ESS in Tampa | Employment Background Check Florida

At ESS, our goal is to give you the information you need to help you make successful hires.  If you’re reading this you probably know a little bit about our company, Employment Screening Services, located in Buffalo, NY.  But are you aware that we have an employment background check branch open in Florida as well?  Since we expanded to the Tampa Bay area nearly 2 years ago we’ve noticed a few issues in the way a lot of background checks are being done.  We wanted to take a moment to share some of what we’ve learned from our time providing background checks in Florida.

Here’s What We’ve Noticed

A lot of companies we’ve talked to have only been doing surface surface level employment screening.  This may be acceptable for some but most industries are required to meet certain standards when screening new employees.  The healthcare industry for instance, mandates that employers can’t hire anyone on their medical exclusion lists. If you only conduct a surface background check you may miss crucial information like this.  When that happens, your company will be operating outside of compliance with federal law.

How Deep An Advanced Background Check Do You Need?

To avoid this scenario, make sure your Florida employment background check hits all your required areas.  As we’ve spoken with new clients, we’ve found that some don’t even know what types of background checks are needed in their field.  We’ve seen a lot of businesses only check things that are of interest to them. For example, a pre employment drug test will be helpful but won’t cover all your bases.  At ESS, we’ll not only make sure you’re in compliance but we’ll keep you in the loop so you’ll know what requirements you have to meet when screening any future hires.

Avoid Costly Penalties

The penalties for failing to meet the compliance standards in your industry can be severe.  Sticking with the healthcare example from earlier, the fines for employing someone on a medical exclusions list start at around ten thousand dollars!  No company ever wants to waste money, especially on that kind of scale. In the long run, advanced background checks will save you money by helping you avoid these types of failed compliance fees.

Whether you’re looking for a criminal records search, pre employment drug testing, or an employment background check in Florida, we’re ready to help.  We’ve been involved with background checks in Florida for almost two years now. We’ll know what you need and will show you what you’ve been missing by only conducting surface background checks/ drug screenings.  


Give us a call at 1-866-212-8067 for more info or to get started with Employment Screening Services today.

Statistics Every Employer Should Know | It’s Time For Advanced Background Checks

Did you know that over 2 million reported crimes occur in the workplace each year?  That number alone should be enough to convince employers that background checks need to be an essential part of the hiring process.  However, most employers don’t realize how deeply a bad hire can hurt their business. This month we wanted to take a closer look at some of the sobering statistics that every employer needs to be aware of.

Employee Substance Abuse Statistics

Substance abuse among employees can wreak havoc to your normal workflow.  Whether it’s employees showing up late (or not at all) or displaying poor job performance, it’s your business that will suffer.  Did you know that 70% of substance abusers are over 18 and are currently employed?  On top of that, employees who use illegal substances are 4 times more likely to be involved in an accident at work and are 5 times more likely to file for workers compensation.  Fortunately, employers can reduce these risks by doing thorough pre employment drug testing.

Workplace Violence Among Employees

Workplace violence is a serious issue and costs companies an estimated 36 billion dollars per year.  That number covers everything from employee turnover to loss of production and even lawsuits in extreme cases.  Incidents like these can really impede the growth of your company. Though they might not always be avoidable, you should be able to limit such occurrences with advanced background checks.  At the very least, you can learn if a potential hire has any history of violence in the workplace.

Employee Fraud/ Theft

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that some workers take advantage of their position and steal from their employer.  However, the magnitude of this reality might shock you. According to a recent study employee theft sits at around 120 billion dollars per year!  And the incredible part is that most employers don’t even know it’s happening to them.  95% of all companies are victims of fraud or theft and only 10% ever find out about it.  These stats should be more than enough motivation for employers to buff their current employment screening process.

Misrepresented Resume Information

Candidates can put anything they want on their resume even if it isn’t true.  This is becoming a common problem nowadays as we’ve noticed more applicants trying to work their way into positions they aren’t qualified for.  In fact over 40% of information on resumes is misrepresented.  A good way to weed out false information is through advanced background checks with education verification.  This can be an important step to ensure you are hiring qualified candidates.

At ESS, we deal with the reality of these statistics every day.  Our goal is to help companies around the nation better protect themselves against hiring individuals who will hurt their business.  If you feel like it might be time to step up your employment screening efforts, give us a call today. Additionally, here’s some detailed info on the advance background check services we offer.

Advance Background Check Services | What To Look For

Pre employment background checks are becoming more important with each passing year.  With so many different services and requirements out there, finding the right background check franchise can be a difficult task.  If you aren’t familiar with background check services, the struggle becomes even greater. To help make your search a little easier, we’ve put together a list of important factors to keep in mind when hiring an employment screening service.


In many industries, background checks are required by law.  Even in industries where they aren’t, any advanced background checks still need to adhere to the FCRA’s compliance guidelines.  Make sure the service you hire is accredited and knows how to work within these guidelines so that you get your information legitimately.


Obviously, having accurate information is a big deal if it’s going to be influencing your hiring decisions.  This is a big knock against many online background screening services that offer instant background check results.  Most of these just pull information from a database and take no measures to verify its reliability. Make sure the employment screening service you hire has proven experience providing accurate results.

Available Services

What types of advanced background checks do you need?  You should know that there are a lot of background check and drug test services available to you. All you have to do is figure out what you need to meet your industry’s requirements.  It’s also not a bad idea to add in other services that might provide useful information as well. Look up background screening companies that offer everything you’re going to need.

Turnaround Time

How long does a background check take?  This is a pretty common question and it’s an important one to ask to help avoid drawing out the hiring process.  Timely background checks can help speed things up so that your potential hires won’t have to wait around for weeks.  After all, you don’t want to miss out on the perfect candidate because they accepted another position while you were waiting to get their results back.

User Interaction

Do you represent a large company that will regularly need different types of advanced background checks?  If so, “user friendliness” may be an important factor for you. Some companies, like ESS, offer an online portal that can be accessed at any time.  This can be useful if you have a lot of employee information to sift through or if you would like to view results as soon as they come in.


Lastly, it’s important to keep your budget in mind.  Many background check companies will bundle their services together to get clients a more affordable rate.  This is great if you will need a multi level advanced background check but may not seem worth it if you’re only looking for one kind of service.  If that’s the case, you may want to look into companies that offer background checks or drug screenings a-la-carte.

Don’t get bogged down during your search for the right employment screening service.  If you follow these guidelines you should have no trouble finding an advanced background check franchise that will meet your needs.  Contact ESS today for more info on getting started with a top rate employment screening service today.

Should You Use Social Media For Pre Employment Screening?

There’s no denying the need for pre employment background checks during the hiring process.  However, a lot of employers have started looking to social media platforms to aid or even replace more traditional checks.  This naturally begs the question of “should social media be used during the employment screening process?” This post will assess how it compares to a standard advanced background check and whether it has any viability at all.

How Useful Is A Traditional Background Check?

Pre-employment screening services provide valuable information about a candidate’s work and personal history.  This knowledge can be used to identify a qualified applicant and make sure they are legally able to work. A typical advanced background search can be used to check a myriad of work related information.  Things like education verification, identity checks, past criminal charges, prior drug record, credit history and identity verification are all standard checks in the industry.

Limits Of Advanced Background Checks

Despite this wealth of knowledge, a professional background check won’t tell the whole story.  For instance, it doesn’t tell you anything about a candidate’s personality. Even during a face-to-face interview the applicant is likely showing you their interview persona rather an accurate representation of themselves.  For this reason some employers have started to turn to social media to get a better idea of an applicant’s personality.

Why Social Media?

Did you know that the average American spends around 3 hours a day on social media?  Such exposure allows employers to observe a potential hire’s social interactions. They can look into a candidate’s interests and temperament to see if they’d fit in well with other employees.

The Problems With Social Media Background Checks

Though it sounds like there’s a lot that can be learned from social platforms, many experts believe there is limited value.  Here’s a short list of some hiccups you’ll likely encounter.

  • The Social Media Persona: Like the facade a candidate can show during an in-person interview, their social media identity probably doesn’t reflect who they actually are.
  • Cyber Identities: In some cases it can be difficult to find the person you want to research.  Without asking them directly you will be hard pressed to figure out their account name.
  • Reliability:  You’ll constantly be wondering if the information you find is even accurate.  Anybody can post just about anything so you might struggle separating fact from fiction.
  • Is it even legal?:  Some states have passed laws prohibiting employers from requiring social media information from job applicants.  It is expected that more follow suit in the coming years.

At the end of the day the amount of useful information you could draw from social media background checks is limited at best.  In no way should it be used as a replacement for a standard advanced background check. Stick to experts like ESS when it comes to pre-employment screening.  We’ll get you the information you need while making the process as simple and user friendly as possible.

Discrimination in 2019 | Be Careful With Questioning Applicants

There are a few questions that may seem normal, but as we know, 2019 is a different time in America. Both State and Federal Laws prevent employers from asking questions that can be regarded as discriminatory, and there are regulations in place that could make you liable. 


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has recognized discrimination in any of the following scenarios, as well as provided examples of what you can and can’t ask during the hiring process. It may not seem too difficult to cross some of these lines, but some of the others may surprise you. 

Age Discrimination

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) forbids age discrimination against people who are 40 and over. Some states have laws in place for ages under 40. 

Illegal To Ask

What year were you born?

When did you graduate high school?

What You Can Ask

When there is legal age requirements in place, employers may ask for proof of age. 

Disability Discrimination

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), it is illegal for employers to treat qualified applicants with disabilities unfavorably because they have a disability; a history of disability; or because they are believed to have a physical or mental impairment that is not transitory and minor, even if the applicant does not have such an impairment. 

Illegal To Ask

Do you have a disability?

Do you have asthma?

Do you have a heart condition?

Have you ever been treated for mental health problems?

What You Can Ask


You may ask whether potential applicants may need reasonable accommodations to perform, and what accommodations would be needed. 

You may describe physical requirements of a job and ask to demonstrate how they would perform the job.

Phrase any questions in a way that does not force the applicant to reveal if they do or do not have a disability.

Race, Identity, National Origin

There are several rules in place that prevent you from digging into a person’s genetics, nationality and race. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids treating applicants unfavorably because of any race or race characteristics. This is the case for ethnicity and genetics as well. Under Title II of The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) makes it illegal to discriminate against applicants because of their genetic information. 

Illegal To Ask

Do You have a family history of Heart Disease?

Has Anyone in your family been diagnosed with breast cancer?

Where are your parents from?

Where did you grow up?

What is that accent?

Anything regarding applicant’s race. 

What You Can Ask

Are you legally authorized to work in the U.S.?

Some employers may need further info regarding race for affirmative action purposes or applicant flow. You are free to ask this information on a job application* provided there is legitimate reasoning. Any questions during an interview are likely to be used as evidence of discrimination.

These are only a few examples of what you can and cannot ask a potential applicant in 2019. Even ten years ago, things were a lot different, but your company’s reputation is extremely important today. The wrong news story can go a long way in today’s social media driven world, and you should always do your due diligence in being best prepared to hire the best possible candidate. 

If you have any questions about pre employment background screening, just give us a call or reach out via our contact form!


Understanding Reasonable Suspicion Drug Testing

It can fly under the radar but drug testing is a crucial part of running a successful business.  Keeping drugs out of the workplace is imperative to maintain steady productivity. If left unchecked, drug abuse on the job sooner or later will cost you money and possibly even damage your company’s reputation.

Most businesses, large and small, are using some sort of pre-employment drug testing.  However, passing these tests won’t guarantee an individual will be “clean” after they are hired.  This is why reasonable suspicion drug testing needs to be something every employer keeps their eye on.

What Is Reasonable Suspicion?

This is the big question that we want to address in our blog today.  It can certainly be a tricky subject in the workplace because nobody wants to be singled out for suspected drug use.  It’s important for employers to have an understanding of what to look for but also how to handle this situation as a whole.

What To Look For

Reasonable suspicion for eliciting a drug test needs to be backed up evidence rather than a gut feeling.  As an employer you should be watching out for suspicious physical and behavioral signs that might indicate drug use.  Dilated/bloodshot eyes, lack of focus, poor performance, attendance issues, and erratic mood swings are a few indicators that point to drug use.  However, it’s important for employers not to jump the gun and make accusations based on these results alone. If these signs become frequent and start affecting the day-to-day of your company,  you are well within your right to ask for a drug test.

What To Do

If you or a supervisor notices any of this unusual behavior, it’s always a good idea to get a second opinion.  Cross checking your observations with other supervisors or human resources staff can help avoid the possibility of your actions appearing discriminatory.  As far as taking action goes, you should follow all the protocols in your drug-free workplace policy that your employees agreed to when hired. You should inform the employee in private that you’ve decided to have them tested and then set it up with your drug screening company.

Where To Go

Once you’ve reached the point of conducting a reasonable suspicion drug test, ESS can step in and take it from there.  We offer all types of screening including hair follicle drug tests and urinalysis testing. Though we’re an employment screening service based out of Buffalo NY, we handle drug screen and background checks for companies all around the U.S.

Give us a call or fill out a contact form on our website so that we can help get your reasonable suspicion drug testing underway.  We look forward to working with you!

ESS Fits Employment Background Screening To Your Needs

As a hiring manager, rarely will you come across a resume that tells the whole story.  Did you know that the resumes of 2 out of 3 unscreened employees contain a misrepresentation of their skills or experience.  Additionally, over two million crimes are committed annually in the workplace. These are sobering statistics, especially for industries like healthcare and education.  To avoid hiring an unqualified employee who may damage your company’s reputation, make sure you’re doing the proper employment background checks.

Employment screening is a broad topic and it’s important to have clearly defined goals for your search.  This is where ESS can step in and help make sure you’re fully informed and covered before you make a hire.  Here’s a short description about our screening process and how it is engineered to be the most help to you.

Needs Analysis

One thing we’ve noticed with employment screening is that other companies look to fit your needs into pre-set packages.  This often results in you paying for tests and services that won’t really benefit you. We do things differently at ESS. Our goal is simple, to get you exactly what you need.  We’ll talk with you to figure out what you require and construct our services to fit that exactly. We refer to this process as our “needs analysis.”

Here’s What It Looks Like

We’ll work with you to learn what you do and what you want to accomplish with pre employment screening. This helps us understand the various liabilities associated with hiring a new employee in your industry.  Through this process we’ll determine what level of check you need done to meet FCRA compliance standards. Our experience conducting advanced background checks will help us identify which of our services will be the most beneficial to safeguard your organization.  We do everything from pre employment drug screening and employment verification to criminal records search and e-verify checks. You can find a more extensive list of the services we offer on our website.

What Happens Next?

Should you decide to work with us for your employment screenings you’ll find you get more than just the information we provide.  We strive not only to deliver results but to also keep in touch to make sure everything working well for you. We like to check in with our clients to make sure we’re still filling their needs and for feedback on what we can do to make the process smoother.  For example, thanks to a recent client survey we’ve established an online portal so our clients have a simple and convenient way to access their results whenever and wherever they are.

Why Choose ESS?

At ESS we’re interested in being more than just another average background check company.  The expertise of our staff sets us apart and allows to do deeper investigations on your potential employees.  Our background in law enforcement and the legal arena aids us in finding the records that other companies often miss; records that could make all the difference between a good and bad hire.

If you’d like to get more information on our background screening services don’t hesitate to contact us today.  You can call us at 716-322-2065 or fill out a contact form on our website to get the ball rolling.

Background Checks For Medical Employees | Don’t Put Your Patients At Risk

Every once in awhile a news story comes along that truly chills you to the bone.  Unfortunately, that is case with an article published just last month. It tells a sobering tale about Dr. Christopher Duntsch, a clearly unqualified neurosurgeon who was consistently allowed to perform spinal cord surgeries on patients.  The severity of the events that took place are extreme. Yet, they draw attention to the need for trustworthy advanced background checks on medical personnel.

Duntsch worked for four different hospitals around Dallas over the course of two years and had an abysmal surgical success rate.  Out of the 38 patients he operated on, 31 wound up paralyzed or seriously injured. Sadly, two suffered fatal consequences. Despite these appalling statistics, Duntsch was able to stay employed before the Texas medical board ordered an investigation.  As a result, his medical privileges were revoked. He was later sentenced to life in prison for multiple cases of aggravated assault causing serious bodily harm.

What makes this situation worse is that his surgical incompetence was compounded by an apparent history of drug and alcohol abuse.  The article states:

…… Duntsch was allowed to operate on the spines of patients despite his “background of abuse of cocaine, LSD, hydrocodone and alcohol.” …… according to witnesses, Duntsch “had a gallon jug of vodka under his desk,” “swiped his surgical assistant’s narcotics” and “a bag of white powder was found in a baggie in his office bathroom.”

It is clear that given this level of information, no patient would want this man performing such delicate surgery.  It’s hard to fathom how such an unsuited individual could find themselves in this position without anyone noticing or putting a stop to it.

Fox News | Read More: ‘Dr. Death’ podcast: Surgeon recalls Christopher Duntsch’s botched procedures: ‘He couldn’t operate at all’

Don’t Take Your Medical Background Checks Lightly

A thorough advanced background check could help your facility avoid a similar situation in the future.  Partnering with an experienced employment screening service will not only add an extra layer of protection for your patients, but it will also wind up saving you money in the long run.  Keep in mind, there is no such thing as being too thorough with a medical employee’s background check.

You have a lot of responsibility if you’re in charge of human resources at a hospital or other medical facility that involves treating patients.  In this industry it is of the utmost importance that you ensure all doctor and nurses are qualified and able to perform their duties. Contact ESS today to learn more about getting advanced background checks on your incoming medical staff and keep your patients safe.

How Long Does A Background Check Take? | Employment Screening Services

If you own a business, large or small, you should be aware of how important it is to conduct employment screens.  In today’s business environment advanced background checks are not only a good idea, they’re often required by law in many industries.

Have you ever worried about employment screening bogging down your hiring process?  Maybe you’ve even found yourself asking “How long does a background check take?” A uniform answer to this question can be elusive because the amount of investigation required will vary from case to case.  To try and answer this question thoroughly we’ll discuss the obstacles and processes involved in 5 of the most common types of advanced background checks.

Pre Employment Drug Test

A urinalysis test is most common but there are several other types that can be used to screen for any illegal substances.  On average it will take between 24 and 48 hours for one of these samples to be tested and the result returned to the employer.  If it comes back negative, the process ends there but positive results are more complicated. In this case, additional pre employment drug tests may be required for confirmation so you should expect a longer turnaround time.

Criminal Records Search

Results from criminal conviction checks are highly dependent on geography.  Different states have all kinds of different requirements and obstacles that can slow down a criminal records search.  In most cases it should still take only 1 to 2 business days if all goes smoothly. Expect a much longer delay for any international records searches though.  These have even more red tape and can take up to a month to get results. You should expect delays and plan accordingly with any potential international hires.

Education Verification

For any highly technical positions it’s imperative to be able to verify a candidate’s credentials.  Education verification can help you sift out a lot of unqualified applicants during the employment screening process.  Luckily this quick and easy check only requires contacting a university administrator to get all the details.  You should bear in mind that obtaining this information is dependent on university availability. It may take more time than expected during holidays and breaks when campuses may be shutdown or short on staff.

E-Verify and Employment Verification

The E-verify system is a government platform used to determine if an individual is legally able to work in the United States.  An E-verify check can be done almost instantly with a simple database search. However, you should be wary as the results aren’t 100 percent accurate.  It is a good idea to conduct a more thorough employment verification as well to keep your company safe during the hiring process.  This may take a little longer as your background screening company digs deeper and contacts past employers but the added security is well worth your time.


A lot of background screening companies only do online searches for their background checks.  This will yield quick results but there are a lot of flaws in this system. At ESS we do deeper investigations to get you the most reliable results possible.  The members of our research team all have prior experience in law enforcement or criminal justice at some capacity. We can find the background records that other companies would let slip through the cracks.

If you’re looking for a background check company that will provide you with accurate results, look to ESS.  Rather than fitting you into a predetermined background check package, we’ll work with you to get you exactly what you need for your business.  If you need more information on advanced background checks or if you’d like to speak with a representative about partnering with ESS don’t hesitate to give us a call today.

How Do You Get Your Advanced Background Checks?

You don’t need to be told that every business, large or small, needs to be conducting some form of pre-employment background checks.  Knowing that you’re employees can legally work for you and are qualified for their position is essential. If you’re a business owner you’re faced with only two options for your advanced background checks.  Employment screening can be handled by yourself through online databases or by a full service background check franchise.

It’s true that the online route is often faster and cheaper but there are serious drawbacks to this method. Employment screening is a complicated process and there are a host of federal and state laws that need to be followed.  Before you choose the easy “DIY” online route you should know how it’s shortcomings stack up against a professional service.

Professional Background Screening Services

Follow Federal Guidelines

It’s important for every business to make sure they are following FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) regulations during the hiring process.  Failure to do so could lead to fines and potential lawsuits. All background check professionals should be experienced working within these and other state specific guidelines as well.  Hiring managers and business owners should be aware that using an online service for your advanced background check is done at your own risk.

More Thorough Investigation

Additionally, online services only offer surface level information.  Sometimes it can be difficult to know if you’ve even pinpointed the correct individual.  And without any cross checking, the accuracy of any information is suspect. A professional background check on the other hand will be more thorough than simply entering a name into a search engine.  These experts will go the extra mile to verify their information directly from reputable sources like past employers, courthouses and universities. You’ll know the information they provide is instantly more credible so you can feel comfortable moving forward.

More Information Available

Perhaps the biggest drawback of online services is the limited information.  These services usually focus only on the big areas like criminal records and sexual offenses.  A professional advanced background check from ESS will get you everything there is to know. Whether it’s education verification, past employment history, reference checks, licence verifications, motor vehicle records, etc, we’ll get you the information you need.

What to Look for in an Advanced Background Check Service

If you’re convinced that employment screening needs to be handled by professionals, all that’s left is to find the right background check service for you.  For starters, you should make sure the company you choose hits the three points discussed above. Are they FCRA compliant? Is their information reliable? Will they be able to get you the kinds of information you need?  You should never compromise on these 3 points no matter who you work with.

We feel that our team at ESS hits these 3 criteria perfectly.  Our goal since we started has always been to provide complete comprehensive information so that you can feel safe knowing who’s working for you.  Feel free to call anytime if you’d like to learn more about the kinds of information available through an advanced background check.