SJV Connect
SJV Smart

Supercharge Background Check Effectiveness: 5 Strategies


According to The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), the average organization loses five percent of its annual revenues to occupational fraud. This is an amount that exceeds $3 trillion worldwide.

But you and I both know that monetary losses don’t begin to tell the whole story of crime in the workplace — lawsuits, a company’s reputation, and organizational mistrust are even more significant long-term consequences.

The reality is this: every organization needs to conduct background checks on every new employee. And many should regularly recheck any employees that work with vulnerable populations, enter people’s homes, or are in charge of financial or compliance matters. 

And almost every employer does. 96% of employers use background screening as part of their hiring process. With this in mind, most employers are working with a CRA like yourself. The flipside is that this makes the market uber-competitive, since growing your firm is partially driven by taking market share from other CRAs.

To gain new clients, and keep your own roster stable, it’s essential that you keep your clients happy. But the background check process can be frustrating for employers for obvious reasons:

  • Hiring processes are longer than ever. By the end of a hiring process, employers and employees are just ready to get started; a background check can slow this down. 
  • The background check process can be slow and inefficient.

There are straightforward ways to make background checks more efficient and more effective. Let’s go over some.

1. Automate your background checks

The single best way to make background checks faster, cheaper, and yes — more accurate — is by using automated background checks where available and where quality meets or exceeds manual research. 

Conducting a background check can be a very manual process; At its core, it’s a research project. It requires a researcher to pull up the county website, conduct a search, double- and triple-check they have the right person, identify all their addresses and aliases, pull all criminal records, record their findings in a report, and format it. If the information isn’t online, they have to call the county clerk and have them pull the info, or they need to go into the county in-person and use the designated research terminals, while other researchers stare them down for taking so long.

And that’s just for this one type of search. Most background screens require multiple types of searches (county, state, motor vehicle, credit, etc.)

But a large number of background checks can be automated, and automated background checks can often be completed in minutes. 

2. Ditch the paper

In a time that is always-on, always-digital, it feels quaint to have paper-driven processes. But for a lot of employers, this is the case. New hire forms, direct deposit forms, and even background check authorization forms often need to be printed out, filled out with pen, scanned, and emailed. 

This can create significant inefficiencies, especially if your clients employ populations that may not have a printer at home — for them to fulfill their requirements, they need to drive to a printing center and conduct all their paperwork needs there. 

Our advice: where possible, help them ditch the paper. When it comes to background checks, the best providers have invested in mobile-friendly. These digital platforms facilitate quick and easy authorization information-gathering without the need for a printer, scanner, or fax machine. 

As an additional benefit, you have a digital and backed up record of all of this core paperwork, which is valuable for compliance.

3. Encourage Clients to Integrate with Their ATS

When you move digital, you also open up your options even further for integrations with your clients' Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). 

If they are one of the 40% of employers (and 98% of Fortune 500 companies) with an ATS, I’ll tell you this: they  understand the importance of integrating their ATS with any tools they use in the hiring process. This extends to background checks. Being able to cleanly and quickly (and cheaply) hook into their ATS will give you a leg up vs. other providers.

4. Connect with candidates directly

Another sneaky way to improve how quickly your background checks are completed? Convince your client to let you take the reins. Sometimes background screening delays happen because of issues with the county or technology. But sometimes, it’s because you’re still waiting on crucial information from the candidate to move forward.

For example, you may still be waiting on authorization to even start the process. If the candidate has a common name (e.g., John Smith), your provider may need more pieces of information to ensure you’re looking at the correct records. 

When employers facilitate communication, it merely adds another layer and can slow the process down. It’s better to connect directly with candidates to speed up resolving these (usually, easy) issues.

5. Show that you are the right partner

A lot of this comes down to choosing the right partner. The right background check provider will use automated background checks, integrate directly with their ATS, use digital platforms to facilitate background checks, and have optimized processes (like speaking directly to candidates) that ensure your background checks are faster, cheaper, simpler, and more accurate than your competitors. 

If you’re not doing these things, make it a priority in 2021. If you are, make sure you’re communicating these advantages on your website, on your collateral, and in your discussions. Bonus points if you can produce case studies or visuals that help your current clients and prospects understand the value you bring.

What do you think?

What about you? What do you think is “the next frontier” for making background screening even more efficient and effective. 

How to Get Started With Automated Background Checks

There are two primary routes to adding automation capabilities to your company: build a system yourself or partner with a vendor. Both options have their pros and cons. Learn more in our complete guide to automated background screening for CRAs. (Should you choose to go with a third-party provider, the guide will teach you about the essential features to look for.)


New call-to-action