While organizations continue to screen to reduce hiring risk, they now also need to consider the impact they leave on the candidates.
￼By Debbie Bolla
As organizations continue to compete for top talent, each step in the hiring process is a vital one. Today’s candidates are looking for a positive experience throughout—from applying and interviewing to being screened and on-boarded. Organizations have traditionally leveraged background screening to ensure that the job seeker has the experience, education, and credentials they claim. Plus it helps to eliminate any surprises. While the same is true today, leading companies understand that they have to provide a smooth process in order to attract the right candidates during one of the last steps before an offer is made. In fact, HireRight’s 2015 Employment Screening Benchmark Report finds that 25 percent of respondents indicated that improving the candidate experience is one of the most significant talent acquisition challenges they face. Even more, 36 percent plan to invest in improving the candidate experience in 2015.
“The candidate user experience has been a main focal point for many screening providers and employers,” says Bob Capwell, chief knowledge officer of background screening provider EBI. “The use of an online candidate portal allows candidates to supply necessary information, receive proper compliance disclosures, and have the ability to sign electronically. This process also supplies a candidate with a secure way to review their background check and drug testing results.”
Easy access to setting up screening appointments and reviewing the results helps candidates feel in control of the process and understand the specific timeline. This provides peace of mind during an uncertain time. Today’s background screening approach is much more transparent than ever before.
The usability of these portals plays a major role in the candidate experience, plus organizations can benefit, too. Many of today’s candidate portals mimic the look and feel of a company’s brand and can act as an extension of the company culture.
“Organizations are able to provide a landing page to their candidate that has the face of their company, leaving candidates feeling more secure about where their sensitive data is going,” explains Todd Owens, CEO of talent management software provider TalentWise. “Having a system that involves the candidate’s participation naturally eliminates common questions, concerns, and possible hold-ups that more closed-door processes leave unanswered.”
Technology has played a major role in improving the background screening process in recent years.
HireRight’s 2015 Employment Screening Benchmark Report finds the biggest screening challenge for 40 percent of respondents is reducing time to hire, followed closely by improving overall screening efficiency (32 percent). Technology can help HR overcome both obstacles by reducing the need for manual efforts through automation, which helps eliminate human errors as well. Platforms also make it easy to update forms through e-signatures and reduce compliance risks that come with the ever-changing nature of the industry.
Ryan Krostue, chief operating officer of screening provider Universal Background Screening, says that today’s technology makes it possible for companies to integrate their applicant tracking systems with their background screening process. But companies have been slow to adopt. HireRight’s 2015 Employment Screening Benchmark Report finds that just 20 percent of respondents have integrated their employment screening process with their talent management solution. Krostue has some advice for those looking to integrate: “When considering both applicant tracking software and background screening providers, employers should consider both their current and future needs, in conjunction with the software vendor and background screener’s capabilities to integrate with one another. The HR-XML consortium has established a standard ‘language’ for HR data, so working with providers that are certified to be HR-XML compliant is one way that employers can help facilitate the integration process between their software and screening providers.”
Another consideration for HR managers around integration is the ability to reduce time during the overall process. A quick, efficient process is as important to hiring managers as it is to job seekers. Says Heidi Seaton, vice president of compliance and operation for background screening provider Orange Tree, “These integrations also allow HR teams and hiring managers to monitor the background screening process from within the same system in real time so there is no delay from when the background is completed to moving to the next step in the hiring process.”
And that next step is often the most important one: a job offer.
BOX: Improving Quality of Hire
HireRight’s 2015 Employment Screening Benchmark Report finds that better quality of hires was the top screening benefit reported by 56 percent of respondents. “Background screening has always been about improving candidate quality, and in many cases, since the process tends to be late in the hiring process, it represents the last quality check before bringing the candidate into the employer’s organization,” says Heidi Seaton, vice president of compliance and operation for background screening provider Orange Tree.
Bob Capwell, chief knowledge officer of background screening provider EBI, says quality of hire can be properly assessed by looking at the following areas:
- Searching criminal and other public records. These sources can uncover potential safety and security risks of applicants that have committed prior crimes. Previous crimes can be analyzed specifically as they relate to the position being applied for and as they relate to company safety and security policies. Uncovering past convictions of theft, embezzlement, and sexual misconduct are continued areas of focus.
- Verifying a candidate’s education and work history. Looking at this experience can aid in the assessment of a candidate’s suitability as they relate to education, work experience, and skill set.
- Looking at motor vehicle history. This screen can uncover a valid driver’s license, any restriction on their license, and suitability of driving on behalf of the company.
- Issuing drug screens. This can uncover illegal drug use and the concerns of safety and potential workplace violence within the workplace. Drug users are more likely to show up late, call off, and may have lower product rates than non-users.
- Running a credit report. Companies can uncover potential risks to candidates with fiduciary responsibility or access to confidential or sensitive information.