Texas A&M streamlined its screening process by leveraging technology.
By Stefano Malnati
Everything is bigger in Texas—and Texas A&M University’s hiring process was producing some real big headaches. Ranked as the United States’ sixth largest university, Texas A&M educates more than 50,000 students, including 10,000 graduate students, studying in more than 120 undergraduate and 240 graduate degree programs in 10 colleges. The human resources department of the university oversees hiring for every position covering a wide variety of roles and responsibilities. Adding to the complexity was placing candidates in multiple locations including its main campus in College Station, Texas and two branch campuses in Galveston, Texas and Qatar.
Coordinating screening for more than 11,000 applications last year left Texas A&M’s human resources department in a battle against time. Positions ranged from key professors down to students supporting a college-sponsored summer camp. HR executives were entering applicants’ data directly into an online platform, which was very time consuming. The University was also looking to streamline processes, eliminate human error, and leverage data to drive well-informed decisions. An additional objective was to improve communications with applicants and across the organization throughout the process.
First Advantage’s Enterprise Advantage solution helped Texas A&M streamline applicant screening and added a layer of efficiency to their hiring workflow. Beginning with the initial background check online form, the candidate data tool delivered a Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) notice to every candidate prior to submitting their information. Because this data was gathered electronically, it was an easily auditable report to assure compliance. Texas A&M could also leverage electronic signatures, which saved time when verifications were required. It also eliminated the need to reach out back to the applicant for more paperwork.
The University also wanted to improve communication with applicants so now emails go out to candidates individually or by batch through a singular email address—@texasA&M—to help reduce confusion.
The solution also expanded the University’s screening depth and breadth through its national-level database search. When HR executives submit information, they now have access to a robust database of information to widen the University’s scope outside of Texas. This reach encompassed all of the proprietary data from First Advantage, as well as hitting 47 state sex offender registries. Screens can also include Social Security Number Verification to sped identity confirmation and a national criminal file search.
The technology can facilitate different levels of background checks depending on specific position requirements. Configurable reports allowed HR to monitor an applicant’s status across the entire Texas A&M University, which strengthened communication between campuses. “First Advantage delivered a great all-in-one solution that shortened our application cycle and positively impacted the hiring process at each stage,” reports Cheryl McDonald, recruiting and workforce management, Texas A&M.
The custom reporting functionality also provided access to data around all units and bill back as necessary to each department. The reports were delivered according to specific time requirements to those departments that needed them the most. This resulted in less time manipulating data and more time focusing on pressing initiatives.
The implementation of the Enterprise Advantage solution helped Texas A&M compress the application process while adding a new level of communications efficiency with both applicants and the HR department. “What used to take days and multiple efforts to collect the right information now takes less than an hour,” shares McDonald. “We’ve dramatically reduced the time it takes to get the information we need to focus on hiring decisions.”
The First Advantage solutions optimized visibility into the hiring process while creating a fast way to track the applicant’s progress and maintain thorough documentation. “With the First Advantage solutions, we’ve eliminated duplicate efforts and achieved our goal of operating in a paperless environment. The solutions helped us centralize the application so the pertinent information and current application status is all in one place and easily shared across our field locations,” McDonald says.
Stefano Mahati is chief innovation and techology officer for FIrst Advantage.