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Do Verifications Drive You Verifiably Insane?



You know that feeling you get when you call, and you call, and you email, and you call, and you email, and you check online, and you call, and you still can’t complete that verification request? 

What about that feeling when a verifications assignment comes across, and your client has spelled out the precise sequence of calls, emails, voicemails, and carrier pigeons that they demand you use to complete their verification?

Have you ever stopped and asked: is this worth it?

Well, here’s the answer…

Some are worth it, and some aren’t. 

I know, I know, I basically said, “it depends.” But bear with me here because this version of “it depends” depends on one particular and obvious criteria: is it an automated verification or a manual one?

This is some quick back-of-the-napkin math, so don’t use your phone-a-friend to verify this with your 10th-grade Algebra teacher. But in our estimation, 35% of verifications in the industry are completed by just 3% of the labor. Here’s what we said in that article: 

“One thing we’ve observed is that when you break down the average CRA’s employment verification workload, you’ll find that about 35% of the orders can be completed using automated tools. The other 65% require manual verification. (This is an approximation. The ratio varies by industry.) So, let’s say your blended cost of performing a verification is $4. That really isn’t the whole story. It means that 35% of your verifications cost you nickels and dimes, while the 65% are actually costing you much more than $4.”

Worst of all: verifications aren’t even a significant revenue driver. Your bread and butter is usually going to be your criminal background checks. 

You and I both know that background verifications are 20% of your revenue but 80% of your headaches. 


Why Background Verifications Stink

I have led operations for two of the largest CRAs. This list is by no means exhaustive, but these are some of the issues with background verifications that always frustrated me: 

  • They are frequently delayed. 
    The nature of a manual verification ensures that you will frequently stumble. If you’re not able to complete a verification online (through The National Student Clearinghouse, for example), then you’re stuck doing it the old-fashioned way: picking up a phone and making a call. 

    It’s an unavoidable reality that people won’t answer. They won’t check their voicemail. They’ll be on vacation, on break, or swamped under a mountain of work and unable to tend to your needs. This will delay your verification.
  • They are labor-intensive.
    Making calls, waiting on hold, leaving voicemails, tracking down the right person to talk to, sending emails -- these all take time. Time is labor. 
  • They are challenging to scale. 
    When the demand for employment verifications takes off, it can be challenging to scale up quickly. Learning to conduct employment research efficiently and correctly takes time. It may take months to have a verification specialist ready. And once they’re ready, you may find you no longer even have the volume to keep them busy. At that point, your options are to either let them go, keep them on the bench for future volume spikes, or reallocate them to other work for your organization. 
  • They create a wedge between you and your customer. 
    All these factors - and more - combine to create relationship friction. Since verifications take so long, they are often the last thing left to do to complete a background check. That means your customers are waiting, wondering when precisely you’ll finally finish this assignment. 

If most CRAs were to be entirely honest with you, they would probably say, all things considered, they would prefer not to perform employment verifications at all. 

We hear this a lot when we talk to CRAs. They come to us when they are most frustrated or because their team has gotten blasted with a volume of verifications they just can’t handle. 


Why CRAs turn to SJV's verifications solution

Once we start working together, they wonder why it took them so long to find a partner to assist. Here are some reasons that CRAs love working with us to improve their verifications.

  • We take the type of verifications they least like to do.
    Whether they want to outsource manual verifications when volume spikes or need a partner that is capable of processing all of their verification work, we’re capable and flexible. CRAs love that they can keep the verifications work that is high-margin for them,  but outsource the rest that drives them verifiably insane. 
  • We’ve invested millions of dollars into improving verifications. 
    We complete such a high volume of verifications work that it makes sense for us to invest heavily in our people, our process, and our technology. CRAs may struggle to break even on this low-margin work. 
  • We can scale rapidly. 
    Internally, we’ve developed custom calling technology built upon the best call center technology out there. We have the process and the scripts down to a science, and our technology allows us to meet highly-specific client requirements without a hitch.

    Because so much of our success is embedded in our process and technology, we can hire and onboard fast. Seriously fast. During the COVID-19 pandemic, when volume started to return across the industry, we were able to scale our volume 600% in just a few weeks. On average, we can get a new researcher to 80% productivity by the end of their first week at SJV. 


Start with outsourcing your overflow

No need to dive into the deep end; you can dip your toe in the water. Every CRA struggles with staffing the right headcount. Staff up too little, and you struggle to meet demand. But staff up too much, and your margins compress during low periods. 

One of the best ways to handle this issue is to start a relationship with a verifications partner and use them dynamically to meet overflow demand. When your resources are tapped, tag them in to take over. 

Ready to dip your toe in the water? Contact us here or check out our new verifications resource where we take a deeper look scale, specialization and profitability in our ebook "A Business Perspective on Modern CRA Employment Verification Services"


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