Universal Background Filtering Review | TechRadar

Universal Background Screening is based in Scottsdale, Arizona, and operates as a private investigation company licensed under AZ state laws (they even provide their license on their site). It offers a number of services that start with employment background checks, but also related items such as physical job exams, physical exams, income verification and compliance management solutions. Although they are 100% based in the USA, Universal Background Screening provides its services worldwide in approximately 200 countries, from Albania to Zimbabwe.

Universal History Screening Assessment

Universal does not publish its pricing information, so it is best to request a quote directly (Image credit: Universal Background Screening)

Packages and prices

The price of universal background filtering is opaque and is not disclosed on the site. Instead, business credentials must be exchanged and a personalized quote can be provided. The price is established according to the expected volume of use and the chosen service offer. Needless to say, we would rather see more initial transparency in pricing that some of its competitors are offering.

We searched for a price for this service, and could not find one because it is seriously opaque. However, we have found complaints of some “hidden drug test fees” when an applicant takes the drug test, and with limited locations in a remote area, they go to a less than preferred location. , and the price of the test increases dramatically. provided that.

Universal History Screening Assessment

Universal accepts applicant information through a simple online form that can be pre-filled by your ATS (Image credit: Universal Background Screening)

How it works

After contacting Universal Background Screening through the contact form, a member of staff will develop a personalized screening program tailored to your specific situation. In putting together this bespoke program, Universal will take into account the specific responsibilities associated with your industry in determining what screening services are required.

Once you and Universal decide which checks are relevant and you’ve signed up with the company, you’ll be able to order background searches whenever you’re about to hire.

Because Universal follows a paperless system and is HR-XML certified, you can place a new order with one click from any Applicant Tracking System (ATS) of your choice. Alternatively, you can add a candidate’s details through a portal on the Universal website.


Universal Background Screening offers a number of services to its clients. One downside is that there aren’t any smartphone apps for universal background filtering.

Criminal record search

Universal background screening allows you to easily search court records for past criminal activity (Image credit: Universal Background Screening)

Criminal record searches from the cornerstone of offers. The most local is at the county level, which is called the county court criminal record search. It covers a minimum of 7 years and includes judicial convictions for felonies and misdemeanors. It is conducted on site at the local courthouse, with a turnaround time of less than 2 days in 97% of cases. When a conviction is identified, it includes the relevant case number and other details of the case, such as jail time or court-ordered fines, and how the applicant was identified.

The broadening of the search brings us to the proposed statewide criminal search which covers 42 states. Results vary by state, but often include the offense, court document number, and other details relevant to a conviction. In some cases, there is an additional charge for this search, depending on the state, from a minimum of zero dollars in Alabama, to a high in New York which imposes a search fee of $ 95.

These county and state searches are often run based on the addresses the individual has lived in, both now and in the past. Sometimes the approach needs to be more widespread, such as with a person without specific prior address information. Universal Background Screening also covers this issue, starting with USA CriminalSearch, which covers “criminal history data from 22 state court filings and Department of Corrections records from 45 states.” This would cover 94% of the American population. The search can even be extended further with a USA OffenderSearch which covers a national sex offender registry. Finally, there is USA SecuritySearch, a national security database and an anti-terrorism database with fourteen sources.

Another point of differentiation of Universal Background Screening is that it is verified information. This means that these are not just the results of a database search, which can often be inaccurate due to unconfirmed results, especially with a common name. Rather, this research is an organized result, with confirmed results that can be trusted, and “Fully Compliant with Section 613 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)”.

Drug testing

Drug tests for employment are also available (Image credit: Universal Background Screening)

Beyond criminal background checks, additional services are also available. The first is the Motor Vehicle Driving Records Search, which captures data going back 36 months and includes traffic violations and license suspensions. Then there is the employment credit report, which is suitable for employment purposes. This is a PEER (Pre-Employment Assessment Report) from TransUnion, and gives a full credit history to identify applicants who are potentially overburdened or who are not financially stable. It does not include account numbers and does not negatively affect the credit rating of the applicant. Finally, there are drug tests, via a network of more than 8,000 sites in SAMHSA certified laboratories, which can even meet the strict requirements of the Department of Transport (DOT).


We can sum up that the support options with Universal Background Screening are straightforward, but not overwhelming. There is a mailing address, but many are unlikely to want to receive their support in this way in our modern, connected times. There are direct phone numbers too, with the added kudos for being toll-free and dedicated to service, but most people don’t really pay for long distance these days anyway. We also found a fax number and a direct email address. The last option we found was a support portal, where you enter the required fields, and you can basically send a message for the contact, although we do criticize the flaw that there is no option for include an attachment, which can be useful for sending a tagged screenshot to detail the difficulty encountered.

As for the more advanced options, there really aren’t any. We did not find a chat box, either live or automated chatbot. There are also no self-service options such as FAQs, pre-designed articles, webinars, or a community forum.

The competition

Although Universal Background Screening is our top choice for best employment background check service, this is not a good option if you need to quickly order a small volume of projections. Good hiring is a service that offers pre-made screening packages and may be worth a look if you don’t want to waste time setting up a personalized screening system, like you have to with Universal.

Sterling is another background check provider that sells custom solutions for clients in certain industries. Depending on your industry, you may find that Sterling offers services that are better suited to your specific industry than Universal’s projections.

Final verdict

Universal Background Screening is a serious player in the pre-employment candidate search market. We highlight the number of searches possible, ancillary drug screening and direct support options. The lack of smartphone apps is an area for improvement, and the lack of more transparent pricing is frustrating, along with hidden extra costs, such as for some research and using an off-grid center for lab testing. . Nonetheless, it should be on the list to consider for organizations that need pre-employment screening of their candidates.

We also highlighted the best background check services

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