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SJV Smart

How We Quadrupled the Size of Our Verifications Team in Six Weeks


One thing strikes fear in the hearts of all consumer reporting agencies (CRAs): an unpredictable verifications avalanche.

Now, imagine it happening during a pandemic. Not really a far stretch since you now have lived through it. You no doubt, reduced your team to stay afloat when the pandemic first hit and all the sudden, the flood gates opened and you didn’t have enough people to get the job done. 

When your margins are narrow, your industry unpredictable, and your profits entirely dependent on your team’s efficiency and productivity, the last thing you want is to have to onboard new  verification specialists.

How long does it take your CRA to get new hires up to speed?

As an outsourced provider of background screening services, we’ve had the opportunity to examine the processes of hundreds of CRAs. Typically, it can take six weeks or more to get a verification researcher up to full production. 

More often than not, the problem is an over reliance on institutional memory. When someone leaves an organization, their experience and hard-earned expertise leaves with them. Training materials are scant; instead, information is shared verbally from person to person.

This state of affairs can make it extremely difficult — if not impossible — for CRAs to adapt to market fluctuations. When demand spikes, CRAs with slow onboarding processes will fall behind. (And we all know how well your clients respond to delays.)

When demand craters, CRAs are forced to choose between reducing staff (and therefore risking being unprepared when demand increases again) or paying to employ more researchers than they need.

Case in Point: The COVID-19 Pandemic

As you can imagine — or more likely, you experienced yourself — the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc with the labor market. At first, hiring came to a near-standstill, which, in turn, caused resume verification orders to dry up. But as we all learned to adapt our lives and work to the virus, hiring came roaring back.

This is precisely the kind of situation we described above — and it’s what CRAs fear most.

SJV Data Solution’s Manager of Verifications Operations Jamie Cover tells the story from our perspective:

“When COVID happened, we initially saw an increase in volume, and then our business dropped by about 65% in a matter of a couple weeks."

Sadly, a number of our clients had to lay off members of their research teams. But then, in July, as Jamie describes…

“It was kind of like a tidal wave of volume happened across the industry, and we got hit with it. We went from getting about 65% less business than usual, then it suddenly doubled. But, it just didn't stop. Now, in January, we're taking our capacity up over 500%.”

Our CRA clients were offloading their employment verification orders to us because they simply couldn’t scale their staffs back up quickly enough. For our part, we rapidly expanded our verification team from around 40 people to about 150 with a strong focus on our Military Spouse program.

“What we realized is we had to ramp up for the volume. We started hiring classes, getting people in as quick as we possibly could.”

Thankfully, we were able to welcome back more than 60 employees (about a dozen from our verification department and the rest from other parts of our organization) that we had reluctantly let go during the early months of the pandemic. Most of the rest had never done any verification work before.

The SJV Training Secret

How did we get so many brand-new employment verification specialists up-to-speed so quickly when so many CRAs struggle with onboarding?

Unlike other employment verification organizations, we do not rely on institutional knowledge (although we have plenty of it) — at least not the knowledge stored inside our team’s brains.

Our call center technology is based on the same cutting-edge systems that allow some of the world's biggest companies to help thousands of customers every day with thousands of products.

The expertise our team has accrued over years of conducting employment verifications is baked into our digital system. Calls are routed automatically, and scripts are tailored so that our team members always know exactly what to say on the phone and to whom to say it.

It’s not too much of an exaggeration to say we can take nearly anyone from off the street and have them successfully calling after three days of training. The result is not only an immensely flexible verifications department but a highly productive one.

At SJV we are continually diving into the data to refine our calling system, answering questions such as:

  • What is the best time of day to call?
  • What is the optimal calling frequency?
  • How can various changes to the process shave seconds off each call?

At SJV Data Solutions, we’ve invested millions in our state-of-the-art employment verification call center, so you don’t have to. If you’re struggling to quickly scale your CRA to handle the skyrocketing demand for verifications, contact us today.

Learn more about how verifications help your CRA business with scale, specialization and profitability in our new guide. Read the online guide today.


Learn more about what makes a great outsourced employment verifications partner in our new online guide.

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