Background screening is an important component of the overall hiring process. Conducting thorough background checks not only ensures you get an accurate picture of the individuals you’re considering for hire, but it also protects the organization, employees, and customers from risk and potential liability. According to a joint study by and the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA), companies conduct background checks at various points both during and after the hiring process, with as many as 24 percent of screenings taking place after an employee has been hired. Given the different points at which background screening can take place, it makes sense to ensure the process is as productive and efficient as possible.

For your background screening activities to be an important component of your hiring process, they should bring together the best of automation and an uncompromising effort to get the most complete candidate history possible. Those activities should also keep you in compliance and work well alongside other recruiting and talent acquisition activities. Here are seven ways to boost productivity and get more from your background screening activities.

Integrate Your ATS

The applicant tracking system (ATS) is at the heart of recruiting activities and helps HR keep track of candidates, where they came from, and where they are in the hiring process. According to a study by CareerArc, nearly 40 percent of employers rely on an ATS to pre-screen candidates for job opportunities. The ATS can do more than screen candidates based on resumes; it can also help you more effectively screen other aspects of candidates’ backgrounds. 

When the ATS integrates with your background screening provider, you benefit from avoiding double-entry into multiple systems or missing individuals who require a background check before they can advance to the next stage of the hiring process. Moreover, it’s possible to set up candidate data flows directly from the ATS to your background screening provider, so results can be stored in the ATS without having to be transferred or manually entered into another system.

Automate Key Processes

Automation speeds any process, and background screening is no exception. Automation increases background screening productivity by eliminating a lot of the manual data entry and selection of search types, thereby delivering results faster. There’s no need to pass paper authorizations or results by hand or by mail. From the moment a candidate is identified for a background check to the point at which the results are generated, automation can eliminate paper, digitally timestamp actions taken with each case, and ensure information is filed and stored in a manner that makes retrieval easier.

It’s important to note that automation for automation’s sake can only get you so far. It’s when automation works in conjunction with human judgment, effort, and a willingness to achieve the most thorough background check possible that the company really benefits. When you combine automated processes with a background screening partner who works tirelessly to ensure you’re informed about the backgrounds of prospective hires, you boost background screening productivity exponentially.

Provide Candidate-Driven Solutions

An efficient, paperless process is one that makes the hiring process more efficient for both HR and candidates. From online background screening authorization to the communication of favorable or adverse results, candidates appreciate a seamless process that allows them to provide and receive information directly to and from your background screening partner without too much paper or fuss. Having a background screening provider who understands how to keep you in compliance with disclosure documents, requests for information, and regulations such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) will ensure that candidates know what’s being requested and how their background screening results can impact the hiring process.

One solution that is particularly helpful to candidates is the ability to complete many background screening activities via mobile device. Taking a mobile-first approach allows candidates to provide relevant background data and schedule drug screening from their phones and to use their phone GPS to find nearby testing sites. Offering candidates a way to use their mobile devices to speed up their own application and hiring process improves their overall experience and ensures the efficient use of their time.

Consolidate Services

Background screening doesn’t have to be a jumbled mass of different providers and services. It doesn’t serve candidates or the company well when there is one contact and platform for criminal background checks, another for drug screening, and yet another for references or educational verifications. Instead, consolidating processes such as I-9/E-verify and drug screening can ensure all bases are covered and important data and results can all be found in one place. 

Selecting one provider to handle all of your company’s background screening needs allows you to make certain there is no costly overlap of services and reduces the points of contact for the HR and recruiting team. The range of consolidated services can include:

  • Database searches such as social security traces and credit reports
  • Criminal record searches
  • Employment and education verifications
  • Drug and health screenings
  • Industry searches 
  • International screenings

Streamline E-Disclosure and Authorization Processes

With a digital e-disclosure and authorization process, candidates can securely review and sign required screening documents. Streamlining this important process ensures all signed documents are held in a secure location and that they comply with all related regulations. Considering the many negative consequences associated with FCRA non-compliance, including heavy fines and legal action, it’s important to ensure you provide the proper disclosures and obtain the required authorizations at all times. Guidance from SHRM recommends that companies focus on the following key areas when it comes to remaining FCRA compliant:

  • Employer certification—using credit information only for lawful purposes
  • Disclosure and authorization—providing candidates with required disclosures and obtaining written authorization to conduct background screenings
  • Pre-adverse and adverse action—providing applicants with written notification of adverse hiring decisions based on their consumer report

When you work with a background screening partner who can help you streamline these important processes while remaining in compliance, you ensure the proper documents are always within easy reach and key steps aren’t missed as you complete candidate background screenings.


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Automate the Adverse Action Workflow

The FCRA has clear and specific rules for notifying candidates who will not be hired based on the results of a background screening. You can ensure you are in compliance and follow an efficient adverse action notification process by working with a provider that automates that workflow. Automating this process can help you:

  • Generate adverse action letters on demand 
  • Track activity with an electronic date/time-stamped log and status notifications
  • Customize notifications based on your jurisdiction

Incorporate Paperless Drug Screening

Drug screening doesn’t have to be a separate add-on; it can be fully incorporated into the background screening process, helping you to complete these tests earlier than before. For the positions that you select, you can ensure that paperless drug screening is added for urine, breath, saliva, and/or hair testing through pre-approved labs, without separate manual entry. 

Using a paperless drug screening platform can automatically recognize which candidates must undergo drug screening and then provide those individuals with instructions for choosing and visiting a testing lab in their area. The same digital solution can notify you when individuals have received their e-disclosures and completed authorizations and testing, ensuring no time is lost between receiving results and taking the next steps in the hiring process.

Background screening doesn’t have to be a stressful scramble after you’ve gone down the long road of finding the right candidate for a role, nor does it have to be a manual, paper-intensive process that takes too long to complete. By automating and consolidating key processes and syncing with existing hiring platforms such as an ATS, you can boost your background screening productivity and ensure thorough background screens are a fully integrated part of your hiring strategy.

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