By Mike Wiley

Posted

Slow pre-employment background checks aren’t just annoying. They can have a real impact on your business.

The longer it takes to get new job candidates on board, the longer your current staff has to compensate for the lack of manpower. If the wait is too long, you could lose the candidate entirely to a competitor, forcing you to restart the hiring process all over again (meaning even more time with a staffing deficiency).

And if your organization hires job applicants on a contingency basis, extended turnaround times can translate into extended periods of risk.

Fortunately, there are ways to improve your background check turnaround times so you can fill your seats and get on with your business faster.

Here are four proven strategies for speeding up background screening:

1. Increase the Efficiency of Your Submission Process

Before a background check can even get started, your background screening provider needs certain information from a job applicant, such as their name (including maiden name), date of birth, social security number, and signed consent. It’s your responsibility as an employer to make sure this critical information gets to your screening firm quickly. An inefficient submission process can cause significant delays.

Some of the ways you can improve the efficiency of the submission process include:

  • Replacing paper forms with an all-digital system.
  • Allowing your CRA to contact applicants directly so issues can be resolved rapidly.
  • Keeping in touch with candidates throughout the background screening process to ensure they do their part.

2. Tell Your Background Screening Vendor What the Checks Are For

An experienced, expert background screening provider should be able to tailor a package of services to your company’s needs and timeline. But to do so, your provider will probably want to understand why you need background checks in the first place. For example, is it driven by regulations, requirements set by your customers, or your own human resources policies?

Enabled by specific information about your organization’s motivations, a high-quality vendor will work with you to customize a package of services that includes everything you require, and nothing you don’t, thereby eliminating time-wasting steps.

(And if your provider doesn’t ask about your goals or motivations, it might be a sign to start shopping for a vendor that doesn’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach.)

3. Ask Your Background Screening Firm About Their Technology

Modern pre-employment background screening is driven by technology. Automated processes and digital portals have supplemented, and in some cases, replaced manual research and paper forms.

The efficiency of your background check provider depends largely on their underlying technology platform. Their system should be robust, scalable, and capable of leveraging additional technological opportunities, such as texting invites. It should also integrate well with your systems, such as your applicant-tracking system or your HRIS platform.

If you feel your background checks are too slow, ask your CRA to walk you through their technology platform. Red flags to look for include unnecessary manual steps and outdated communication methods, such as printouts and faxes.

4. Choose a Provider That Uses Automated Research Methods

Automated background screening technology replaces the work of manual researchers with “bots” that can be programmed to scrape public websites for court records and other information about job applicants. Automated background screening can be affordable and efficient — bots can work much faster than humans, and they are less prone to error.

Automation is not always the answer, however. Sometimes, the data isn’t available online or is presented in a format that requires a human expert to unpack.

The best background screening firms will tell you, “We use automation in every search where it makes sense.” This strikes a crucial balance between speed and accuracy.

Faster Turnaround Time: What The Experts Say

Turnaround time is one of the primary reasons companies seek new background screening providers. In this article, we’ve covered four ways to improve turnaround time, either by updating your own processes or working with a different vendor.

For a full, in-depth exploration of background check turnaround time, including more optimization tips, access your free copy of our guide, “Improving Turnaround Times on Background Checks: Challenges, Opportunities, and Expert Advice.”