Background Checks, Candidate Experience

Streamlining Background Checks Converts Applicants to New Hires

Today’s hiring authorities are working against market conditions. Talent is at an all-time low, while openings are at all-time highs. LinkedIn reports more Americans are voluntarily leaving their jobs than ever, with poaching and passive recruitment the new norms. For business, any tool you can use in a competitive market is an advantage. Streamlining background checks and the hiring process shows candidates you’re an organization that values their time and talent – which could give you the edge when they’re deciding on an offer.

Today’s job seeker is looking for a quick turnaround when it comes to hiring. A survey from Indeed found almost half of applicants heard from an employer within a couple of weeks: 37% within a single week. One study found the best candidates are off the job market within 10 days of their search, with an offer acceptance rate of 73%. Traditional time-to-hire of weeks to months is a dinosaur: it’s imperative, in a tight market, to get talent off the job boards and on the payroll as quickly as possible.

Streamlining (and speeding) hiring processes

The hiring process begins long before you post your vacancy: having systems in place to respond quickly to applicants takes thoughtful planning. Your postings should link directly to an application form or another way to send a resume. These should be user-friendly and not frustratingly long. If a candidate is submitting a resume, there’s no need to fill out an application. Keeping the process simple is key to attracting talent.

Hiring must be mobile-optimized. In 2021, almost 70% of applications were submitted through a smartphone. This number has likely increased significantly. Job seekers, scrolling through boards or responding to passive recruitment, are more likely to apply immediately if there’s a mobile option. With almost two-thirds of applications received through this method, you’re missing out on talent, and slowing your process, if you’re not optimized for easy mobile applications.

Into the hiring funnel quickly

Texting should be your organization’s go-to method to communicate with potential hires. Data suggests almost 90% of job seekers prefer text messaging to phone calls or emails during their search. The open rate for text messages is significantly higher than for other forms of applicant communication: 99% of texts are opened within minutes of receipt. You’re more likely to get a quick response, and an interview scheduled, with texting than any other form of communication.

A next best practice is to be ready for applicants with self-scheduling software. Most applicant tracking systems (ATS) have built-in screening capacity. This advances those candidates who meet the job’s minimum requirements through the system. When they do, they should be immediately directed to scheduling software that allows the applicant to schedule a first interview. This ‘strike while the iron is hot’ mentality keeps enthusiasm for the potential job high. The candidate knows they meet the hiring criteria and are already scheduled for an interview without having to wait to communicate with anyone.

Freeing gridlock

Once the candidate is moving through the process, a logjam is often background checking. This process can be as simple as checking professional and educational qualifications or involve complex criminal, social media and credentialing information. For most organizations, a conditional offer of employment, pending the results of the check, is a way to keep a candidate on radar. If the background check is too slow, however, you could be losing talent.

HR professionals are notoriously busy and typically overwhelmed with tasks. Outsourcing background checks of all kinds to a third-party provider speeds the process and ensures efficiency. Red flags are easily missed when the recruiter is juggling job postings, scheduling, interviews and more, along with background checks. The fastest, most cost-effective way to conduct applicant research is with professionals who do nothing else.

Background checks legally and quickly

Background check professionals know what to look for; where to find it and what’s relevant to report on a potential hire. They also know what information should remain private, minimizing the risk that organizations gain information they should not have. Scanning an applicant’s social media is commonplace: 92% of employers do so. More than half report they’ve eliminated a candidate based on what they’ve uncovered. But some knowledge can put an organization at risk.

Social media searches can result in information your company doesn’t want to know. If an applicant that wasn’t hired posts frequently about an ill family member, they may suggest they were passed over because of potential sick time use or insurance costs. Background check professionals are skilled in providing job-relevant information only to employers, mitigating the risk of making a hiring decision (even unconsciously) on any other factor than skills and experience.

Automated onboarding

A final best practice is to streamline the onboarding process as much as possible. Filling out forms, reading through and acknowledging receipt of employee handbooks, setting up emails and other mundane tasks are as easily performed online as in person. Moving this process quickly through automated systems makes a new hire’s first day production-oriented, rather than paperwork heavy.

In a challenging market, employers who streamline their hiring process, making it as candidate-friendly as possible, will have an edge over the competition. It’s important to review every step in your process to assure it’s easy and encourages applicants to keep moving forward.

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