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6 Strategies to Maximize Background Check Efficiency Ahead of the Holiday Hiring Surge

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industry solutions for retail

The retail industry typically experiences significant employee churn, especially during peak hiring seasons. In fact, retailers often need to replace more than half of their staff every year and the industry has been facing quit rates that nearly double the national average since the pandemic began. Retail is also one of the industries taking a huge labor hit with 70% of jobs unfilled, due to current economic conditions. 

Slow and outdated hiring processes and practices can bottleneck the hiring funnel. According to a Checkr survey of retail workers, 23% said their biggest turn-off during the job search was how long the entire process takes. If your job application process is tedious, candidates may jump ship to the competition or decide to stay put where they are. This could leave your organization understaffed during your busiest seasons — costing you time and revenue.

Retail jobs are unfilled due to current economic conditions

Pre-employment background checks are often part of the hiring process, but could present hiring challenges if your organization is using outdated practices, time-consuming manual processes, and clunky workflows. Partnering with a consumer reporting agency (CRA) may help you create more efficiencies, positive candidate experiences, and simplified compliance workflows. However, it’s important to find the right background check provider to help you hire for 2023’s peak retail seasons. 

Using a modern background check platform can help your organization deliver a seamless pre-employment background check experience – for both your team and candidates. Plus, a professional CRA with state-of-the-art tools and technology can help your organization improve time-to-hire, enable compliance, mitigate risk, and reduce costs.  

In this guide, we’ll share 6 strategies that can help your retail organization use background checks to ramp up fast and get peace of mind in the upcoming hiring seasons. 

Strategy #1

Use one background check provider

There are many background check providers on the market that can help your organization conduct background screenings. So it’s a good idea to shop around for the best fit for your company’s needs before selecting a partner. While it may be tempting to work with multiple CRAs for different parts of your organization, or even for different regions, working with one provider can help you create the most efficiencies and cost-savings.

Whether you’re a local, regional, or national retailer, look for a CRA that is able to serve the background check needs for all of your stores, no matter where they are located. A trusted CRA, like Checkr, can help:

  • Your organization stay on top of federal, state, and local laws across the country
  • Establish screening consistency across your organization with background check packages for all your position types, and 
  • Make it easier for store managers to make fair, consistent hiring decisions across the organization and according to your organization’s background check policy.

Plus, Checkr offers user-friendly dashboards and technology for both candidates and hiring teams that provide visibility into the background check process and timeline transparency every step of the way. 

Strategy #2

Integrate with your ATS or HRIS

If your organization’s human resource team is currently using an applicant tracking system (ATS) or human resources information system (HRIS), integrating your background check platform is critical to boosting ROI and turnaround times. 

From siloed data and logging into and out of different platforms, to entering candidate information twice, or not having the ability to access candidate information in one place, when background check solutions don’t communicate directly with your existing HR technology, it can cause headaches for your entire hiring team. 

Finding a CRA solution that integrates seamlessly with your ATS or HRIS can help create a more turnkey hiring experience. In fact, Checkr was the first CRA in the background check industry to create a scalable open API that lets you embed and connect with your core systems easily and automate hiring and onboarding workflows. Checkr has also partnered with over 100 industry-leading ATS, HRIS, and onboarding systems to offer pre-built integrations to help you easily plug Checkr’s platform and tools directly into your HR programs. 

Retailers can choose from Checkr’s broad ecosystem of 100+ partner integrations, including these four most commonly used in the retail industry:

Strategy #3

Audit your background check packages

Unnecessary screenings can cost you time and money, while omitting critical checks can make you vulnerable to compliance and liability issues. When was the last time your company took stock of your background check screening packages? While there is no one-size-fits-all process, each industry, including retail, often has their own screening standards. Plus, your organization likely has its own pre-employment background check policies and procedures. 

When auditing your screening packages, think about who you need to hire for peak shopping seasons, including:

  • Cashiers
  • Stock associates
  • Managers
  • Customer service
  • Warehouse staff 
  • Loss prevention personnel

Take a close look at your current background check and drug screening policy, then look at your screening packages. Do they align with the role a candidate will have once hired? Are there different packages for different position levels? For example, do you require employment verification and education at the management level and more basic screenings for seasonal workers

Working with a professional CRA can help you tailor background screening packages to your organization’s specific needs and those of the retail industry. You’ll save time, money, and reduce risk with the appropriate screens for each position. 

Strategy #4

Make a great first impression

Candidates are real people looking for new jobs, and their lives are affected by background check results. The experience a candidate has with your company during the hiring process can make a lasting impression. It also can make or break candidate churn and your ability to staff up during busy shopping seasons. 

Retail workers plan to look for a new job in 2023

Strategy #5

Improve your review process

Many companies approach criminal background checks using adjudication, a process in which results are reviewed against a company’s hiring policies to determine whether or not to hire a candidate when they have certain criminal records. It is typically a time-consuming process when results must be manually reviewed and adjudicated against the company’s adjudication matrix.  

Since generally all criminal charges are often surfaced in a report without filters, the adjudicator (or person conducting the background screening) must decide what information is not disqualifying on a case-by-case basis and what records require further review. Not only is this a tedious process that can reduce your pool of eligible candidates and delay onboarding, but it could be in violation of fair hiring practices if inconsistencies result in bias, which could lead to possible legal issues. 

Partnering with a CRA that offers automated adjudication tools as part of its background screening technology can help employers save time and money, and reduce potential legal risks. Checkr’s suite of adjudication tools help you:

  • Reduce manual work
  • Make hiring decisions faster
  • Comply with screening laws
  • Follow adverse action steps
  • Support fair hiring

Strategy #6

Expand your candidate pool and support fair chance hiring

Nearly 1 in 3 US adults have criminal records – totaling around 70 million Americans. These individuals often face barriers to re-entering the workforce post-justice involvement, and as a result experience an unemployment rate over 27 percent higher than the total US unemployment rate during any historical period, including the Great Depression. 

Customizing criminal record results through an adjudication matrix, like Checkr Assess, helps retailers expand their pool of eligible candidates, including individuals with criminal records, and may also help organizations enable compliance with fair chance hiring practices

With Checkr, you can tailor your adjudication matrix to filter out criminal offenses that your team doesn’t deem necessary to review. For example, for stockroom associates, you may choose to filter out offenses that are irrelevant to the position, such as drug possession misdemeanors older than 5 years. Plus, candidates also have the opportunity to provide context to any charges on their record, which can help you support a fair chance at their future. 

Checkr helps you fill seasonal roles faster

Partnering with Checkr can give your retail organization the edge it needs during this year’s peak hiring seasons. Although the retail labor market may be tight, Checkr can help you streamline your background check process with tools to maximize efficiencies for HR teams, a user-friendly candidate portal that creates a positive experience and minimizes churn, and sophisticated analytics to help continually improve your process. 

Plus, Checkr customers benefit from industry-leading, fast turnaround times, the ability to scale quickly, and peace of mind when it comes to staying compliant with federal, state, and local hiring laws. Ready to get started? 

Hire faster with Checkr


The resources and information provided here are for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Always consult your own counsel for up-to-date legal advice and guidance related to your practices, needs, and compliance with applicable laws.

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