your background check API will need to collect lots of personal information about your customer. While you might not be legally responsible for a breach, what happens if all your background checks are breached or leaked? (note: several of the largest providers have already been breached)

. GoodHire is paranoid and SOC2 certified.
  • Partner Support - What happens when there is an issue? Does your partner provide support to your customers as well as your team? GoodHire relies on API partners for business success, so we’re ready to help you if any issues arise with dedicated support.

If you’re thinking about integrating a background check API to your app, please contact GoodHire.com/api or our parent company Inflection.com.

Nachi Sendowski I began consulting with Inflection in early 2007 and joined full-time in February 2008. Alongside Conrad Cady, I'm the mastermind architect behind STORM, Inflection's e-commerce and marketing platform. Before Inflection, I was the VP of Software Development at Terrace Consulting and VP of Product Technology at RelayHealth (originally named Healinx). As the Managing Partner of The Enticy Group, I also consulted with Hot Topic Media. I love sailing, snowboarding, spending time with my daughters, and writing code with 0% defects.
 

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