NEW YORK (AP) – Beyond the gallon jars of mayonnaise and the office furniture, shoppers browsing the aisles at some Sam's Club stores will find something that isn't usually sold at retail — an employee background check in a box.
“Make better hiring decisions,'' says the package, a little smaller than a box of breakfast cereal. “Conduct background checks quickly and easily!''
With security-conscious employers stepping up scrutiny of job candidates, background checks have become standard procedure at many companies.
But the new check-in-a-box, which is marketed by ChoicePoint Inc. and began selling alongside software for $39.77 late last year, points to new efforts by data vendors to market background screening as a consumer product.
ChoicePoint — with nearly $800 million in annual revenues, one of the nation's largest vendors of personal, financial and legal data — also recently began selling background checks via Yahoo's HotJobs.com online employment board, offering jobseekers the chance to vet themselves. Entersect, owned by competing data provider LocatePlus Holdings Inc., says it plans to launch a self-check service later this year on CareerBuilder.com.
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ChoicePoint, though, says it has built strong safeguards into its system to avoid privacy breaches. But they are not absolute.
For starters, there's the sticker that seals the top of the box. “Business License Required,'' it reads.
In practice, however, a purchaser can use most of the screening options — including criminal background checks, Social Security number identification and vetting of credentials — without supplying such a license, ChoicePoint acknowledges.
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Searching background information with the new check is pay-as-you-go. Buying the ChoicePoint product requires having a $30 membership at Sam's Club, as well as shipping costs if ordered online. It comes with $50 credit for searches — enough to run a national criminal check, identity verification, and employment verification on one person, as well as a drug test.
Additional checks cost from $3 to verify a Social Security number to $9 for a credit report to $25 for a national criminal screening. [Privacy Digest]