Background Check Vendors: 5 Steps to Assuring a Positive Partnership
To get the most from your background screening activities, your background check vendor must meet your needs for compliance, accuracy, and efficiency. However, not all vendors have the same screening methods, and not all have the processes in place to help you achieve your most critical recruitment and talent management goals.
Here are some key considerations to help you select the right background check vendor and benefit from a positive partnership.
How Background Check Vendors Differ
On the surface, it can seem as if background check vendors are too similar to distinguish which one is best for your organization. Most vendors offer a similar lineup of core background screening services, and they commit to a short turnaround time to deliver results. However, a closer look will reveal the many differences between each provider.
By examining the differences between background check vendors, it becomes clear which providers can elevate your hiring process and do more than simply take requests and return results.
Background check providers vary across the following criteria:
- The data sources they use to obtain candidate background information, and their processes for validating the data for accuracy and completeness
- Their processes for verifying employment and educational history
- Their level of experience working with organizations in your industry
- The quality of their background screening technology, including available integrations and customization
- Their customer service model and how they provide ongoing support
The Value of a Great Background Check Vendor Relationship
The provider you select for background screening makes a difference in the effectiveness of your screening program. Your provider not only keeps you informed about new and changing compliance requirements, but also helps you deliver an engaging and efficient screening process for candidates. Here are just a few of the benefits you can expect from a positive partnership with your background check vendor:
A Better Candidate Experience
A great screening partner doesn’t approach background checks as just a transaction, but plays a role in making the screening process efficient and streamlined for candidates. With a better candidate experience, you can reduce the chances of losing candidates due to a cumbersome or confusing background check process.
Support for a Faster Time to Hire
The background check vendor you select can support your time-to-hire metrics by verifying candidate identity and other data, so there are fewer errors and delays. With the benefit of technology and available integrations, your vendor can also help reduce double entry and flag background check results so you can take action quicker.
Higher Quality Hires
A provider with processes for delivering accurate results provides you with a more complete picture of the people you intend to hire, so you can make more informed hiring decisions.
Reduction in Hiring and Talent Management Risk
A provider with the internal controls necessary for compliance with federal and local laws, as well as up-to-date knowledge of the laws as they change, can help you avoid lawsuits, regulatory fines, and poor hiring decisions.
5 Steps to a Positive Background Check Vendor Partnership
A fruitful relationship with your background check provider doesn’t happen on its own. The vendor you select must be prepared to address your unique screening needs and demonstrate a track record of success in the areas that matter most to your organization. When evaluating your options, be sure you take the following actions:
1. Look beyond price and turnaround time.
Price and turnaround time are not great differentiators for screening companies, because most vendors are likely to be within the same pricing range and turnaround time window. Even after you disregard any outliers, there will still be many vendor choices available. Instead, focus more on the quality and accuracy of the products and services you can receive from your vendor.
Cheap or super-fast background checks are meaningless if you can’t rely on quality screening data for hiring decisions. To understand how vendors differentiate themselves in areas other than price and turnaround time, ask the following questions:
- How do you produce accurate background checks?
- How can you help our organization avoid common background screening mistakes?
- How do you combine judgment and analysis with technology to deliver quality results?
2. Expect a vendor to identify and address your challenges.
A great vendor helps to address your concerns and overcome compliance and efficiency challenges in your screening program. Your vendor should also identify solutions to problems you may not realize you have.
For example, you may feel you’re getting adequate coverage by performing monthly sanctions checks for your healthcare workforce. However, you might not be aware such a monitoring solution is presenting a compliance challenge and causing delays in your ability to take follow-up action. A great provider can help you see how an alternate solution, such as continuous monitoring, provides more timely results and better regulatory compliance with Office of Inspector General (OIG) recommendations for consistent monitoring.
3. Don’t settle for the standard online or phone support.
A successful partnership requires regular communication and responsive support, so you can have your questions answered and get day-to-day assistance. However, while online and phone support are essential, you should expect more than the basic assistance. A great background check vendor provides the following:
- A dedicated account contact
- Periodic reviews to help you address any compliance gaps or process inefficiencies in your screening program
- Continuous evaluation of your program for areas for improvement
4. Look for transparency.
Any successful partnership requires communication and transparency. To achieve transparency in your background screening partnership, you need a background check vendor with the processes and technology to help you see what’s happening and when, for each and every background check. Having this information keeps you informed and allows you to run an organized screening process. It also helps you hold your vendor accountable for having the necessary processes in place to deliver accurate results.
To achieve transparency in your background screening partnership, look for a vendor capable of providing you with the following updates and insights:
- Where each background check is in the process
- How many verification attempts have been made on a case, and when they were made
- The information sources used for each background check
- The specific courts experiencing delays or closures
5. Rely on your screening partner to do the “heavy lifting.”
When you’re busy working to attract and assess candidates for hire, your background check vendor should also be working hard to improve your background screening efficiency and compliance. If you need to get involved in troubleshooting issues with background check results, creating workarounds to improve the efficiency of your screening program, or performing research on new compliance requirements, you’re missing out on a great partnership.
Your background screening partner should be doing “the heavy lifting” to help you expand your screening program's capabilities and take advantage of new best practices relevant to your organization. Expect a great background check vendor to do the following:
- Ask the tough questions necessary to help you avoid errors and streamline existing hiring practices
- Offer new technology and upgrades to automate manual workflows
- Suggest new solutions to improve the candidate experience
Select the Best Background Check Vendor for Your Organization
Evaluating vendors across the usual criteria of price, turnaround time, and the number of services offered won’t tell you if a vendor will help you manage risk and improve your hiring process. On the other hand, by evaluating a vendor’s processes for delivery of accuracy, quality, and compliance, you can better understand whether a vendor will offer lasting value and make a reliable background screening partner. For more ideas on what to look for and the questions to ask potential vendors, check out our RFP Scorecard.