Global unemployment rates are currently at an all-time historic low of 5.5%, with notable decreases in the UK and US year-on-year since 2010. With fewer people unemployed, companies are finding it more difficult to recruit and are having to widen the pool of candidates they would typically choose from. Some applicants are requiring a more thorough investigation, which may extend the time it takes to recruit and onboard new personnel.
The competitive nature of today’s hiring market means that many organisations have attempted to take shortcuts around employment background screening, often finding out that they were in fact detours. They sometimes learn the hard way that bringing the wrong person into their business can have serious consequences, including reputational damage, loss of customer faith, morale, productivity, and in extreme cases, poor business results.
Overcoming ‘time to hire’ obstacles
Even with the help of new technologies, recruiters often don’t have the time to do a deep dive into the many CVs they have to review for open positions. By only skimming over your applicants’ CVs, you run the risk of dismissing the best candidates before you even get to meet them, or worse, hiring someone who may have misrepresented their credentials. According to HireRight’s 2019 EMEA Employment Screening Benchmark Report, nearly half of businesses (49%) say background checks uncover misrepresentation of educational credentials, yet only 75% of firms say they make an effort to verify education.
With more pressure to hire quickly, it’s tempting to skimp on background checks or even conduct them internally, which can be a challenge in itself. Many HR professionals feel as if they don’t have the necessary tools to spot the ‘perfect’ candidate, even though this may be part of their job role. Even with years of experience and highly trained researchers, it can be difficult to ensure that you’ve got the right person and that the information is totally accurate. You also might unintentionally obtain information that is illegal for you to consider in the hiring process (such as protected characteristics like their age, race, or religion), if you are not familiar with relevant global legislation or don’t understand what is proportionate and legally permissible for you to check.
In the rush to get new faces through the door, HR professionals may forget to put themselves in their candidates’ shoes, and offer a sub-par hiring process. However, many rightly fear losing qualified candidates due to an unsatisfactory candidate experience. More than half of job seekers say they continue looking for other positions even after they’ve received an offer and the background check is in process. Meanwhile, more than a third of employers report prospects dropping out because the background screening took too long or they had a negative experience.
External providers can ensure that the background screening process is candidate friendly, applying a tried and tested method that continues to engage the candidate until the hiring decision is made. With those who are satisfied with their candidate experience 38% more likely to accept a job offer, providing a positive candidate experience is paramount.
With each shortcut to the recruitment process comes an associated risk to your company, whether it’s reputational, productivity related or crucially, results based. A thorough screening process will mitigate against these risks and help to manage them. When it comes to employment screening, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Using an external background screening provider can help your company effectively and efficiently manage the risk of your new hires whilst reducing the impact of the screening process on your HR team.
Find out more about the benefits of using an external screening provider, and some of the pitfalls of a DIY approach in our white paper, No Shortcuts: Steering your background screening programme in the right direction.