Uber and Background Screening

By now we’ve all heard about Jason Dalton in Kalamazoo, who was arrested after a wave of attacks the day before. For some inexplicable reason, after the dust had settled it seemed the media decided to turn its attention on Uber and their background screening process for drivers. InfoQuest decided to take a deeper look at the background check Uber actually uses.

According to Kalamazoo County prosecuter Jeffrey Getting, Jason Dalton had no criminal record prior to the attack. However, as we are well aware, there are different levels to a background check, and the more levels you have the more thorough the results will be. So how thorough is Uber’s process right now at uncovering records for new drivers?

Uber’s website states that: “All drivers in the U.S. must provide their license and vehicle documentation before being able to drive with Uber. They’re also required to go through a pre-screening process that includes a review of their motor vehicle records and a search through criminal records at the county, state, and federal levels.”

The website also includes a footnote that reads: “In New York City, DMV and criminal background checks are conducted by the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) according to their licensing standards. The screening process does not require fingerprints, Live Scan, or the DOJ/FBI databases.”

Neither of those blurbs actually outline the true details of their screening process, but fortunately we were able to find some more information in their blog. The points they hit are as follows:

  • The screening begins with a Social Security trace to discover past addresses and aliases within the last 7 years
  • The search then turns to national, state, and local databases using the names and addresses uncovered.
  • Some of the databases used include the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website, National Criminal Search, and “several different databases used to flag terrorists.”
  • Upon identifying a potential criminal record, someone is sent to review the record in-person at the relevant courthouse or, if possible, pulls the record digitally.
  • Screenings also pull the Motor Vehicle Registration (MVR) file associated with the license number provided.

Did you notice anything missing? We did: Uber’s onboarding process does not include a meeting with prospective drivers in person. There doesn’t even appear to be a phone interview. These are steps that 100% of Infoquest’s clients include in their pre-hire process and we can NOT recommend it enough. Obviously no method is fullproof, but we do believe that the human element of speaking to someone and getting a feel for them in conversation is incredibly important, not only for safety, but to gauge how they fit with your company culture.

Now that we’ve gotten a rough draft of Uber’s screening policy, how comprehensive is your organization’s background check?

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