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5 min read

5 Employment Screening Practices to Challenge in 2019

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As an HR professional, you’re tasked with making sure every new employee is the right fit for your company. You need to verify that candidates will meet your company’s standards, which is why you conduct background checks. You may even perform recurring checks periodically to confirm that the employee still aligns with your company’s standards. While searches and verifications in your background check packages may remain fairly constant, new ways to manage background check processes can lead to areas of improvement. When was the last time you reevaluated the quality of your employment screening processes?

Detachment from the status quo can go a long way in getting the most out of your employment screening process. There are many ways to collect, verify, and manage background information, just because something is your typical practice doesn’t mean it provides the results your company needs. Here’s a closer look at the top five employment screening practices to challenge in 2019.

1. Limiting attempts to complete verifications

One of the main goals of employment screening is to verify the information supplied by the candidate. People sometimes lie or make honest mistakes, but you need to verify the truth. After all, what good is background information if it’s wrong or unverified?

Most background screening companies will stop trying to verify information after three phone attempts or after the first 72 hours. Completion rates can plummet while giving a false sense of quality with faster turnaround times for those that are completed in less than three days. You then have to decide whether the supplied information is good enough. If not, you need to finish the job yourself or pay extra for more attempts.

Compare that to a provider like Verified Credentials that has no limit on the number of attempts to verify candidate information. We continue to make efforts to complete every verification until we are told to stop by the requesting employer. The result? You get more complete reports that you can trust. The math is simple: The more attempts a background screening company makes to verify information, the better results for your business.

Challenge 2019 by not settling for limited effort, incomplete results and high prices.

2. Not knowing the scope of your current background checks

We’ve all been there – you've entered a new position with an established workflow and little incentive to make changes. Moreover, then there’s the saying, “If it’s not broken, why fix it?” However, how do you know if there’s a break in your background screening program? You can only begin to recognize opportunities for improvement if you take a hard look at what you’re currently doing.

For example, we’ve seen many organizations find areas of improvement when they start to question their use of social security traces. Social security traces use the candidate’s known social security number to locate additional names or jurisdictions to perform other searches, such as county criminal record searches. Of course, it’s one thing to be completing a social security trace, and it’s another to be using the information received. How can you tell what you’re currently doing? Take a look at the results of one of your recent background checks. You might see that a social security trace has been completed – and that’s great! Next look at other searches in your package. Do you see additional names the trace search found? What about more searches areas that match addresses found? If you do not see additional names and locations, then you aren’t using the results of the social security trace. And that could ultimately lead to missed records.

Even without social security trace results, you may also want to question which jurisdictions are used for criminal record searches. Some background screening companies may automatically choose where to search, whether based on your location or what is most convenient to obtain. By allowing others to select which areas are searched, you are limiting the scope – which could lead to missed records. You may find a better strategy is searching all relevant jurisdictions, which could include current and past addresses, locations of previous employers or schools, or even all jurisdictions.

Whether you walked into an established background check program, or have been comfortable with the program you put into place years ago, you may find room for easy improvements by just taking a look at the current scope of your background checks. Minimal tweaks can result in better and more comprehensive background check results if you know where to look.

3. Trusting “instant” background checks

It used to be common practice for an organization to use one-step, instant employment screening options. However, many employers have recognized that these are not a sound choice for quality background check information. In a pinch for a faster time to hire, the “instant” check option can still be tempting.

The promise of “instant” background checks tends to fall under the familiar “too good to be true” category. Often “instant” checks refer to instant background checks that only search database sources for immediate results. Some states like Indiana and Minnesota require potential criminal matches found by an “instant” database to be verified before reporting.

FCRA-compliant background check companies take that practice one step further, applying those reporting standards to verify all criminal record matches before you see them. So, the real question is, why would any HR professional choose spotty information instantly when they can get more complete results with no additional work on their end?

Don’t let a false sense of urgency jeopardize the integrity of your background screening program.

4. Stopping short when collecting information up front

The key to getting solid employment screening results is to ensure you’re asking for a sufficient amount of information about the candidate up front. The more information your screening provider has to go on, the easier it will be to gather reliable results.

Think about the information you ask for in your job application. Is it enough for a thorough background check? Details like full middle name, past addresses, and even driver’s license information can go a long way in completing background checks. Including a request for additional candidate information during the hiring process may save you and your candidates significant time and runaround. An easy way to get this information is directly from the candidate before the background check. Having candidates submit their data using an online candidate portal helps you provide everything needed for a background check before the process, ultimately providing a more efficient workflow.

5. Only using fingerprint background checks

Some organizations choose or are required to use fingerprint-based searches in their employment background checks. This seems to make sense since most people believe the FBI and other organizations have great fingerprint databases. But that isn’t really the case. There are some serious limitations when it comes to using fingerprints as your sole screening activity.

Fingerprint databases, including the one used by the FBI, are often incomplete because fingerprints aren’t always included with a criminal record. The information reported from a background check, including a fingerprint check, might not even be usable depending on your state’s laws. Other factors to consider are turnaround time, collection, reporting of arrest records and cost.

To get the most out of your employment screening efforts, you may not want to rely on fingerprints alone. Instead, a more comprehensive background check from an accredited screening provider may give you the information you need. By using multiple strategies to verify information, a trusted screening company like Verified Credentials can provide results that offer a more complete picture of your candidates.

Next Steps

Hiring the right candidate is a challenge. You don’t have to overhaul your entire hiring process to make improvements. By simply taking a step back and challenging your common background screening practices, you can find ways to increase efficiency and drive better results for your company.

Want to improve the quality and efficiency of your employment screening process? Partner with a background screening company you can trust. Verified Credentials has over 35 years of experience delivering results, so get started today and see how we can enhance your hiring process.

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