Traditionally, the hiring process has been intense and high-pressure for applicants, requiring heavy-duty paperwork and intensive rounds of interviewing. But in recent years, hiring managers have started to realize that the hiring process is also a candidate’s first impression of the company.
If it’s too stressful, counterintuitive or unfriendly, it’s likely that, at the end of the grueling process, the candidate will reject the job offer. After all, from the candidate’s perspective, if the hiring process is that rough, what will the average work day look like?
So innovative companies have begun to overhaul their application and interview processes. However, the background check – a linchpin of any hiring process – is a different story. As a third‑party function, many companies forget the impact background screening has on the candidate’s perception of them as an employer. At Apex Fingerprinting in Miami, we recognize just how much your candidate’s experience matters in background screening.
Conveying Your Expectations
We know why you conduct employee background screening, but do your candidates? Presumably, you want to ensure you employ a competent, trustworthy workforce that meets the needs of your business and your customers. If, for instance, you’re in financial services, you need to know your employees don’t have a background of bad credit or embezzlement or fraud charges. If you’re in transportation or education, you need to protect the people whose safety for which you’re responsible.
These expectations should be communicated to your candidates in the background screening process. Why? Because misaligned expectations are one of the most prominent reasons why new employees terminate from a position within just days or weeks of starting. They shouldn’t be left thinking that the background check is merely a symptom of bureaucratic red tape, but instead that it verifies their qualifications and competency for the role for which they’re being hired. Shaping this perception up front affirms the value that your company places on transparency and clear, rational expectations.
Most employers know they’re required to obtain consent in order to run an employee background check, but most do not go above and beyond the run-of-the-mill consent form. The challenge is that, in the myriad of papers a candidate needs to read through and sign, the consent form will likely be skimmed, signed and quickly forgotten. It’s not hard to imagine that many candidates barely acknowledge what they’re signing and why.
If you want to build a relationship of trust from the beginning, it’s valuable to provide a verbal explanation plus any hard copy resources that may be helpful in ensuring the candidate is fully informed about the process. Also, include information regarding your background provider the expected turnaround time, and any necessary instructions (such as the procedure for a drug test). The transparency and integrity that are conveyed by this level of communication are invaluable in building company loyalty and trust.
Keeping Them Informed
Even if a candidate has nothing to hide, the employee background check can be an anxiety-inducing process, particularly if it’s a high stakes career change or if the background check ends up inadvertently slowing down the hiring process. Candidates naturally want to be well‑prepared and in control, which means they need to know what to expect and what is required of them.
If your background screening partner is able to provide you with access to the status of the background check, this allows you to keep your candidate fully informed. Anything that makes the process more efficient and user‑friendly shows that you value your candidate’s time and efforts.
Ultimately, keeping your candidates in the loop is an excellent start to showing your support and laying the foundation of a strong relationship.
Acting on the Results
We call the background check a linchpin of the hiring process because it’s often one of the most crucial decision‑making factors. If a client-facing candidate has a violent background, for example, that’s probably going to take them out of the running. Accordingly, for the best candidate experience, employers need to clearly communicate expectations with regard to how the background report will be used in the hiring decision. Development and consistent application of a background screening policy is an important element to your hiring program. The policy will provide you with additional protection in the event of an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) audit, particularly if it conforms to EEOC guidance.
In the event of an adverse decision, providing a copy of the report and giving candidates the opportunity to dispute that report is vital; in fact, it is specifically required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Even if you don’t end up hiring a candidate, their experience with how you handle presenting an adverse decision and related follow-up will impact how they portray your company to colleagues, friends, and online networks. A positive candidate experience depends upon your company being portrayed as fair, reasonable, and open to listening.
A Foundation-Laying Experience
Because the background check is such a critical component of the hiring process, a positive candidate experience throughout the screening process is vital. If a candidate feels they are treated unfairly or if the process is overly stressful, it’s going to have a negative impact on the way they perceive your company. In that scenario, a candidate will be more likely to reject an offer or terminate from a position quickly.
A candidate’s experience matters in background screening because it lays the foundation of the employer-employee relationship.
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