RiskAware Digs Deeper into Background Checks

Written by Jerred Ziegler.

Post Companies generally use background checks to assess job candidates and mitigate the safety and security risks of hiring. But background checks rarely tell a person’s full story and can even contain inaccurate information. RiskAware in Cincinnati, Ohio, dives deeper into a person’s background, investigating information using multiple sources and cross-­checking it to give companies a comprehensive and accurate report on prospective employees.

“Our private investigators find information daily that is not available from the databases many risk management companies are using. What we’ve found is that criminal activity is often being under­reported,” said Christine Prespare, director of business development at RiskAware. “If something like domestic violence or a DUI are not contained in the databases used to source the background report, hiring managers are less aware of the risks they’re taking in employing someone.”

Companies that conduct background checks often report any information that matches a person’s name and date of birth, which can be a problem if someone has a common name or if documents contain errors. When a business orders a background check through RiskAware, they access databases containing over 545 million criminal records, and also information from courthouse records and social media sites. RiskAware performs background check research using licensed private investigators who find information not included in standard databases. All matches are then checked for accuracy, allowing RiskAware to ensure that the final report is verified information compliant with all state and federal laws.

“It’s important that we get the right information because companies want complete reports, but misinformation can affect someone’s chances of being employed,” said Prespare. “That’s why we search for information in so many places and have analysts go through each document to make sure the information about a job candidate is correct.”

After hiring an employee, RiskAware clients can continue to monitor employee behavior through software called Red Flag. Everyone in the company can access Red Flag to report things like bullying or misuse of company resources.

RiskAware was founded by Stephanie Hughes in 2005. Hughes worked in risk management at the government level, as well as with corporations and universities. She noticed that higher education, in particular, had few policies to monitor who was being hired to work on campuses. Today, many colleges and universities across the country are taking advantage of RiskAware’s technology, making up about 60 percent of the company’s client list.

In 2014, RiskAware partnered with HCDC, a southwest partner of Ohio Third Frontier, to build a new website and expand its social media presence. The company is housed in HCDC’s

business incubator and recently presented its technology as part of a showcase intended to market startups to Cincinnati businesses and investors.

“We turned to the mentors at HCDC for suggestions on how to market the company effectively and provide our services to as many employers as possible,” said Prespare.

RiskAware’s clients range from universities to corporations. Prespare says although their customers stretch across the country, there is no better place for RiskAware’s headquarters than Cincinnati because of the resources available that help the company continually improve and grow.

“We had a lot of help finding new ways to promote our business,” said Prespare. “Getting our name out there and showing companies why we’re the best at what we do has made all the difference for RiskAware.”

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