Three Key Ingredients for Successful Candidate Communication (During the Background Screening Process)
Do you have the ingredients for a successful candidate experience? We share with you three key ingredients for successfully communicating with your candidates during the background screening process.
Do you remember the last time you ate a truly scrumptious meal? As you stared at your clean plate after devouring this delectable dish, you wondered what that secret ingredient was only to find out it was something you had in your own pantry! Background screening is not just about the results: the entire process is important, from start to finish. Just as a recipe lists what you need before you start cooking, the ingredients for successful candidate communication should be considered well before your candidates’ background checks take place. Turns out there is not necessarily a “secret” ingredient - the key is putting together the right ingredients that sets your candidates up for success.
Over the years, I have worked with many organisations and hiring managers as they have built and refined their own background screening programmes. Effective communication can help to ensure that candidates are aware of the screening process and understand its importance, as well as contributing to a positive candidate experience, ultimately shortening time to hire. Here, I will share with you three key ingredients for successfully communicating with your candidates during the background screening process.
1. Early Communication
Hiring managers often rely on internal recruiting departments or external agencies to handle their company’s recruitment, screening, and onboarding. It is important to have these teams communicate the background screening process to your candidates early on—perhaps even before they have applied. Some businesses even include information about their company’s background screening requirements within their job adverts. Here are some additional things to consider:
Sending a welcome email to candidates after they have applied outlining your company’s screening programme and policy. Candidates who may have been misrepresenting themselves on their CV/resume or job application may choose to withdraw from the recruitment process at this stage.
Where legally permissible, informing your candidates that offers of employment, oral or written, are contingent on passing an employment background check.
Some countries allow background checks to be completed during the probationary period. Check local regulations with your legal counsel, as well as your internal recruitment policies.
Partnering with your background screening provider—or external agency—to customise branding on their platform. This goes beyond logos and company colors; use terminology that is consistent with your business, and the local culture, including language.
Informing candidates of the background checks required for the role they are applying and why these are important to your organisation. This can help to emphasise the culture of your organisation and the importance it places on keeping its employees, customers, and community safe.
By communicating with your candidates early in the screening progress, you give them the opportunity to ask questions and discuss their concerns openly and honestly. This can help build trust with your candidates, and can be especially important when hiring internationally, as candidates in different locations may have different experiences and expectations of the hiring process.
2. Setting Candidate Expectations
Employment background screening typically involves verifying a candidate’s credentials—as well as information that may be a necessary component of the hiring process—to help employers mitigate the risk of a new hire. Although pre-employment screening is common in some parts of the world, for example the U.S., it can still feel quite personal—and perhaps even a little invasive—to a prospective employee. Setting candidate expectations is essential to help prepare them for the screening process and what to expect. By the time a candidate is shortlisted, it is recommended that they have:
a basic understanding of why background screning will be undertaken, what it is required, and a basic outline of what is involved;
who will be involved in the process, whether it be conducted by a third-party provider or in-house by the company, and what they can expect; and
an understanding of their role as a candidate in the background screening process to work with the employer and/or the background screening provider.
Additionally, you can help your candidate prepare for the screening process by informing them of the documents they may be required to provide, such as pay stubs, identification, educational transcripts or tax documents, which could help speed up the process and reduce time to hire.
3. Providing Candidate Support
Candidate support is another essential ingredient that should not be forgotten (or left out of the mix). For some candidates, background screening could be a new—and possibly unexpected—part of their job hunt, so it’s only natural they may have questions during their background check. Providing ongoing support throughout the recruitment process could help put them at ease, and, ultimately, speed up their time to hire.
Here are some tips for providing support for candidates during the background screening process:
Make sure that your candidate support contact details are easy to locate. Candidates should be able to find a way to contact you with questions or concerns easily.
Respond to questions promptly. Candidates should not have to wait days or weeks for a response to their questions.
An applicant center can be a great resource for candidates, providing a central location for candidates to find common answers to questions, contact information, and a secure place to upload information.
Each organisation, hiring team, and background screening programme is unique. However, there are some key features that successful background screening programmes typically share—and effective candidate communication is one of them. Communicating early, setting candidate expectations, and providing support are essential ingredients for successful candidate communication, and could help you to more effectively and efficiently manage your background screening programme.
For more information, please read our Building a Global Screening Program eBook.
Release Date: August 23, 2023
Summa grew PeopleCheck in Australia from a start-up micro-business to a highly successful enterprise with a strong, well-known, and respected brand and industry reputation. The growth of PeopleCheck led to the acquisition by HireRight in October 2019 and Summa continues to oversee Australian and New Zealand operations within the HireRight family. Summa is responsible for building local service delivery, developing local product expertise and knowledge, enhancing customer relationships, and driving HireRight’s growth in the local region. Summa works collaboratively and strategically with the broader HireRight teams, bringing global initiatives into local ANZ operations. Summa was a founding member of the APAC Council and has been an active participant in PBSA activities spanning more than a decade. In addition to her current role on the PBSA Board, Summa is currently involved with the Global Learning Centre, Australian Committee and the APAC Education Committee. Summa’s previous roles include member and Chair of the APAC Council and the Global Taskforce. Summa has been in the screening industry since 1998 and has extensive experience in the Australasian and broader APAC regions and markets. Summa previously worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers for six years and RISQ Group before establishing PeopleCheck in 2006. She holds a Master of Criminology from the University of Sydney and a Bachelor of Social Science from the University of Western Sydney.