4 Tips for Integrating Background Checks with Your Recruitment Software

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Only ten years ago, most companies performed background checks in an informal, inconsistent, slow, costly, manual and paper-intensive process. Today, employment screening has evolved to be a formalized, consistent and highly automated process conducted by most large organizations.

Creating new challenges for employers, business demands driving screening programs have become increasingly complex, fueling the need for management solutions to help HR professionals better cope with new concerns.

Some of the more recent challenges impacting background screening include: globalization and international screening; increasing regulatory requirements; immigration reform; collaboration needs; and screening the extended workforce. Throw in the need to do more with less while reducing hiring cycle time, and it’s clear that making employment screening fast and easy would serve any organization well.

Trends Point to Integration
As the requirements have intensified, automation and integration technologies have evolved. Screening management solutions can be integrated into applicant tracking systems (ATS), resulting in reduced workload, faster time-to-hire, a lesser likelihood of errors, and improved accuracy, consistency, process efficiency and management.

In fact, according to the 2008 HireRight Background Screening Benchmarking Report, more than half of the roughly 300 organizations surveyed have integrated or plan to integrate their background screening solution with their ATS. 

However, not all integrated screening solutions are created equal and some may not address the complete needs of your organization.

With the intent to meet employer needs and improve process efficiency, different flavors of integrated screening solutions have emerged. Some are one-off solutions designed just for you, and others have been developed as a product to deliver a repeatable, scalable and positive user experience for many customers.

Since integrations generally don’t come with a label on the box, here are some tips for organizations evaluating the prospect of integrating screening with their ATS or other HR system.

1) Examine the Functionality
Look for an integrated solution that provides access to all the features and capabilities you’d find in a stand-alone background screening solution – things like seamless workflow, applicant self-service, real-time status updates, analytical reports and summary management dashboards for visibility over the entire screening program.

Approach the decision on an integrated solution the same way you would any other business solution – by starting with your needs and then identifying viable solutions that meet them.

2) Confirm Adequate Security Controls
With the one-off nature of some integrations, standard precautions that you may expect to be included in the solution can sometimes be overlooked. Given the nature of screening information and the criticality of protecting candidate privacy, sound data protection measures for storage, viewing and transmission within the integration should be at the top of your list.

Getting specifics on the technologies and security protocols used in the integration and supporting integration platform will help you understand the diligence applied by the screening provider.

3) Understand Current and Future Support Commitments
One of the biggest areas of concern you may find when looking deeper at a potential integration is the level of support. Not just technical support, but broader support from the two solutions providers to ensure that someone is available and accountable if something goes wrong.

Thinking long-term, you’ll want an understanding of how the integration will be supported through future upgrades of the related systems. To address this issue, some pre-integrated solutions – solutions co-developed, tested and supported by the screening provider and the ATS provider – are available today and should be considered as an option for anyone interested in leveraging their ATS for employment screening.

4) Ensure Required Flexibility
To save time and money, some integrations are built with the lowest common denominator in mind – they pass only limited information from one system to another. They’re generally light in the features provided and the related configuration options offered.

When evaluating integration options, be sure to consider your requirements of today, as well as future needs. Understand the integration’s ability to keep up with business demands. As your screening program evolves or policies change, what other features might you want to add and what will necessary changes to the integration cost? Also, will you want to integrate I-9 or other screening services in the future?

As the trend in streamlining hiring processes continues, integration between employment screening and hiring systems will continue to be a productivity strategy near the top of the list for employers. In evaluating available integration options, you’ll be best served to confirm that the solution of choice meets your requirements from a functionality, security, support and flexibility standpoint – today and in the future.


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HireRight is a leading provider of on-demand employment background checks, drug and health screening, and electronic Form I-9 and E-Verify solutions that help employers automate, manage and control background screening and related programs.

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