In this third installment of a five part series, Mollie Lombardi, a research director for Aberdeen Group’s human capital management practice, shares her thoughts on background checks. Mollie has surveyed and interviewed thousands of end-users to gain a better grasp of the key challenges facing human resources and talent management leaders. Mollie has an extensive background in writing and speaking about topics such as strategic talent management and employee engagement. If you’d like to learn more about Mollie you may read our first installment, Meet Mollie Lombardi.
In this age of social sourcing and viral job marketing campaigns, screening potential employees and checking their backgrounds might not seem like the most glamorous elements of the recruiting process. But they are extremely vital because they can greatly reduce risk for your organization.
Pre-employment screening can include many different things. Aberdeen Group research has found that the most common elements of employee screening are: employment and education verification, criminal background checks, reference checks, employment eligibility verification (I-9 in the U.S.), and drug screening. It’s interesting that employment and education verification is the most common screening element cited — 87 percent of organizations Aberdeen surveyed did so — but it’s understandable given our current economic situation. As people are out of work for long periods of time, there might be temptation to embellish work history or educational accomplishments, which could unnecessarily expose the organization.
It also is worth noting that many organizations are screening not just before hiring, but also after prospects become employees. Often, drug tests are performed after on-the-job accidents or other incidents. Continued checks for criminal violations and verification of licenses can be critical as well. Court records often move slowly, so issues that were not identified in the hiring process can show up later, and critical certifications might expire. Risk does not stop once a hire is made, so ongoing screening can help mitigate it.
Executing and managing employment screening can be challenging, which is why 62 percent of organizations that screen use an applicant tracking system, or ATS. However, just over half of these organizations actually integrate screening in to the applicant workflow. Much of the value of an ATS is in automating the hiring workflow, so integrating employment screening into this workflow makes the process easier for recruiters, hiring managers and the candidates themselves. According to Aberdeen Group research, organizations with full or partial integration between employment screening and an ATS see greater reductions in cost and time to hire, as well as greater improvement in hiring manager satisfaction.
Employment screening is essential, but busy hiring managers don’t want to wait for paperwork, and neither do top-tier candidates. The key is finding the solution that turns around accurate, timely results in a way that can be integrated with the overall hiring experience — keeping managers and candidates happy.