Checking candidates’ backgrounds more quickly with digital technology
4 mins read
When you are onboarding new employees, checking their background and getting all the right documents from them are essential to ensuring that you comply with legislation and protect your interests.
These checks have traditionally involved too many manual touchpoints that can cause delays that are frustrating for both you and your new joiners. However, new digital capabilities mean that onboarding can be a faster, smoother, more welcoming and engaging experience.
People judge your organisation by their first digital experience with you. New joiners have very similar attitudes to consumers, and they expect their digital onboarding journey to be comparable to the high-quality customer journeys they have with the likes of Netflix, Amazon and Uber – frictionless, satisfying and problem-free.
This means that your onboarding and screening experience needs to be seamless, with as few steps and clicks as possible. Speed is critical. Ideally, a candidate should be able to complete an online background checking form on their mobile phone, wherever they may be, in under 20 minutes.
The background checking and documentation steps of your onboarding process shouldn’t be roadblocks that damage your brand by frustrating your new recruit and, in the worst-case scenario, causing them to give up altogether. You shouldn’t require them to fill out long forms with personal information – the data should be pre-populated wherever possible; and you should avoid the worst sin at all costs: asking for the same information at multiple points in the journey.
In addition to the challenge of rising expectations, we face another issue that has been accelerated by Covid-19: increasing the scope of what needs to be digitised. The pandemic has caused a massive surge in the requirement for clean and accessible digital data, and the number of people needing remote access to background checking data and systems has also shot up. Years of digital transformation have been compressed into mere months.
This has created unique challenges for background checkers. For example, prospective workers from other countries have historically had to go their local embassy for a face-to-face criminal record check. Lockdowns have made that difficult and so there is now an urgent need for the process to move online. However, many verifying institutions have not digitized their processes fast enough. It’s also often not possible to acquire a ‘wet’ signature of consent from a candidate to carry out the background check, so this requirement has had to be reviewed and new digital options created.
Another challenge is the screening process’s requirement for documentation and communication from many different links in an interdependent chain of data and checks. Not all these players are digitising at the same pace, and some still don’t accept digital versions of certain documents. So, screening agents should regularly review the digital status of all the links in the chain and adjust their processes and policies to ensure that data and applicants keep flowing through the system.
This is a substantial undertaking that requires background checkers to have deep industry knowledge and robust procedures, and to stay up to date with complex regulations and international intellectual property and privacy laws.
Having a platform that seamlessly automates the push and pull of data from multiple suppliers, to pre-populate fields for candidates – is crucial. As an employer, you need an end-to-end digital process that fits with your context and needs, and that allows you to integrate your brand, unique processes and tone of voice into the onboarding journey.
Even though Covid-19 is speeding up digitisation, the human touch has never been more important and there must be room in the screening process for human judgement and intervention.
It’s also important that, in the rush to improve the experience for candidates, we don’t exclude those who are data-poor or who have limited access to devices or connectivity. There should always be an alternative, offline option for making applications and submitting documents.
At the other end of the scale, very senior appointments may require a concierge-like service in which a team member helps the candidate over the phone to provide all the necessary documentation.
Given new joiners’ expectations and organisations’ rapid rate of digital adoption, the bar has been set very high indeed. You need an onboarding experience that is quick, smooth and welcoming, and to incorporate into the process all the background checks and documentation that are required, without creating stumbling blocks that can damage your relationship with your new employee before they have even started.
Volti4 is a world-class background tracking system from Capita, part of an end-to-end onboarding offering that combines the best of new digital capabilities with our expert customer service and industry knowledge to create an engaging experience for new employees. It has made possible a digitised onboarding journey that covers all the required background checks and complies with privacy rules, speaks with your voice and enables a candidate to fill out an online form in under 20 minutes.
To find out how we can help you to offer your new employees a better, quicker onboarding and screening experience, get in touch.
Managing Director of Security Watchdog
Susie is a co-founder of Security Watchdog, having founded the company with her family in 1998. Over the last twenty years, she has become a recognised expert in pre-employment screening and now sits on the BSI GW/3 Committee for BS7858, the industry’s standard for security screening.