Background Checks Are Key to Candidate Experience—Here’s How to Do Them Right

September 24, 2019
Checkr Editor

You might not give background checks much thought compared to the rest of the hiring process. But the way you handle them is key to the candidate experience at your company. 

Candidate experience is everything a prospective employee goes through, from pre-application through onboarding or rejection. A positive candidate experience translates into a better brand in the marketplace of candidates. On the flipside, a bad candidate experience can lose you talent and damage your company’s reputation.

In today’s tight job market, more and more companies are putting candidate experience first.

“Candidate experience and employer branding are by far the top recruiting initiatives or activities employers plan on focusing on in 2019,” said Kevin Grossman, President of the nonprofit Talent Board.

And candidates care how their background checks go. According to a Careerbuilder survey, almost 2 in 5 employers lose candidates because of a poor background check experience. Even worse, 56% of candidates think less of a company if they have a bad experience with its technology. Candidates can and do share with peers on sites like Glassdoor.

How to Choose a Background Check Provider

Many companies use an outside vendor to conduct their background checks. There are a number of reasons to do this. For one, it’s easier than building a system in-house. You’re also outsourcing some of the legal and compliance side, which gives you protection at a lower cost.

Still, when you work with a vendor, you’re losing control of the hiring process at its most crucial point. You’ve put significant time and resources into the candidate. You’re ready to make an offer. You don’t want to risk alienating them in the final stages of the process.

Here’s what to look for when choosing a background check provider:

1. Do they make themselves available? 

Background checks can be stressful for candidates. Make sure your provider offers and invests in candidate support to answer any questions that may come up. The candidate should also be able to find out where they are in the process at any point along the way.

2. Do they make things easy?

Today’s job seekers live on their phones. But many vendors still require candidates to fill out multiple forms—sometimes on paper. Candidates should be able to enter information on any device from any location. The interface should be easy and intuitive to use. And the whole process should take minutes.

3. Do they give candidates a fair shake?

There shouldn’t be any mystery surrounding background checks. Yet too often, background checks are a black box, in which candidates don’t know what the process or results are. Choose a background check vendor that’s transparent. Candidates should have the chance to explain anything that comes up. 

4. Do they keep the wheels in motion? 

Good candidates will get frustrated if they’re forced to wait before starting work because a background check is held up. They may decide to take another offer. Make sure to choose a vendor that returns reports in a timely manner. The best are those that can give the candidate an accurate ETA in advance as to when the background check will be completed.

5. Do they deliver accurate results?

You don’t want to waste resources sorting out problems with incorrect background information. Good vendors use advanced technology such as artificial intelligence that can sort through and analyze large data sets. Be sure to choose a provider of this caliber that you can rely on to be accurate.

The benefits of choosing the best

Given all the possible pitfalls, it pays to be picky about who does your background checks. Top vendors provide a fast, easy, accurate, and safe process. This will mean better candidate conversion from the start.

There are other benefits as well. Your cost to hire will be lower, because you won’t have to spend as much to interview new candidates due to churn. And, of course, time to hire will also go down thanks to faster report surfacing.

Accurate background checks mean you won’t have as many support tickets. Meanwhile, offering candidates an easy to use, mobile friendly service will make them less likely to drop out.

Managing your background checks with the candidate in mind will make them happier, and make you more competitive in today’s talent market. 

All of this adds up to a better candidate experience that starts the relationship off on the right foot. A smooth background check can lead to a positive employee experience that lasts for many years.

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According to a Careerbuilder survey, almost 2 in 5 employers lose candidates because of a poor background check experience.

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