HR Management & Compliance, Recruiting

5 Tips for Better Background Screening

Choosing a new service provider for your business requires decision-makers to take a variety of factors into account. When looking for a new background screening provider, for example, companies consider the cost, the provider’s history of compliance, its accuracy rates, and its turnaround times.


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But after the contract is signed, it can be difficult for businesses to judge how well their background screening vendor is serving their company. To help with this, I’ve compiled a list of tips to aid business owners in assessing and judging the efficiency of their current screening program.

1. Consistent Quality Results

Whether you’ll be hiring on a consistent basis or sporadically, your screening provider must have a proven history of accurate results. No matter your business’s size, structure, or industry, a provider should work to give you quality results.

Put your screening providers to the test by requesting case studies for both small and large clients to see how the quality of each account’s results line up. Ask about their experience serving businesses in your industry and if they’re willing to provide references. Current customers should be able to vouch for the accuracy of their results and the efficacy of their screening program.

2. Scalability

Do you have specific times of the year when your industry experiences a peak season? Retail and staffing agencies, for example, see an influx of hiring around the holidays. If your business has a busy season, each person who joins your company becomes a representation of your brand, even if he or she is a temporary or seasonal worker. Therefore, each new hire needs to be vetted through background screening.

This increase in volume often can affect the turnaround times of your results, which can slow down your hiring in a time when you can rarely afford a slowdown. Choose a screening provider that’s capable of scaling its services seamlessly—expanding its team, increasing resources, and improving processes as necessary—to match your needs without seeing a change in turnaround time or accuracy. Even if your business does not experience peak seasons, as your company grows and expands, your screening program will need to grow with you.

3. Customer Service

Your business’s screening provider should offer the top-tier customer service your company deserves. Be wary of background screening companies that offshore their customer and applicant support. Offshore workers aren’t likely to be well versed in U.S. screening laws and regulations. Partnering with a company that offshores its customer support could lead to mistakes, compliance violations, and frustration for you and your applicants.

Ask potential providers about their customer service representatives’ experience. Ideally, representatives should have experience conducting background checks. They should be knowledgeable and able to answer questions without long hold times or callbacks.

However, many companies cut corners by forcing their service representatives to handle requests from clients on top of performing operational work. This leads to overworked, undertrained employees who are more prone to making mistakes. When evaluating a potential provider, ensure its customer service representatives are always focused on clients, not dividing their time between customers and running background checks.

4. Customization

No two businesses are exactly alike, so your screening programs shouldn’t be either. Different industries have different screening requirements. If a potential background screening provider takes a “one-size-fits-all” approach to screening, walk away.

You want a provider that will problem solve to design a program that’s a perfect fit for your company. Screening standards and requirements vary depending on the industry and the role itself. Food service workers, nurses, and financial executives are all very different positions that require different skill sets and levels of screening.

A good screening program should meet your business’s individual needs. Remember: A good screening provider will provide you with accurate results, but a great provider will offer both accurate results and a screening program tailored to your business’s specific screening requirements.

5. Integration Capability

HR technology continues to expand, and it isn’t likely to slow down anytime soon. Businesses today can now choose from a suite of programs that streamline HR processes and increase efficiency. Look for a preemployment screening provider that is willing and able to integrate with your current HR technology.

Integration offers several advantages to a growing company: improved efficiency, faster turnaround times, getting the most out of each system’s features, and more. Your background screening partner should rise to the occasion to integrate with your existing systems. Ask how many hours it would be willing to devote to such a project and what level of technical support you can expect once it’s completed. A true partner will always be willing to go the extra mile to enhance your screening program.

Evaluating background screening partners and the programs they offer can sometimes seem overwhelming. But if you follow this guide, you’re certain to find a partner that will not only meet your screening needs but also provide an unparalleled level of service. Your business is the culmination of years of hard work. You deserve a screening partner that understands and respects your company’s unique needs and will jump at the chance to help your business grow and improve.

Tammy Cohen (SHRM-CP, PHR), a background screening pioneer with three decades of experience, is a nationally honored entrepreneur, a successful businesswoman, and a recognized thought leader. Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of InfoMart, the seventh-largest identity and background screening company in the industry, Cohen is known professionally as the Queen of Screen and was named among “Atlanta’s Top 20 Women-Owned Firms” and “Top 500 Women-Owned Businesses in the US.”

Recently, Cohen was recognized as the Most Influential Woman in Background Screening and she was awarded a Silver Stevie Award for Maverick of the Year. She lends her expertise to renowned publications, including contributions to Forbes, Entrepreneur, HR Executive, and HR Technologist.

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