4 Ways Staffing Firms Can Convert More Candidates with a Thoughtful Approach to Background Checks

Sarah Archambault
July 07, 2023
5 min read

Find out how a more thoughtful approach to background checks can help keep more candidates in the pipeline and boost candidate conversions.

With today’s high employee turnover rates—even in a post-pandemic job market—staffing clients continue to have a pressing need to fill roles. Not only do they want the best candidates, but they want quick candidate conversions, too. But even as the US economy transitions away from the job seeker’s market, candidates are demanding a more positive hiring experience to remain in your hiring funnel. This combination of intense client and candidate expectations are putting more pressure on staffing organizations than we’ve seen in recent years.

One of the top contributors to candidate frustration is the background check experience, which can often lead to lost candidates and hiring delays. Although an important part of today’s hiring process, many candidates find background checks stressful and invasive–especially if they’re 1 in 3 Americans living with an arrest record. To provide a better background check experience, staffing firms can take a more thoughtful approach from the start of the background check through to delivering report results and hiring decisions.

Here are 4 ways your staffing organization can keep more candidates in the pipeline and boost candidate conversions with a more thoughtful approach to background checks.

1. Set clear expectations

When conducting background checks as part of your staffing agency’s hiring process, it’s critical to let candidates know what they can expect. It can be helpful to explain why you’re conducting a background check in the first place and what types of searches and verifications will be used.  There are many different types of background checks–from criminal histories and motor vehicle records, education and employment verification, to drug testing and more. Be sure to let candidates know which screenings they can expect.

Not only can being upfront help ease some candidate worries, but it can also ensure they know what information they may need to gather and provide beyond their name, Social Security number, and date of birth. For example, if they’re going to receive a drug test, then they may need paperwork–such as medical prescriptions–and to make time to schedule a lab appointment.

Get more staffing insights

Guide: How to Improve Candidate Conversion Rates During the Background Check Process

2. Make a great first impression

To give candidates peace of mind during the background check process and get them to start the check faster, your staffing firm needs to put its best foot forward—right out of the gate. Ensuring your staffing organization always comes across as professional can help candidates feel comfortable and secure when beginning the background check process, especially when providing personal information.

Whether you're using a background check platform that kicks the process off for you, or sending your own email or letter, it’s important that the candidate invite doesn’t feel second rate—or worse, look like spam. Consider customizing your invitation email or letter with company branding such as your logo, colors, and fonts. You can also include welcoming and personalized messaging.

3. Meet candidates where they are

Candidates use their mobile devices for job searches and employment applications now more than ever. Staffing agencies can use mobile apps and candidate portals to keep talent engaged right from the palm of their hand. With 50% of candidates failing to complete employment forms, mobile onboarding also makes it simple for candidates to access forms and complete forms on-the-go. Going mobile can also help staffing organizations ensure forms, like consent and authorization, are completed quickly.

A mobile-optimized online interface or app provides candidates the flexibility to also easily update and correct their personal information. And some of the more advanced background check platforms have built-in workflows that not only guide candidates through completing personal information and forms, but also catch errors, provide alerts, and offer support via chat, email, and phone.

Ready to dig deeper?

Learn How to Improve Candidate Conversion Rates During the Background Check Process

4. Keep the lines of communication open

Job hunting can be overwhelming, stressful, and time consuming for candidates—especially when it feels like it’s taking a long time. Instead of keeping candidates in the dark, consider being transparent with regular status updates to keep candidates engaged in the background check process from start to finish.

Candidates who have a criminal record may be particularly uneasy when you’re looking into their criminal history. They may worry how far the lookback period actually is or that you’ll discover a past arrest or a conviction. To help calm nerves, staffing agencies can provide candidates with the opportunity to explain a record and share their story around the circumstances or rehabilitation efforts and correct any falsely reported information.

The bottom line

Every hour that a candidate hasn’t started in a new role can mean lost revenue for your staffing firm, and unsatisfied clients. Bottlenecks can happen anywhere during the hiring process, but background checks are one of the most common causes for delays. Staffing agencies that take a more thoughtful approach to improving the candidate background check experience can help reduce candidate churn and boost conversion rates.

Simple improvements like setting clear expectations up front and making a professional first impression can help ensure the background check process gets off to a smooth start. Giving candidates access to easy-to-use technology and open communication along the way keeps candidates moving through the funnel faster—all while improving the overall candidate experience.

Ready to learn how to create a better candidate experience and boost candidate conversion rates?


The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. We advise you to consult your own counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.

Headshot of Sarah ArchambaultHeadshot of Sarah Archambault

About the author

Sarah writes about small business topics and corporate communications. She has written on a wide range of topics, including background checks, hiring trends, company culture, and employee training and development. Her work includes educational articles, press releases, newsletters, and employee onboarding collateral. 

Keep reading


Ready to get started?