4 Things That Can Save You Stress When Choosing a Pre-Employment Screening Company

  • 4/7/2017
  • Kevin Rosenquist
4 Things That Can Save You Stress When Choosing a Pre-Employment Screening Company image

Growing up my mom had one of those little novelty signs on the side of the fridge. It said “Raising kids is like being pecked to death by a duck.” I remember laughing then thinking, “wait a minute…I’m one of her kids!” Now I’m older and, while I don’t have any kids yet myself, I have enough friends with little ones and see the antics of my nephews to understand the joke more.

I’ve also known enough people in HR to think they likely also relate to feeling like they are being pecked to death by a duck daily. You all have my utmost respect. I had a job where we didn’t have a dedicated HR person so it basically fell to me. I will tell you I did not care for it. With that in mind I thought I would throw out a few suggestions to consider when choosing a background screening company. With any luck, maybe I’ll help ease a little bit of that stress.

1. If you value personal service, avoid the humongous companies.

Don’t you hate when you call a customer service line and go through five menu prompts only to be put on a long hold and forced to listen to songs no one likes? No, I do not like Pina Coladas and while I don’t have a problem with rain, being caught in it sounds negative and undesirable. Then a person finally picks up, saving you from your misery, but has no idea how to help you once you tell them your problem. And what happens next? Your transferred and end up back on hold.  Oh, good, now we’re in Margaritaville!

(Breathe, Kevin, breathe.)

Smaller pre-employment screening companies generally place more emphasis on customer service because they usually have to work harder to get clients. Every client matters to them and they work hard to ensure they give them the attention they need. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked HR reps what their pain points are with their screening company and they cite poor customer service or lack of attention. You want a reputable and FCRA compliant company but also remember to choose one that will be communicative and accessible. Look for ones who offer dedicated account reps or teams.

2. How old is that platform? Is it DOS?

Make sure your background check provider uses a platform that is modern and robust. There are some platforms out there that seriously look like they were programmed on a Commodore 64. (Frogger, anyone?) Most screening providers have upgraded to better ones but there are still some holdouts. Most of us are pretty computer savvy and used to a certain level of sophistication when accessing a website. I mean, if you’re used to a small batch craft beer or an 18 year Glenlivet you’re not going to want a Hamm’s or a Dewar’s. (Happy Hour later, anyone?)

Be sure to get a demo of the provider’s platform before you sign up as well. Look at the process for entering in an applicant, how you are getting results, how you are notified of completed searches, and what kind of reports you can download. You will be happy later.

3. Consider adding Electronic I-9 to your screening system.

A newer service a lot of screening companies are offering is Electronic I-9. This is a service where you can house all your employee I-9 forms online and get rid of a ton of paperwork. And, if you’re going to do it, why not keep them on the same platform as you keep your background checks? They are even able to tell you when an employee’s work VISA is set to expire and you can submit directly to E-Verify from the system.

4. Look for a provider who can integrate with your ATS.

Not all companies use applicant tracking systems. But those who do rely on them heavily. A lot of background check platforms are able to integrate directly within your ATS. It generally comes with a programming fee but if you’re willing to shell out some extra money it can make your applicant tracking more seamless. 
If you aren’t up for spending the extra dough make sure the platform your potential screening provider uses is simple yet robust (and modern…see #2). You want something that’s simple to enter your applicants in and simple to retrieve results.

I can’t help you with health insurance, 401ks, the company handbook, or those two people in accounting who hate each other. But hopefully these small tidbits on choosing a pre-employment screening company can give you some food for thought. Contact me if you want to know more. Now, seriously, who’s in for Happy Hour later?