Self-screening—with third-party certification—might offer new hiring efficiencies.
By Brent Skinner
Background checking and job seeker self-promotion—the two concepts seem anathema to each other. But think about it: Most hiring authorities conduct background checks of one form or another. It’s a time-consuming, potentially costly task. Meanwhile, present economic conditions mean scores of job seekers are seeking far fewer than scores of jobs. The competition among job seekers is tough, and their challenge to be noticed and differentiate themselves is astounding.
Technology gives job seekers new tactics to rise above the din of chatter that an ocean of out-of-work professionals generates. The idea for applicants, in many cases, is that their qualifications for the open position might be too similar to set them apart from their counterparts; they might instead opt to make the hiring organization’s job easier and, potentially, less expensive—and, thus, promote themselves. "Easier" and "less expensive" typically command the attention of recruiters and hiring authorities alike, and one way of doing so is to help out the potential employer by having a resume that’s already verified.
Look at it from the hiring organization’s perspective. Carrying out background checks is a foregone conclusion. In many industries, background screening is often required, a part of government regulation. And even if it weren’t, common sense says background screening is necessary. So do polls: At least 50 percent of job seekers misrepresent something on their resume, according to the suspicions of 54 percent of respondents to a TalentWise-commissioned survey of 2,026 adults age 18 or older, conducted in January 2011 by Harris Interactive. Furthermore, one-quarter of both the general population and job seekers participating in Harris Interactive’s online survey said that they believe three-quarters or more of job seekers misrepresent something on their resume.
How does this relate to job seekers promoting themselves? Job seekers’ underlying motivation to project their own truthfulness amidst a sea of supposed liars is strong. More than three-fifths (62 percent) would pay for a resume verification service to give themselves a competitive edge in today’s job market, according to the Harris Interactive survey. And a key takeaway is that research from elsewhere strongly suggests that doing so would indeed help them to edge out fellow job seekers.
Given the sheer volume of background screening industrywide, speed is of the essence—unsurprisingly. Forty-five percent of organizations cite "reducing overall time-to-hire" as their top background screening challenge, according to a survey of nearly 1,800 industrial professionals by HireRight, whose related report, "Employment Screening Benchmarking Report: 2011 Edition," presents the findings. It’s the number one challenge among those surveyed, followed closely by "getting timely screening results," cited by 43 percent. A large majority of organizations (82 percent) perform background checks on new employees, and a significant number (42 percent) do so on external candidates, HireRight’s research further finds, and many of the most common types of background checks strive to verify information commonly found in the typical curriculum vitae.
Enter TalentWise, a company whose hiring process management (HPM) solutions help HR, staffing, and recruiting professionals to hire more productively, responsibly, and compliantly. Recently, TalentWise launched TalentShield, a resume verification service that allows job seekers to certify resumes online and promote them to recruiters and potential employers. With TalentShield, job seekers obtain a third-party certification of their education history, employment history, and professional licenses, and they can promote their certified resumes to recruiters and employers.
"The way in which a candidate interacts with an employer or recruiter can be a much more simplified or streamlined process to create a much more engaging experience for that candidate, and certainly a better experience for the HR department or recruiter, as they have tight deadlines and are held accountable to metrics such as time-to-hire and cost-to-hire," says Bill Glenn, vice president of marketing and alliances at TalentWise. "As we took a look at this, we thought that there might be an interesting way to help job candidates directly, in terms of the ways that they engage with employers, and potentially give them a tool that would help them stand out in comparison to their peers."
Of importance to organizations, as well, is integration of background screening with technologies that reside along the human capital and talent management continuums.
For instance, 42 percent of organizations have either already integrated their screening solution with other systems, applications, and processes, or intend to do so, according to HireRight’s study. An applicant tracking system (ATS) is the most common application for this (65 percent), followed by recruiting technologies (56 percent). TalentShield is integrated with Taleo’s Talent Exchange solution, and additionally, TalentWise is under partnership with Kenexa, with whom a pre-integrated solution enables Kenexa users to streamline their hiring process by embedding TalentWise employment screening solutions into the Kenexa platform.
"Any tool that makes its user more productive in day-to-day tasks is useful," says Meghan Biro, founder and CEO of TalentCulture, and an expert in talent acquisition and workplace culture branding, "but I’m biased toward technologies that help HR practitioners maintain a steady-state automation of routine tasks, which frees them up to put heart and muscle into building strong relationships and maintaining brand."