The background screening industry is always trying to find new and interesting ways to innovate with the ever-present goal of empowering employers to make informed hiring decisions more quickly and improve “time to hire.” One of these “new and interesting ways” are “instant clears.”
“Instant clears” are designed to deliver a criminal result more quickly when a search is clear. The idea is great in theory: a screening firm searches a database, online court system, or source of instant information, and if a name is absent, the employer should conclude there is no criminal record to find.
The potential problem with an “instant clear” is the quality of the underlying data. If the data being used is not complete, accurate, and up to date, there is the possibility that employers could base critical decisions on inferior information like an old computer term warned: “Garbage in, garbage out.”