Accredited Member Spotlight Employment Screening Resources
Published in NAPBS® JOURNAL for November-December 2011
Attorney Lester Rosen, Founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources (ESR), who also served as chairperson of the steering committee that founded The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) and served as its first co-chair, recently shared his thoughts on the accreditation process.
Choice to Become Accredited
In ESR’s view, NAPBS accreditation will become a requisite by a great number of employers when considering a screening provider, as it’s the only practical means of third party verification as to the professionalism and competency of a particular firm. Without the accreditation program, employers have no real way of differentiating between providers of screening services. With accreditation as a baseline requirement, employers have a level of assurance that a background screening firm meets the stringent accreditation standards. It is just a matter of time before most employers will only want to deal with accredited screening firms.
Benefits of Accreditation
The benefits of NAPBS accreditation are two fold, both external and internal. Externally, accreditation is proof positive to an employer that a background screening firm meets the accreditation guidelines. Internally, our going through the accreditation process was educational and reinforced the standards that ESR already upheld. Also, since the NAPBS mission relates to professionalism in the screening industry, and with most other professions having some sort of accreditation or licensing process, it is very important for our industry to show that we are self-regulating before government agencies seek to over control the industry – accreditation is a big part of demonstrating that we police ourselves.
Challenges of Accreditation
The main challenge of accreditation is that it requires a real commitment to spend the time needed to document your policies, practices, and procedures for the auditor. However, once a background screening firm makes the commitment of time and energy to undergo a third party audit though NAPBS accreditation, it is actually a very exciting process to review each standard and document compliance. It’s also a tremendous training opportunity for all members of the team.
The auditor who conducted both the ‘desk review’ and ‘onsite audit’ was extremely professional and very pleasant to work with. Even though the amount of ESR’s accreditation material made Tolstoy’s novel “War and Pace” look like a short story, the auditor was obviously familiar with the material and all of the details giving us confidence as we went through the process.
Every business has a number of pressing shorter term priorities, and in addition to performing against these, it is critical to think strategically about what the future holds. In the background screening industry, ESR thinks the “writing is on the wall” so to speak that accreditation will be nothing less than a business necessity for a professional screening company competing in the current economic environment. Also, keep in mind that there is nothing about the accreditation process or standards that would prevent a professional firm from achieving accreditation. It may be a lot of work, but it’s very doable for any size firm. There are even consulting firms that will now help a background screening firm through the process.
When the NAPBS was founded back in 2002 and 2003, the idea of an accreditation process was a central driving force in order to demonstrate that background screening was a professional endeavor. The thought was that as an industry we needed to create standards, or risk outside regulation. Every profession has to have standards, and NAPBS accreditation represents the standards for our industry. Over the years, it took a lot of hard work from many very dedicated people who put the accreditation program together on their own time, and the results have been nothing short of tremendous. The screening industry owes a debt of gratitude to all of those people who made the accreditation program a reality.
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) literally wrote the book on background screening with “The Safe Hiring Manual” by ESR Founder and CEO Lester Rosen. ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) and employers choosing an accredited screening firm like ESR know they have selected an agency that meets the highest industry standards. For more information about ESR, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com.