We rank the leading providers, explore market trends, and analyze best-practice case studies.
In last year’s annual examination of the outsourced employment screening market, we adopted a new approach in compiling the list. Before 2008, we relied on industry input to determine the biggest vendors in this segment, but we discovered that this was not a reliable indicator. So when we decided to ask buyers about their outsourcing experience, we figured they would be a more independent group of judges. In an ironic twist, we “background checked” screening providers.
To do this, we asked dozens of providers to help us in two ways: Provide data about themselves, and approach customers on our behalf to participate in an online, anonymous satisfaction survey. Last year, the providers were remarkably stingy about sharing information. As a result, valid customer data was available for only 11 providers in the marketplace. We did not have the best sample size, but our research staff deemed it statistically significant, and we proceeded to publish. Even with the small sample, however, our readers used the screening Bakers Dozen as a guide in selecting their vendors, and this year we have received unprecedented and gratifying cooperation that makes the list even more valuable.
The 2009 survey received a staggering 271 customer responses from active client users, and is the largest customer satisfaction research survey ever produced in the employment screening service industry to our knowledge. We surveyed referred customers and buyers from last year’s survey and our own database.
The companies for which we have sufficient statistically valid data clearly constitute the leaders in both volume and quality of service. Massive global players (as found in our cover story featuring Lexis Nexis and First Advantage) easily process millions of transactions each year, while full-service vendors such as Intelius and Corporate Screening Services emphasize their broad spectrum of services and customized solutions. No matter what your needs are, the providers listed here can clearly address them effectively.
How do we know? A look at the customers who participated in the survey revealed both large and small employers that have simple as well as very complex needs. By and large, buyers were mostly satisfied with their providers, but many indicated that there is always room for improvement. Issues such as data accuracy, timeliness, and compliance seem to be the foremost concerns for users of outsourced screening services. However, they also look to the market for technological innovations, guidance on best practices, and risk management support.
The good news is that customer and vendor input reveal that the employment screening industry is not static; many spoke of the innovations they have seen and the efficiency with which they can vet candidates. More importantly, they get the compliance support and useful data for improved hiring processes. Another interesting development among many of the providers is the partnerships they have formed with ATS or HRMS providers. By doing so, employers as well as their outsourced recruitment vendors can more efficiently process candidates and fill vacant job openings. Turnkey service has always been high on buyers’ wish lists, and these collaborative efforts help to fulfill their wishes.
Again, this year we rated based on three dimensions: breadth of services offered, which refers to services in scope; size of deal, which focuses on the average size of transactions or “screens” provided and at what level to clients; and, of course, quality of service.
Quality of service is the most heavily weighted category in our overall index, followed by breadth of service and, last, the size of deal. We chose this order because we know quality of service is always the preeminent consideration. Our advisors inform us that scope is what screening buyers look to next, and the size of engagement is not a measure of quality but rather we include as a guide for selecting providers for an RFP based on the size of your company’s needs. It is not a driver in the overall ranking of performance.
We hope this proves the useful tool again this year that it was in 2008, and we want to thank the participants for their support.
Click here to view the listed rankings.
Click here to view the overall rankings chart.
Click here to view the breadth of deals and size of deals chart.
Click here to view the quality of service chart.