It would be super-convenient if there was some magical nationwide database that held every criminal record of every person ever arrested or convicted of a crime. Unfortunately, that database does not exist. While there are private databases that hold millions of records from all 50 states, none claim to have all records from all states. And while many states have adequate databases of the crimes committed by residents of their states, they do not include crimes committed by current state residents while they lived in other states.
Using these private databases can be a good back-up measure, a resource to use to double-check the background information gleaned from other sources. But they shouldn’t be considered an exhaustive search.
The smartest thing for an employer to do is to hire a professional employment screening service that can attack the background check process thoroughly and systematically. Gathering previous addresses and former names used by the applicant in the last 10 years is a good first step, that way criminal records can be found in all states, counties and towns where the applicant has resided in the last decade.
A professional pre-employment screening service will take care of such details for you, and will therefore give you the most thorough and trustworthy results.