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Getting it Right

Organizations expect—and deserve—compliance, accuracy, and quality hires from their vetting process.

Most HR executives want the best, most accurate, and most relevant information about job candidates. The idea is that information about academic achievement, employment history, credit practices, and community citizenship will reveal what job opportunities for which the person is—or isn’t—well-suited.

One problem is getting that information is fraught with peril. A simple online search of criminal records is seriously inconsistent: There are often false negatives and false positives. And when it comes to global background screening, there are numerous requirements—and sometimes, competing priorities.

This is especially true in a client-facing industry. “Our business is healthcare; we want to make sure our patients are in good hands,” says Brooke Stover, manager of HR shared services for Evolution Healthcare. “Global background screening fits into that because our patients well-being is at stake (and) our company’s reputation is at stake. We want to make sure that our caregivers as well as our administrative staff are who they say they are, that they have the experience and education that they purport to have, and that any past indiscretions in their background would be unrelated to the job for which they have applied or are being offered.”

Stover works with background screening provider Info Cubic Employment Screening to vet their candidates as well as to stay compliant. Some of the processes can be quite extensive. In the case of record retrieval, Stover explains that some parts of the country require their screening provider to obtain actual county records in order to inspect paper copies. “Name only” matches also pose a challenge—especially with common names. If Evolution Healthcare is hiring a John Smith, they want to ensure it’s the right John Smith. Both have an impact on accuracy and turnover time.

“That really has changed my perspective on quality of background screening, as well as reasonable time frames in which to expect responses,” she says. “Of course everyone wants their stuff done as quickly as possible; we don’t want to sacrifice for speed, especially in the background screening arena. That said, our expectation is that we will still be getting timely responses particularly from the sources where the records are electronically searchable.”

Today’s expectations are high when it comes to turnaround time. “Clients want that information in real time,” finds Ben Goldberg, president of background screening provider Aurico. It’s one of the main metrics that client measure the success of their program on. As Stover pointed out, she can experience different processing times for different locations, and Goldberg agrees that it does happen. But today’s technology, processes, and third-party expertise can help evaluate why delays are happening and how to mitigate change in the process.

Erin Campbell, director of human resources forJMC Steel Group, leans on background screening provider Aurico to ensure practices are current with industry regulations, especially since the EEOC and other government agencies are becoming increasingly concerned with vetting candidates properly and legally. “I think it is very important that the background check company is up-to-date on the ever-changing rules, regulations, and laws at the federal, state, and county levels. It seems that new rulings regarding background check standards and procedures appear frequently. It’s important for our background check provider to ensure compliance with all laws.”

Goldberg agrees: “In 2016, compliance will be one of the biggest areas of focus for most background screening companies, and inevitably, most clients.”

In today’s hiring market, there is much more scrutiny around background screening compliance. Organizations leverage audits to ensure various rules and regulations are being adhered to. Changes are weekly in some cases, and often monthly, says Goldberg. This is where third-party expertise becomes invaluable—educating clients in a timely manner.

As organizations continue to expand their global footprints, background screening is becoming more accepted—and expected—across an international playing field.

“The market is changing. It’s increasing in popularity as it becomes more culturally acceptable, particularly in Europe and Asia Pacific,” says Jason Rennie, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Info Cubic Employment Screening. “Employers are reviewing the educational and employment history, but also the criminal history, where it is legally available. Some countries are pretty strict about what you can and can’t do.”

Organizations are seeing the value in vetting all employees no matter the location. “We’re seeing the market grow,” says Goldberg. “We’re certainly seeing a greater increase in volume, internationally and greater acceptance internationally, and seeing a greater consistency globally as it relates to screening best practices.”

Some would argue that international screening best practices are still in their infancy and that there is a strong need for standardization. Rennie says that often these processes are not customary across the board, which could cause future hiring challenges.

“A lot of these multinational companies are allowing their regions to operate independently, and that’s potentially going to cause some concern because … you’d like to have the same criteria for every applicant who is applying for the same job,” says Rennie. “But when regions are operating independently, you’re never sure … is Asia Pacific using the same standards as the EU or the U.S.? You want each applicant to have the same background check across the globe.”

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