In this digital age, the effectiveness and timeliness of background screening are vastly improved with the benefit of a great technology platform. Working with a background screening provider backed by an effective platform not only improves automation and communication but also helps to move candidates through the background check process more efficiently. Some of the specific reasons an organization might choose to work with a provider that offers a modern background screening platform include:

  • Background checks take too long to complete or are inaccurate
  • The current provider doesn’t provide process updates, making it hard to know how long it will take for a background check report to be completed
  • Limited or no system integrations make it too difficult to keep track of paper authorization forms, disclosures, case status, and reports 
  • Candidates are sometimes forgotten while they’re going through the background check process 
  • The process of asking candidates for clarifying information, such as an address, is cumbersome

A background screening platform can solve many of those issues and leave recruiters and candidates delighted rather than frustrated with the background check process. However, not all platforms were created equal and not all can deliver the benefits that lead to a more successful background screening program. Here are five tips for evaluating different background screening platforms.

1. Examine flexibility and functionality

It’s one thing to have a technology platform for background screening, and another to have one that is flexible and offers functionality to make the hiring process more productive and efficient. Screening technology should be intuitive and easy to use. It should also be flexible enough to adapt as hiring processes and workflows change over time. Some of the features to look for in a background screening platform include:

  • Search, filter, and report functions—generate reports on historical screenings, search for screenings still in process, and filter screenings by status, date, name, and more.
  • Easy ordering—make in-application order requests instead of going back and forth over email or phone.
  • Duration tracking and activity milestones—get insights into where candidates are in the screening process.
  • Paperless disclosures - allow candidates to complete FCRA disclosures, and securely store signed forms within the platform
  • Streamlined communication - message background screening analysts about a specific case or background report
  • Workflow manager dashboard—view background checks categorized by their stage in the process, making it easier to see overall status and individual cases highlighted for further review.

2. Consider proprietary vs. third-party technology

While many won’t publicize it, some background screening companies use background screening software developed and serviced by a third party. The problem with working with a third-party platform is that it can be more of a “one size fits all” solution, and might not align well with your unique needs. A proprietary screening platform, on the other hand, is typically developed with the benefit of years of direct experience, intimate knowledge of industry best practices, and feedback from customers. 

When you’re evaluating different background screening platforms, it’s a good idea to ask if it’s a proprietary platform or one that was developed by another company. A proprietary platform, developed with user experience and customer expectations in mind, is likely to be more successful at helping you streamline hiring processes and access the background screening information you need to make timely hires.

Use this "RFP Evaluation Scorecard” to create a winning RFP process for  background screening providers >>

3. Assess integration capability

Software solutions are most effective when they don’t operate in a vacuum but integrate seamlessly with other platforms. Technology integrations reduce the need for double entry and increase the efficiency of existing processes. In one survey of HR professionals, 87 percent said that having tools that integrate into their existing technology was essential.

When your background screening platform integrates with other platforms in the hiring process such as the ATS, it enables a more complete and accurate picture of where candidates are in the process and what activities are ongoing or still need to be completed before a person can be hired. In addition, a background screening platform can also be configured to integrate with E-Verify and electronic Form I-9, to ease the process of employment eligibility verifications.

4. Expect regular communication

Background screening technology that is as informative as it is interactive will add the most value to your overall talent management program. After all, you don’t just want an online platform to order background screenings and check status; you also want to be informed when new information is available, such as:

  • Delays in certain counties or court systems
  • Available system upgrades 
  • Enhancements to keep you in background screening compliance

Real-time communication is also important for keeping candidates moving efficiently through the hiring process. Therefore, you should also look for a platform with messaging capability that allows for communication between you, background screening analysts, and, if you desire, candidates. When the background check analyst can reach out to candidates directly to request or verify details such as an address, the process can move along much faster.

5. Look at the impact on candidate experience

It is true that background screening is a necessary element of the talent acquisition process, but it can also be a factor in improving the overall candidate experience. In a labor market in which organizations are competing fiercely for talent, offering a positive candidate experience can make or break a company’s recruiting success. One study found that 83 percent of surveyed job candidates would change their mind about a company after a negative experience.

Background screening technology offers an opportunity to demonstrate an efficient recruiting process and show that you value the time and effort candidates put into pursuing an open position. By using a background screening platform that automates the background check process, such as with e-disclosures authorizations, candidates don’t have to get bogged down in paperwork and manual form entry. The platform also stores the latest versions of those documents, thus making it easier for HR teams to keep track of candidates and make sure they don’t get lost in the shuffle.

Digital signatures are another example of how a background screening platform improves the overall candidate experience during the hiring process. Using e-signatures demonstrates to candidates that they are working with an innovative organization that utilizes digital tools to make processes more efficient.

Background checks don’t have to be cumbersome or time-consuming. A background screening platform makes the process carefree and easy for candidates. Here are some key characteristics to look for in a background screening platform that demonstrate a commitment to the candidate experience:

  • The platform is easy to use and fast—a few clicks rather than a long, drawn-out process.
  • All candidate actions related to background screening can be done using the platform, with no paper forms to be signed or exchanged.
  • Candidates can easily access the platform from a mobile device and can see their screening status at any time.
  • Candidates can look for and select a drug testing center using the platform.

A background screening platform can improve the overall hiring process

A background screening platform is a great way to automate the process of conducting background checks and can ultimately help to streamline the hiring process for recruiters and candidates alike. It’s a better alternative to email and paper processes and delivers benefits you can’t get from simply ordering background checks online. With its integration capability, expanded options for communication, and adaptable functionality, a background screening platform is the modern solution for conducting high-quality background checks in the most efficient manner possible.


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