I’m sure we all can agree that in this job market, speed and efficiency in hiring are EVERYTHING. There are a lot of tasks that need to be completed and a lot of ways for said tasks to draw out the entire process. We know one of the most frustrating things is when your candidate gets stuck in limbo while waiting for their background check to complete. But there are some really simple ways that you can help speed up the process and get better information at the same time.
Capturing complete and accurate information from candidates up front can be the deciding factor on the quality of your background report and how fast you get those results. You might be surprised that with little effort, you can help your background check company deliver better information faster. And who doesn’t want to cut turnaround times and potentially find more criminal records?
Let’s take a look at a few ways detailed candidate information can be valuable to the screening process:
1. Cure for common names
Start with the usual suspects. To speed along the screening process, a complete list of all key identifiers can provide understated value. Capturing the following personal information can help:
- COMPLETE name, including middle name.
- FULL dates of birth (month, day and year).
- FULL social security numbers.
If your team is copying these details into the screening system for an order, verify spelling and check for typos. In court record systems and other databases, think about the scenarios where a common name could pop up. These identifiers could make the difference when matching a potential record to a candidate with a common name.
2. Addresses are valuable. ALL addresses.
Addresses are a critical component to help find more areas to search for possible criminal records. Both current AND previous address history provide value to the screening process. Here are a few ways to be as complete and accurate as possible when providing candidate address information for a background check order:
- Complete and valid addresses.
- ALL components of each address including number, street, city, state & zip. Don't forget apartment numbers!
- Current mailing address.
3. Unexpected help from driver’s licenses
Many employers are already getting a copy of the driver’s license for their records but don’t realize that it can do much more than just sit in a file somewhere. Even when you are not conducting a driving history search, these credentials can be the missing piece to confirm that a record belongs to that candidate.
4. What you might not get from job applications
Nearly half of employers use information from the job application or resume for the background check. While this aids in efficiency, the typical job application may not include all of the information you need to screen.
Missing Information #1: Address History
One of the biggest problems is that resumes only list one address, if any. Having a 10-year address history is the most beneficial for checking public records. Sometimes only city and state are provided for previous addresses. Whether that’s all you’re requesting or it was gleaned from previous jobs or education, city and state are typically not enough to provide meaningful help with a background check.
Missing Information #2: FULL Middle Name
Think about a recent resume you reviewed. Did the candidate include their middle initial or full middle name? Or what about your job application – do you leave a field for just an initial or full middle name? If you answer “middle initial” to both, you can see the problem here. By asking for the FULL middle name up front, you make a small change with little impact on the candidate, while possibly speeding up a final report for a candidate with a common name.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking. “I want to limit the questions on initial applications. My candidates don’t have time for any of that.” We hear you there. Keep reading to find out the best way to limit length of a job application but still gather all of these details. Believe me, saving hassle for a few extra minutes from the start pays off to get those good hires in the door faster.
Let’s talk about one thing you ARE likely seeing on resumes and applications: the candidate’s phone number and email address. As you make contact for next steps with the candidate and set up an interview, you’re also verifying this contact information. If you have it, share it with your screening provider. The point is to supply as much ACCURATE information about that candidate as possible with a background check order. You never know when it could be helpful.
How to ask your candidate for complete and accurate information up front
The good news is that you can leave job applications untouched and still speed up turnaround times. In the interest of keeping initial job applications short (or to comply with state or local laws), some employers request added information for a background check AFTER the initial application.
In fact, according to a 2018 Verified Credentials user report, we see 54% of mid-sized to enterprise companies using a candidate portal to capture information for the background check directly from candidates at this stage.
It takes less time for candidates than you might think. Length of application and time to complete is important to a candidate experience so we know you want to keep the background check in line with the candidate’s expectations.
In general, the time for a candidate to provide information for a background check was just over 10 minutes, according to the 2018 user report.
Low impact on candidates helps make a candidate portal a simple solution for capturing as much accurate information as possible.
It’s time to start asking for more information up front. We find that many employers are simply not asking for it because they didn’t think it could help. Once you start supplying more pieces of information from the start, chances are you will see the screening process speed up and potentially identify more criminal records.
Disclaimer: Information required to complete a background check and what is allowable on job applications or during the hiring process in your city and state may differ. Please consult with your legal counsel on what you can legally obtain on your job applications and during the hiring process. Inquire with Verified Credentials about a supplemental candidate portal to capture required information for a background check later in the hiring process.