Background checks and job boards do not always mix

On the surface, it is easy to see why a job board may see the  appeal in an excluisve integration with a background firm.   The idea is that an employer can use the job board to find the candidate and at the same time, perform a background check through the partner background firm.  From a business development perspective, it looks like a good arrangement for both the job board and the screening firm, and gives the job board an additional stream of revenue.  

The reality however, may turn out to be much different.  First, very knowledgeable observers of the recruiting world have predicted rough waters ahead for the big job boards.  The July 6, 2009 edition of Business Week noted that the job boards are losing ground to sites such as LinkedIn, Craigslist and Twitter among others.  According to one expert quoted in the article, “The big boards have peaked.”  

What that means is that recruiters are finding candidates from numerous sources.  Since all candidates need to be screened in a similar  fashion to prevent claims of disparate treatment, it make little sense to utilize  background services offered through just  one  job board for some candidates and to make other arrangements for all other candidates.  There is a lot to be said for uniformity of treatment of candidates.  

These types of tie-in arrangements also assume that Human Resources professionals are swayed in large numbers simply by the fact that there is a built –in economic association.  However, most HR professionals have an understanding that just because one firm enters into a business development deal with another does not mean that HR is getting the best deal or that their needs are being meet.  HR professionals do not sacrifice their own due diligence and blindly accept the recommended partner.  

The smart move for job boards that want to retain traffic, service thier clients  and increase business would be to allow employers to do their employment screening with whatever background firm the employer chooses.  That would make a job board even more valualbe as part of the hiring process.  Through standard integration tools, that is something job boards could easily allow.   Exclusive business development  deals with just one screening firm  carries with it the unstated premise that the job boards know better than  HR and recruiters what is good for them.   That  is the same “old school” thinking that may have gotten job boards in trouble in the first place.   Besides, HR professionals clearly understand that when a job board has an exclusive partner, that most likely there is some sort of economic sharing as well. 

For information on how to select a screening firm, a sample Request for Proposal (RFP) or how to audit your current screening firm, see information at

The sample RFP is at: and the article on how to select a screening firm is at: