Revolution in the Background Screening Industry v.13.0

CRAs fight hard to stay relevant in a competitive, consolidating background screening industry. A new challenge appears with explosive news from First Advantage (See the press release here: PressRelease). This respected CRA is using a new mobile fingerprinting identity service you must learn about. This game changing technology could make your business obsolete.

Powered by a partnership with intuitive biometrics provider Tascent, the mobile fingerprinting service has wide-spread implications for the background screening industry. We have seen many paradigm shifts in our industry. What are the implications of this technology for your business?


The background screening industry has seen seismic industry shifts before. View the extensive list below:

  1. Fax machine
  2. Dial-up modems
  3. Windows operating system: allowed tech-illiterate HR people to function productively
  4. The Internet
  5. The real internet (Broadband + high speed + the cloud)
  6. Easy API’s between systems
  7. County criminal records moved online
  8. State criminal record repositories moved online
  9. Private National Criminal Databases
  10. Automated data retrievers to access criminal records
  11. Applicant tracking systems
  12. Automated Reference Checks – candidate driven using mobile technology

Moving court records online decimated employee counts within CRAs, cut turnaround time, costs and errors while, increasing reliability, accuracy and access for CRAs. Applicant tracking systems integration gave new power to CRAs to cement relationships with their clients and transformed the background check and referencing process. These technologies have dramatically changed and will continue to change the way we do business.



Biometrics is the latest PARADIGM SHIFT for the background screening industry. The use of mobile technology for facial recognition, fingerprinting, iris scans and more gives power to end users to transform their recruiting and screening activities. With a simple plugin to mobile phones candidates can be instantly fingerprinted without having to take the time to schedule, travel to and rely upon an outside source. Whereas today it takes a separate device, tomorrow it will be built into smart phones.

Employers need to receive information fast so they can make a quicker hiring decision. The current employment fingerprinting process can take 48-72 hours. With mobile biometrics technology, the updated process will cut out 2-3 DAYS of time and has the potential to cut out you, the CRA as well. Without doubt this technology has the potential to change background checks.


Millions of applicants are asked to submit fingerprints to qualify for jobs every year. “The number of background checks conducted for non-criminal justice purposes – including for employment and licensing – has increased markedly from 2010 to 2014. The number of checks performed grew by 29 percent, with a record 30 million checks performed in 2014.” Source:  Envision the surge in fingerprints with mobile fingerprint technology in the hands of HR departments?


So what is a CRA to do? Invest in biometrics? Continue business as usual? Sell your business?

First, understand your customers. Are you serving healthcare, education, government and the other industries that require fingerprints? If yes, then you need to investigate the technology options for your business. What are the strategic options available to you? Do they make economic sense for your business? While your business may not require the use of fingerprint checks today, this could change in an instant if the FBI opens their files to everyone. Don’t forget, 15 years ago, almost no industries required fingerprints. Since then our industry has lost 30,000,000 transactions to fingerprints (30 million!!). When will the FBI open this up to everyone and how will this affect you?

If you didn’t see this coming, you need to rethink your business. If you did see this coming, what systems have you put in place to quickly adapt? It is clear to see technology is constantly and quickly changing our business landscape. The surviving consumer reporting agencies will have one thing in common: a flexible business system that allows for adaptability to all the changes that come their way. Your survival requires a management team that embraces change.

Change Your Thoughts quote on space background

To summarize, the background screening industry has seen business transforming disrupters before and will experience more in the future. The impact of technology is certain, the wildcard is which businesses are ready for the ongoing upheaval? Sit with your leadership today to start planning. How will YOU address the ever changing business world? Share your comments by filling out a contact form and as always, call me to discuss any business needs.


Sources Cited:

“Press Room & News ¦ First Advantage.” Is Social Media Screening Helping, Or Hurting, Your Hiring Process?, First Advantage, 13 Aug. 2018,


Policy Brief Team. “Faulty FBI Background Checks for Employment: Correcting FBI Records Is Key to Criminal Justice Reform.” National Employment Law Project, National Employment Law Project, 8 Dec. 2015,