One of the more laborious responsibilities of any human resources manager, or small business owner, involves overseeing the hiring process of candidates for job openings. By its very nature, the hiring process is a very time-consuming exercise. Moreover, it gets further complicated by the fact that many candidates lie on their resumes. A recent survey conducted by Harris Poll, on behalf of CareerBuilder, found that 58 percent of employers discovered a lie on a resume. As a result, many employers use a pre-employment screening service to help facilitate the process and identify the best candidates.
Organizations can reduce their risks by partnering with a background screening company that is committed to always conducting thorough research, adhering to compliance issues and exceeding the unique needs of their clients. At a minimum, the service should offer accurate and quality-driven data that will help employers avoid the prospect of facing a negligent hiring lawsuit. And more importantly, highlight the candidate that best fits the needs of their organization.
Yet, there are a plethora of pre-employment screening services that exist on the market. How does an employer decide which service is best for their organization?
There are various elements to examine when researching employment screening providers. These five tips serve as a helpful guide to any employer looking to partner with a background screening company:
1. Membership in NAPBS
Before you even begin to extensively research the services of any employment screening provider, you want to confirm that they are a member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). Established in 2003, NAPBS has become the premiere trade association in the industry. The organization promotes “ethical business practices, compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), equal employment opportunity and state consumer protection laws relating to the background screening profession.” The NAPBS develops best practices for the background screening industry. It is important to make sure that when you are researching employment screening providers, that you consider only companies that are a NAPBS member and in good standing with the association.
2. Better Business Bureau Rating & Accreditation
The Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) rating system is great barometer for gauging how a pre-employment screening provider’s operations and services are perceived by its clients. The BBB gives letter grades ranging from A+ (highest) to F (lowest) to each business that it analyzes. In certain cases, businesses can be graded as “NR” or “No Rating” due to a lack of information about the company. Be sure to isolate your search of providers to only those companies that have been given an exemplary grade and continue to get their accreditation renewed by the BBB. If a provider has a high letter grade, it is a good indication that they consistently strive to meet the unique needs of each customer and provide reliable service.
3. Services Portfolio & Customization
When researching employment screening providers, you want to find out about its scale of operations, full scope of services and capabilities to customize its offerings. Each of the pre-employment screening providers that you evaluate should list an outline of their primary services. Some questions to consider are:
- Is the provider set up to partner with large enterprises, or are they best equipped to serve smaller organizations/SMBs?
- Are they offering the type of background screening services that my organization typically requires when recruiting new talent?
- Does the provider seem to be offering only a “canned” solution? Can they modify their services to meet my organization’s expectations?
- Is the provider able to build out a legacy program that will enable my organization to consistently hire superior talent and exceed its productivity goals?
- Can their employment screening reports be customized to speak to the ever-changing positional needs of my organization?
4. Areas of Expertise
You want to be sure that the pre-employment screening provider you are considering offers experience working with organizations that fit your profile and particular needs. Identify the provider’s areas of expertise (both the types of organizations that they specialize in serving and also researching). You should ask the following questions when evaluating each provider:
- Do the bulk of the provider’s clients derive from the public, private or non-profit sector?
- Do they seem to specialize in working exclusively with clients from a specific sector or industry?
- How much does the provider know about my organization and our unique needs?
- How knowledgeable are they about the kind of compliance issues we need to always be conscientious of?
- Does the provider offer expertise in researching the type of company my applicant is coming from?
- Are they familiar with researching companies of similar size and from the same industry?
- Does the provider demonstrate an understanding of the region (and its legal environment) that my applicant is hailing from?
Focus on only researching employment screening providers that you know will vigilantly safeguard your job applicants’ information. It is critical to find out whether the provider you are considering has implemented sophisticated information and network security systems to ensure the protection of applicant data. You want to be confident that the business they conduct both offline and online is secure and confidential. Be sure that the provider prioritizes your security throughout its IT infrastructure on the backend. Confirm that all the data that is transmitted to and from their servers is encrypted. And, verify that the provider takes exhaustive measures to continuously maintain the security and optimal performance of those servers.
Furthermore, find out if the provider you are considering relies on “offshoring” the personal information of job applicants. Try to determine whether they work with foreign partners to process personally identifiable information (PII) of job applicants for a low price. Once PII is sent outside the borders of the U.S., it ceases to be shielded by laws like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 and the 2003 amended version of the FCRA; which collectively establish protections around identify theft, information security and privacy. By choosing a provider that “offshores” PII, you leave your organization at risk of being liable for negligently handling an applicant’s data. Avoid any providers that offshore PII as part of their screening practices.