(Editor’s note: Today’s post is brought to you by our friends at Paycom, a leading provider of cloud-based human capital management software. For the eighth consecutive year, Paycom has been named to The Oklahoman’s top workplaces list. Congratulations! Hope you enjoy the article.)
One of the things that’s amazing to me about the hiring process is that organizations will spend hours screening, interviewing and discussing candidates, but when it comes time to make a final decision, they rush it. And I can’t help but feel that when organizations rush their final decision, they might not make the best candidate selection.
Granted, I’m not suggesting organizations take extra weeks or months, but it does make sense to have a selection process in place to ensure the organization extends an offer to the best candidate and the process works effectively and efficiently. We’re well aware that high performers and high-potential candidates can land a new opportunity in just a few weeks.
One of the steps in the hiring process organizations should take a look at is employment background checks. According to HR.com’s Research Institute and the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA), 66% of organizations say the length of time to get results is the most significant challenge of background screenings.
Background checks help the organization, employees, customers and vendors. However, for them to be valuable, organizations need results quickly. In an article from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the average time to complete a basic background check is 24-72 hours. It can be longer if there are some complexities that need to be researched. If the best talent can find new opportunities quickly, then organizations need to be in a position to conduct activities — like employment background checks — quickly.
Employment Screening Options
Many organizations utilize employment background checks, and for good reasons. This is a process that a company uses to verify that a candidate is who they say they are. Typically, organizations conduct background checks to make sure a candidate aligns with the responsibilities required for a role. To accomplish this, there are several different types of background checks a person may use.
There’s also a potential risk to organizations that choose not to conduct employment background checks. A.J. Griffin, director of government and community affairs at Paycom, shared the financial impact of not verifying an employee’s background: “A recent survey from HR.com found that 95% of employers used at least one type of background screening during the hiring process, and safety was cited as the primary reason for conducting these checks. The wrong hire could expose your organization to costs in the form of legal fees, damages and the loss of business that such an employee can create.”
On some level, you probably already know what I’ve shared with you so far. Many organizations conduct background checks. And they take too long to process. As a human resources professional, one of the things I would love to see is the employment background check process integrate with my talent acquisition software. Well, guess what. Paycom has done that.
As part of their talent acquisition software, Paycom offers employment screening and background checks in the public records, verification services, identity verification and credit checks, and drug and health screening. Some examples of those services include:
Criminal background checks at a federal, state, and county level. Organizations have many reasons for conducting criminal background checks, including protecting employees, customers and vendors. Also, certain industries have criminal background check requirements, including health care, finance, government and education.
Credit checks are often conducted in addition to a criminal background check, especially for positions that handle money and credit card information. One of administrative components of credit background checks is making sure that the organization follows the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requirements in terms of candidate notifications. A nice feature with Paycom is that they take care of the FCRA administration for you.
Education verification is fairly common in the academic world, but according to Griffin, all industries can benefit from an education check. “The consequences of college degree fraud can range from potential damage to an organization’s reputation to exposure to litigation. SHRM estimates the cost of hiring a single employee is $4,425, a substantial sum that should be directed toward candidates that you know will benefit your organization.”
Employment verification isn’t the same as reference checking. For example, an employment verification might be done if an organization needs to verify dates of employment for employees to obtain a security badge. We did this when I worked at an airline. While getting information about an employee’s performance was valuable, we simply needed to verify dates of employment.
Drug testing might be required in some industries, but for many organizations, conducting drug testing allows them to get a discount and/or favorable rates on their workers’ compensation coverage. Many organizations also have drug free workplace policies that a consistent drug testing program can help reinforce. One of the helpful features with Paycom is that the candidate’s information is auto-populated into the drug-testing chain of custody forms.
So far, we’ve talked about employment screening and background checks in the context of talent acquisition. But sometimes it’s necessary to use background screening with current employees. For example, an organization might have to do a drug test for cause or a credit background check for an employee transferring to a new role where cash handling is a significant part of the job.
I asked Paycom about situations where current employees might be subject to a criminal, credit or education background check, and Griffin reminded me that state and local laws might dictate background check requirements: “Depending on the state and local laws related to drug testing, organizations may have a recurring screening policy, while others may simply feel a background check for an employee is necessary. It’s important to remember that laws will vary across states and local municipalities. Our tool gives employers the ability to conduct recurring background checks in compliance with local and state laws on current employees at any time, making it easy to ensure you have the best people representing your organization.”
Reduce the Time It Takes to Conduct Background Checks
Paycom’s Enhanced Background Checks tool helps employers verify a candidate’s background to ensure they’re qualified for the job. As Griffin mentioned, safety and security are top issues right now. We don’t talk about it much, but conducting employment background checks can also give candidates some comfort knowing the company to which they’re applying takes safety and security seriously.
If you want to learn more about employment background checks and the compliance forecast for 2021, sign up for this HR.com webinar on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at 2 p.m. Eastern. A.J. Griffin and the Paycom team will be sharing their thoughts on what employers can expect. If you already have something on your calendar for that time, sign up anyway and listen on-demand. The session has been preapproved for recertification credit by the HR Certification Institute (HRCI) and WorldatWork.
Now is a perfect time to start looking at processes, like employment background checks, to make sure they meet the organization’s needs. I expect 2021 to be the year in which organizations are focused on the next normal and hiring will definitely be in the spotlight.25