What Is First Advantage Score Eligible Meaning?
An eligible score in a First Advantage background check indicates the individual is eligible for hire and that nothing of note was found on the check.
Table of Contents
Applicants undergoing employment screening might be wondering how far back does First Advantage background check go?
Many people might be surprised to find that most checks performed by First Advantage will examine 3 years more than you might think.
In fact, in most states, First Advantage will be able to examine the individual’s entire criminal history. Even in seven-year states, First Advantage background checks can sometimes search back 10 years instead of 7.
However, there is a lot more to consider before undergoing a First Advantage background check that individuals should be aware of in order to properly prepare and give themselves the best chance of passing without any issues.
When it comes to how far back does First Advantage background check go, the answer will depend mostly on the state where the background check is taking place.
In the majority of states, a First Advantage background check can go back forever.
This may surprise many individuals who have heard that background checks or criminal history check only go back 7 years. However, this is a bit of a misconception.
The only federal law that all states must follow when it comes to background checks is those outlined by the FCRA.1 The FCRA does not have a time limit in regards to how far back a background check service can check someone’s criminal history during a pre-employment screening.
This means that unless the state has adopted background check laws at the state level, a background check service is legally allowed to view an individual’s entire criminal history, so long as the records are publicly available.
There are currently only a handful of seven-year states: California, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Mexico, New York, New Hampshire, Texas, and Washington. In some of these states, there are exceptions to the rule as well.
For example in Texas employers in certain industries are allowed to check back until the 18th birthday for criminal records on prospective employees, and many other states allow employers to look back 10 years instead of seven if the position has an annual salary above $75,000.3 These are commonly referred to as 10-year background check states.
With all that being said, when it comes to First Advantage background checks, the check will involve the last 7 years of criminal history at a minimum. In states that do not follow the seven-year rule, how far back the check goes will depend on where the individual has lived in the last 7 years.
This is because First Advantage only performs county-level criminal history checks of the counties that the applicant has lived in during the previous seven years.
The First Advantage background check process is fairly simple but there are a few small differences compared to most background checks that cause First Advantage to gather information in a unique way. Since some states have longer years for archiving databases, people are concerned about how long does a felony stay on your record and what kinds of information are being accessed by First Advantage.
Most background check services perform the criminal history check portion of the process by running the name of the individual through a series of criminal databases.
Oftentimes these will be federal court databases, as well as state and county court databases. This allows for a thorough check where individuals are unlikely to sneak through the system despite having a felony conviction on their record.
However, First Advantage only checks for criminal history information at the county level. When filling in the required information to undergo a First Advantage background check, individuals will be asked to enter the addresses of their last 7 years of residence.
First Advantage will then use this information to check for criminal history information in each of the counties the individual has lived in during the last 7 years. This creates an interesting loophole for individuals who have a criminal record that is older than 7 years and does not live in a seven-year state.
If an individual was convicted of a crime 10 years ago, as long as they have not lived in the county where the charges were filed in the last 7 years, this information would not show up on a First Advantage background check. This is because the county where the charges were filed will not be checked by First Advantage.
On the other hand, this practice can also extend the criminal history search far beyond 7 years in states that do not follow the seven-year rule.
For example, if an individual was convicted of a crime 20 years ago and has lived in the same county the entire time, then First Advantage will uncover the criminal history information through the county, despite its age.
Many people may be wondering about the First Advantage background check process time. How long does a background check take is probably one of the most common questions asked by people with a criminal record.
First Advantage background checks will generally take as long as a typical name-based background check, about 3-5 business days in most cases. However, there can be several things that can lead to small delays such as holidays or information being entered incorrectly.
Some individuals have reported that small mistakes can cause extreme delays in the background check process. So it is important to double-check all the information entered to ensure the check is completed as soon as possible.
First Advantage background check scores will be either clear or decisional. Employers will generally give First Advantage a list of requirements the individual must meet in order to obtain a passing score on the check.
This will usually include passing the identity, education, and employment verification, as well as meeting certain requirements when it comes to the criminal history check that is performed. If all of these conditions are clearly met, then First Advantage will score the background check as clear.
This indicates to the employer that there was nothing of note found and that the next stage in the hiring process can begin.
Individuals who receive a score of ‘decisional’ will likely have cause for concern. A decisional grade means that First Advantage uncovered something on the individual’s background check that the employer indicated was a red flag.
This does not necessarily mean that the background check has failed, only that First Advantage has brought something discovered on the check to the attention of the employer.
This can be something as simple as trouble obtaining certain verification regarding employers or concerning criminal history information was found. Regardless of the information, the employer will need to review this information.
Upon review, the employer may contact the applicant to discuss the information, or may simply choose to overlook the information. If the information is cause for disqualification such as a violent felony conviction appearing on the criminal history check, then the employer is required by FCRA to notify the applicant in writing of the results of the criminal history check and what information led to the disqualification.4
Related Reading: What Causes a Red Flag on a Background Check? (Don’t Do This)
First Advantage background check results should be sent to the applicant themselves in most situations. When the background check has been completed individuals will receive an email with the results of their background check as well as the grade which will depend on the information the employer was interested in compared to what was discovered during the investigation.
Some applicants may earn a First Advantage background check fail and might be wondering what their options are. Luckily, regardless of what agency performed the background check and what kind of checks were performed, individuals are always able to dispute the results of their background check with the company that performed the check.
This is a provision of the FCRA that allows individuals to file appeals so that individuals are not being denied employment opportunities, due to mistakes on a criminal history check.
When individuals receive correspondence from First Advantage regarding a failed background check, there should be detailed instructions on how to file an appeal with First Advantage for any incorrect information.
The appeals process could potentially take some time, however, which is one of the main reasons individuals should take some time to study how to get a criminal background check before their pre-employment background check takes place.
Not only will this allow individuals to know exactly what information employers are likely to see such as charges and arrest records, but it also gives individuals the opportunity to fix their background check. Individuals have several options to perform background checks on themselves.
The easiest method is to use the search bar at the top of this page to perform public records search using their name. This will give individuals a good idea of what is on their criminal records.
Individuals can also use an online background check service to perform the check but should be aware that most of these companies operate on a subscription service and will require a hefty fee to perform a single check.
Sometimes online background check services will offer a 7-day free trial background check that individuals can take advantage of to perform a single check at no cost.
You may need to discover how to get a federal background check on yourself if you are seeking jobs that require you to work with children or running for public office. Federal background checks are also an option for individuals wanting to run a search on themselves.
Individuals will have a few different ways to check their First Advantage background check status. As mentioned, checking the status may not be necessary at all since First Advantage checks are completed fairly quickly, usually within 3-5 days of the check being submitted.
However, individuals may want to keep an eye on things just in case information was entered incorrectly and needs to be fixed in order for the check to be completed.
Individuals can check the status of their background check by simply waiting for the updates from First Advantage, who will send email updates as the check enters various stages in the process.
For checks that are taking longer than a week, First Advantage recommends contacting them directly in order to diagnose the issue.
Keep in mind that employers are legally required to notify individuals of the results of their background check so individuals should always hear about the results after submitting a check no matter the circumstances or if the check failed.
Some applicants may receive a First Advantage background check score result decisional. Although this is not technically a failed score, it is usually caused for concern.
A decisional grade means that something your employer considers to be a red flag was located on your background check by First Advantage. This does not indicate a disqualification, only that the employer will be looking at the information that was uncovered and making a decision.
This decision may result in disqualification automatically or the employer may choose to discuss the issue with the applicant to consider options and better understand the situation.
A First Advantage background check status eligible is usually the best score that an individual can hope to see on their background check.
A status of eligible means that there was nothing on the background check that your employer considers to be a red flag and that from a background check perspective the individual is eligible for hire.
Although this does not indicate that the individual is certainly going to be hired, very few companies will bother to request a background check on an applicant unless they plan on hiring the individual. Many states even require employers to offer jobs to applicants before the background check has been completed.
In certain cases, individuals might find they have a First Advantage background check delay status. The exact reason for the status indicating delay will vary but in most cases, this will be due to information submitted by the applicant being incorrect.
This may be a name or address spelled incorrectly, or a social security number being incorrect.
Basically, a delay will indicate something is stopping the check from being completed, not that something is being further investigated.
Some individuals who are applying for jobs at major companies might be wondering what companies use First Advantage so they can know what to expect from an eventual background check.
First Advantage is used by tons of companies all over the country and many large businesses have made First Advantage their exclusive background check providers such as Paypal and the University of Florida.6
Those wondering how does First Advantage verify employment, might be under the impression that there is an employment database that background check agencies have access to.
However this is not the case and most background check services will verify employment by contacting the previous employer using the information submitted on the individual’s application, similar to the way one might perform a reference check.
How far back do criminal background checks go, is an extremely common question due to the number of misconceptions regarding background check laws.
There are currently no federal limits on how far back a background check can go so, in most cases, a background check will go back forever.
One of the notable exceptions to this is states that follow the seven-year rule in which private background check companies will only be able to search the last 7 years of someone’s criminal history for conviction information.
Individuals wondering how far back does a gun background check go, might be under the impression that the seven-year rule will apply to a firearms check. However, all gun background checks go back forever, regardless of the state.
When it comes to how far back does a real estate background check go, the same rules will apply to a standard pre-employment background check.
Basically, this means that 7 years of criminal history will be examined at the very least, and in certain states, this check can go back forever.
One of the confusions about how far back does fingerprint background check go, has to do with who performs the check. The vast majority of fingerprint checks are performed by the FBI, in which case the check will go back forever.
Individuals wondering how far back does a CPS background check should go, will need to know that the FBI is in charge of CPS background checks which means the check will cover the individual’s entire criminal history.7
Some might be confused about how far back does First Advantage background check go, however, the answer is fairly simple.
Although that may sound confusing, the main takeaway is that when it comes to how far back does First Advantage background check go, the answer is that they will view all of the available criminal history information from the counties the individual has lived in during the last 7 years.
Not knowing what to expect from a background check is never a good position to be in. Individuals should research the background check service that their employer uses so they can answer questions such as how far back does First Advantage background check go?
An eligible score in a First Advantage background check indicates the individual is eligible for hire and that nothing of note was found on the check.
A First Advantage background check will usually take 3-5 days.
Sterling background checks will be limited by state laws when it comes to how far back they can search for criminal history information. In most states, this will allow them to go back forever, but industry standards usually involve 7-year background checks.
Most fingerprint background checks are performed by the FBI who do not need to abide by state laws regarding how far back a background check can go. This means most fingerprint checks will cover the individual’s entire life.
How far back does a criminal background check go will be determined by state laws. Most states will allow background check services to look at an individual’s entire criminal history record, regardless of age.
A federal employment background check will cover an individual’s entire criminal history.
A typical employment background check will go back 7 years in most cases, however they are usually allowed to go back further. Jobs in the state or federal government will usually involve background checks that go back forever.
1United States Government. (2022). Fair Credit Reporting Act. Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved November 25, 2022, from <https://www.ftc.gov/legal-library/browse/statutes/fair-credit-reporting-act>
2United States Government. (2022). Arrest and Conviction Records: Resources for Job Seekers, Workers and Employers. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Retrieved November 25, 2022, from <https://www.eeoc.gov/arrestandconviction>
3Texas.gov. (2022). References and Background Checks. Texas.gov. Retrieved November 25, 2022, from <https://www.twc.texas.gov/news/efte/references_background_checks.html>
4United States Government. (2022). Employer Background Checks and Your Rights. Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved November 25, 2022, from <https://consumer.ftc.gov/articles/employer-background-checks-your-rights>
5United States Government. (2022). Rap Sheets (Identity History Summary Checks). FBI. Retrieved November 25, 2022, from <https://www.fbi.gov/how-we-can-help-you/need-an-fbi-service-or-more-information/identity-history-summary-checks>
6University of Florida. (2022). Pre-employment Screening Using First Advantage. UF Human Resources. Retrieved November 25, 2022, from <https://hr.ufl.edu/manager-resources/recruitment-staffing/hiring-center/preparing-an-offer/pre-employment-screening-using-first-advantage/>
7Childcare.gov. (2022). Child Protective Services. Childcare.gov. Retrieved November 25, 2022, from <https://childcare.gov/consumer-education/child-protective-services>