No organization intentionally contracts the wrong background screening company. Unfortunately, many do. And when this happens, they end up in complicated situations. Some get sued over sloppily conducted background checks – and pay millions in settlements. Others end up hiring the wrong people – and have to repeat the whole recruitment process.
Some actually get good background screening services. However, they do so after experiencing unnecessary stress, hustle and expenses. Basically, they experience hardship which they shouldn’t have had with a great background screening company.
The ultimate question is: “how to organizations end up contracting the wrong background screening agency?” Well, the answer is simple: not knowing how to conduct due diligence on background screening companies. Many organizations and staffing companies simply don’t know how to distinguish a fraudulent company from a decent one and a great one.
The reason for this is that they often don’t ask certain critical questions before contracting a screening company. There are 7 fundamental questions which they fail to ask. By failing to ask these questions, they essentially delegate contracting a great company to good fortune or luck. The critical questions are the following:
1. Are you NAPBS Accredited?
Some HR professionals actually don’t know that background screening companies get accreditation. The simple fact is that they do. The accreditation comes from the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS).
NAPBS accreditation is the best indicator that a screening company is committed to the highest industry standards. There are two reasons for this. First of all, the NAPBS Accreditation is voluntary. As such, there is no compulsion for any company to get it.
Secondly, the accreditation process is extremely stringent and rigorous. For a screening company to get accredited, it has to undertake the NAPBS Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). This program evaluates the company on a number of metrics including legal compliance, customer service, accuracy, professionalism, and information security.
The BSAAP standards are so high that out of over 700 companies which are members of the NAPBS, only 62 have managed to receive accreditation. Therefore, NAPBS Accreditation is the gold standard for the background screening industry. Any company which has it is among the best of the best.
2. Do you vet your background checks?
The greatest source of background-check related problems is erroneous results. This happens when the information returned by background checks is inaccurate. There are two common types of inaccuracy.
The first occurs when false information (e.g. criminal records) are returned. This often happens when the criminal records of someone with a similar name appear in a person’s background check report. When an organization makes a hiring, demotion or firing decision basing on the false information, they end up getting sued.
The second occurs when background checks fail to reveal criminal records. This becomes a problem when an organization hires an ex-criminal, and the person ends up hurting a client or employee. A good example is an Uber driver who sexually assaulted a passenger. Upon being investigated, it turned out that he had a previous conviction for a sex-related offence. Uber’s background check hadn’t uncovered the conviction. Such situations lead to negligent hiring lawsuits.
Background checks return false results when they are not vetted. Vetting basically involves double-checking and triple-checking all info unearthed during the background check. Unfortunately, not many screening companies do this. Therefore, any company which vets its background checks is more likely to produce accurate results.
3. Do you offer customized background checks?
Some people assume that all background check services are the same. This actually isn’t the case. There are two major approaches to background checks. The first uses a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Using this approach, all background checks are performed in one standardized way. This is especially important for the staffing industry.
The second approach is customized. Under this approach, each background check is performed slightly differently. The checks are tailored to suit the needs of an organization, industry characteristics, job position requirements and jurisdictional barriers.
Generally speaking, customized background checks tend to be more accurate than standardized checks. However, they can also be a little more expensive and take slightly longer than standardized background checks.
Asking this question doesn’t mean that an organization intends to use customized background checks. It is a means to judge the customer sensitivity of a background screening company. Screening companies which offer customized background checking services tend to be more sensitive to the needs of its customers.
4. Can clients have direct access to your background screening professionals?
Sometimes problems arise during the background checking cycle. At such times, clients require attention from the background screening company. Now, almost all companies offer customer support. Most such support is from call-center staff who can handle basic procedural challenges.
However, there are situations which require technical background screening expertise. Examples include when a client has specific questions about certain legislations, or when a background check returns inaccurate results. In such situations, a client needs direct access to a background screening professional.
Great screening companies aren’t afraid to offer clients direct access to their professionals. This is because they are confident of their professionals’ competence. Also, they offer such access because they value their customer experience.
5. Can applicants submit their personal details directly?
Perhaps the most exhausting aspect of authorizing a background check is submitting an applicant’s details. It often involves filling in the applicant’s details. The process can be long, difficult and error prone. The difficulty is multiplied if the background check is to be informed on a large number of applicants.
Great background screening companies simplify the process for their clients. They provide an option for applicants to submit their details directly. This not only reduces the work-load for their clients, it also provides a convenient option for applicants to authorize background checks.
A good example of this is Crimcheck’s Applicant Link system. Under this system, when a client commissions a background check, all they need to supply is the name and email of the applicant. An email is sent to the applicant with a link to an online form where they can fill in and submit their details. The applicant can then submit their details at their own convenience.
Basically, a screening vendor which enables applicants to submit their details simplifies the process of ordering for background checks. It also saves on the costs of filling in the applicant’s details, reduces the likelihood of submission errors, and makes life simpler for the applicant.
6. Do you offer Automated Systems?
Almost every background screening company now has an Information Technology IT system. Such systems are designed to provide easy access to their services. They enable clients to perform actions such as placing orders, submitting applicant details, tracking their orders or making payments. The systems are usually in the form of desktop, mobile or web-based applications.
The best background screening companies offer more than just IT systems. They offer automation of those systems. Automation provides a simple way of performing repetitive tasks. For example, ordinary IT systems enable a user to submit one applicant’s details at a time. Automation enables multiple submissions at the same time – thereby saving both time and effort.
As such, at a minimum, any decent background screening company offers an IT system to simplify access to its services. The truly great companies automate their systems in order to provide their customers with a richer user experience.
7. Do you offer HRMIS Integration?
The IT systems offered by background screening companies sometimes have a fairly steep learning curve. This can be true especially for someone with a non-tech background. To shorten this learning curve, great companies offer integration of their IT systems with clients Human Resource Management Information Systems (HRMIS’).
HRMIS integration also enables clients to enjoy the background screening services from within their system. For instance, it enables them to place orders for background checks, track their orders, and receive reports on their internal system.
Besides access to services, HRMIS Integration also offers enables direct access to the background checking data. This comes in handy when an organization intends to perform analytics on its HRMIS data.
In a nutshell, those are the seven key questions which most organizations fail to ask background screening companies. As such, they end up contracting the wrong ones. As such, any organization committed contracting a great background screening company should ask these questions. Any decent company should answer a resounding YES on each of the question. Only then should inquiries about pricing be made.