What is the Importance of Workflow and Efficiency in Background Check Services?

Background check services are vital, but are you using them efficiently? Why is a good workflow so important to vetting candidates effectively? Explore our quick look at the benefits of streamlining your workflow and investing in a thorough but speedy process.

Hiring new employees is a costly and time-consuming process. Every employer wants to select individuals with the appropriate skills, experience, and passion for being a part of the team. However, that's not a simple process—and screening candidates for safety and trustworthiness adds complexity. Using background check services is essential to protecting your business, but it is vital to avoid letting them become the source of a bottleneck in your process.

The average time to hire today stands around 36 days. That includes all the time it takes to field an applicant, review their resume, screen and interview them, and complete onboarding. A month can be a long time with an open position and other employees picking up the slack created by a team not running at full power. If conducting screening and background checks adds significantly to that time, your business could encounter some frustrating struggles.

Reducing the time it takes to hire someone requires managing multiple factors, but removing friction throughout the process opens the door to important improvements in efficiency. A productive and effective background check process is one element to use for creating a faster hiring pipeline. How can you do that? 

Let's explore what role efficiency plays in this process, see how a better workflow benefits you, and look to the future of these efforts.

The Typical Background Check Workflow

Understanding the usual workflow is the first step in identifying opportunities to make improvements. Most companies use a similar workflow with variations depending on preferences or local hiring laws. In a simplified form, this workflow usually looks like this:

  • Select an applicant for screening.
  • Inform the applicant of your intent to use a background check following the guidelines established by the FCRA.
  • Delaying background checks until you've completed any relevant steps under local or state ban the box or fair chance laws.
  • Order a criminal background check.
  • Conduct additional verifications, such as licenses, employment history, and education.
  • Review all results.
  • Make an initial determination to proceed or to take adverse action.
  • Follow the multi-step FCRA adverse action guidelines if needed.
  • Conclude the screening process, select candidates, and begin onboarding.

It's not hard to imagine how many steps along the way in this process where inefficiencies can creep into the workflow. What happens when that occurs?

The Impacts of Efficiency on Background Check Quality

The pressure to complete employment background screening as quickly as possible is very real. A disconnect can exist between HR and management on this subject. If the final time to hire number is all management sees, it's easy to lose sight of the work that takes place in the interim period. HR may face directives to speed up the hiring process.

Without a reasoned approach to this task, the only options might involve cutting corners. Yet this creates many risks: you could overlook critical information about an applicant or violate the law by skipping over steps fundamental to compliance. The result is an overall increase in risk to the business without much of a benefit.

On the other side, better efficiency contributes to a more thorough, reliable background check. A smoother process powered by advanced services from background screening companies you trust opens the door to being more thorough. 

With faster access to more detailed results carefully matched to your applicant, you can follow up on concerns and leave plenty of time to follow legally mandated procedures. The result is a higher-quality background check that doesn't mean leaving positions open for months.

Exploring the Benefits of a More Effective, Efficient Workflow 

You can unlock several benefits when you look for strategies and support to improve your background checks. Understanding and explaining these advantages can contribute to achieving buy-in from the key decision-makers in your business. What are the real-world impacts of better background checks?

Improving the reliability of your process

When you exercise total control over your process and power it up with the right tools, you can enhance the reliability of your outcomes. Choosing the right applicants makes a difference, especially when safety is a concern. Receiving accurate, thorough background checks on a candidate as soon as possible ensures you don't go too far down the pipeline with unsuitable applicants.

Reducing turnaround times and improving time to hire

Delays caused by errors in your vetting process can prove costly as the company continues to operate without all the necessary staff. Working with the right provider and understanding when to take which steps will put results in your hands faster. When you can quickly review an applicant's background check and put it in the context of their other attributes, you can make decisions more swiftly.

Better assurance of legal compliance

Instead of cutting corners and skirting the law to improve your hiring metrics, an efficient background check process improves compliance. Understanding each step along the way is crucial. For example, once you've satisfied "ban the box" requirements by interviewing a candidate, you can commence vetting as soon as possible. Having a well-defined, streamlined process ensures you tick every box at the right time.

Enhanced decision-making capabilities within HR

The most important benefit of a better process is the opportunity to select the best candidates. Consider a scenario where you have many applicants for the same position, all with the same qualifications. Perhaps 75% of the group has had their background check completed, but you haven't finished the last 25%. That could leave you making a decision without all the information you need. In an effective workflow, you can have all the information in hand at the right time.

How Can You Create a More Efficient Service?

The first step to improving your process is to undertake an audit. Look at the entire workflow from beginning to end and how much time each stage takes. Identify stages that seem too long, or areas where you encounter frequent problems or slowdowns.

For example, obtaining an applicant's consent and receiving all the relevant documentation may take too long. Setting up a secure, digital self-service portal with some automation elements could solve that problem. You could automatically capture that data, record consent, and even have your system start ordering background checks at the appropriate stage.

Working with the right service provider makes a difference, too. Consider that sourcing background reports can be a task that takes a longer time. With products such as the US One SEARCH from backgroundchecks.com, you can receive reports almost instantly from a professionally maintained database of criminal records. Other services, including verification of employment, education and more, can all occur simultaneously.

With a trusted third party supplying the information you need for decision-making, you can make decisions more quickly, reduce the time to hire, and build efficiency into your process on the ground floor.

Prepare Your Business to Improve its Hiring Workflow Today

Consistently sourcing quality employees and achieving a reasonable time-to-hire metric are goals for every employer. Though not every factor is always within your control, there are clear opportunities for improving outcomes. In a future where automated background screening could become the norm, one thing is clear: now is the time to overhaul the way you hire to be more effective.

With an experienced provider of background check services on your side, you can create a workflow that makes sense for today's business environment—and future-proof your process for tomorrow, too. Find out more about how backgroundchecks.com can help support your initiatives to improve your hiring process's quality, speed, and efficiency today.

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Michael Klazema

About Michael Klazema The author

Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based backgroundchecks.com with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments

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