8 Things to Look for in a Background Check Partner
Conducting thorough background checks requires more than searching an online database or making a few reference calls. It requires having a trusted partner and advisor who leverages best-in-class technology to get the full picture of an individual’s history and background.
A great background check partner understands the optimal mix of searches and verifications to provide the most complete view of a candidate’s history. For example, whereas some background screening companies might stop at three attempts to verify a candidate’s employment or education, a partner that goes the extra mile won’t stop there, but will make more than three attempts to get you the most complete report possible.
Furthermore, making sure that candidates undergo a pain-free and efficient background screening process is key to a positive hiring experience for all involved. Consider this: one national survey found nearly two in five employers lost a candidate because of a negative experience with the background check process. With so much at risk, it’s wise to find a partner to help you avoid that kind of experience and keep candidates engaged through their first day of work and beyond. Here are eight things to look for in an ideal background check partner.
Talent management systems maximize their value when they are well-integrated with other HR systems you use and help you avoid manual, double entry. According to a recent study, 97 percent of HR leaders are planning to increase their investment in recruiting technology in 2020. A likely reason is that today’s HR technology solutions speed up a whole range of HR processes, including hiring and onboarding, and can increasingly be integrated with other enterprise platforms.
The company applicant tracking system (ATS) and background screening go hand in hand. Both support the identification of talent for key hires, reducing double entry and the time to hire. When your background check provider offers technology that can seamlessly integrate with your existing ATS, you stay better informed about the status of candidate background checks and can easily track where they are in the process. Instead of having separate platforms that store information about the same candidate, it’s possible to use one platform to access everything about a candidate, from the date of their application to their contact details and background screening results.
When you work with a background check partner that automates processes, the partnership becomes a true value-add to your entire talent management program. Automated background checking improves efficiency, eliminating the need to stick with paper-intensive processes that are prone to error and cause longer lead times. Some examples of key background screening processes that can be automated include:
- Candidate authorization and disclosure communications
- Court record searches
- I-9 form completion and employment eligibility searches
A Single Point of Contact
With the right background check partner, you don’t just enter a name, date of birth, and social security number into an online portal; you have a dedicated point of contact to help guide you through the background screening process, answer questions, and troubleshoot. Using a background check partner that follows a high-touch background check process ensures that a dedicated analyst manages each background screening report from beginning to end. The same analyst painstakingly reviews and analyzes the information provided by candidates and obtained from reporting sources. With the powerful combination of innovative technology and uncompromising human effort, you receive complete and accurate background screening reports that are both timely and reliable.
Compliance Advice and Updates
From getting the correct authorization on file to meeting post-employment background check legal requirements, employers are subject to act within federal and state guidelines on background checks. In addition to the myriad individual state laws, other key governing bodies that have regulations for conducting background checks include:
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) (primarily for healthcare employers)
Your background check partner can help your organization navigate these regulations so you stay in compliance. You should expect your provider to communicate with you about new or expanded laws, provide notification of delays that are occurring in certain municipalities, and share local or national events that could impact the background check process. As laws and regulations evolve, your partner can also provide you with new tools to simplify workflows and help manage your compliance burden.
Resources for a Smooth Candidate Experience
For a fuss-free background check process, your background check partner can ensure that candidates get the information and resources they need when they need them. Whether through communication about how background screening fits into the overall hiring process, the dissemination of disclosure and authorization documents, or other requests for information, candidates don’t have to feel that the background check is a confusing scramble for papers and forms, but rather a seamless part of the overall hiring process.
Job applicants today expect an efficient candidate experience that makes good use of their time and makes them feel respected and valued as a candidate. If a candidate has a negative experience, they are likely to talk about it publicly, which can hurt an organization’s reputation and ability to attract top talent. One study found that 60 percent of job seekers have a poor candidate experience, and of those, 72 percent share their experience online through sites such as Glassdoor. To lessen the likelihood of such occurrences, it makes sense to have a background screening partner that encourages positive experiences for candidates via online access, automated processes, and mobile-friendly sign-ups—for example, drug screening that allows candidates to find and visit labs and receive notification of their results.
A great partnership is characterized by regular, helpful communication. In addition to a wealth of online resources, your background check partner should offer a dedicated account manager to help you with onboarding and ongoing background checks and keep you informed via webinars, client alerts, and new product release announcements. You shouldn’t be left in the dark with only a call center phone number or a few vague downloads from a company website; you should expect regular communication that answers your questions, offers new insights, and keeps you up to speed on everything you need to know to operate a well-run background screening program.
Insight into Processes
Having a healthy level of knowledge about the background check process, your obligations, and key requirements will enable you to get the most out of background checks. However, the process of conducting thorough background screening can be fraught with myths that can give a false sense of security. For example, some may believe that the process of conducting background checks is as simple as checking an all-inclusive database that contains everything about an individual’s criminal history. The reality is that thorough background screening involves utilizing different databases and sources, depending on the information required. The same is true when verifying employment or education history.
From public record searches to educational verifications and industry-specific searches, you should look for a partner who leverages the latest technology and will work hard to help you understand the background check process, which solutions are right for you, and how (and when) to add certain services to your overall program.
Just as every industry has unique risks associated with the hiring process, each organization has different needs when it comes to the type of background checks required for different roles. Your background check partner should have the capability to offer customized solutions that meet your needs and don’t leave any gaps in your knowledge about a candidate’s or employee’s background. For example, configurable background check technology can empower you to order, review, and manage your background screening reports and programs in a way that aligns with your existing hiring and talent management processes. With this added flexibility, background screening can be more easily incorporated into existing hiring processes without having to undergo a complete overhaul or process re-engineering.
Do More with the Right Background Check Partner
Like any important business relationship, the partnership you develop with a background screening company should increase the effectiveness of your business while also making it easier for everyone involved to communicate and exchange information. A background check partner that offers seamless technology, plentiful communication, and the advice you need to feel confident in your screening program will deliver dividends well into the future.