Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
The 2019 Employers Background Screening Survey conducted by leading online background screening firm directory PreEmploymentDirectory.com has ranked ‘Timeliness’ and ‘Cost’ as the top challenges employers face with background screening providers, with the “focus on timeliness is likely due to the continuing talent shortage and the need for speed in the hiring process to get the best candidates.”
The survey – now in its eleventh year – asked employers about challenges experienced with background screening providers, what innovations they wanted screening providers to offer, changes in practices or policies regarding asking job applicants about salary history in the hiring process, level of satisfaction with screening providers, and possibly changing their current screening providers within the year.
Question 1: What are the leading challenges that you are experiencing with your current background screening service provider that you would like to see corrected or changed?
For Question 1, ‘Timeliness’ and ‘Cost’ finished in first and second place and with unemployment at record low levels the survey suggested that “background screening providers should continue to focus on creating efficient processes using technology solutions to enable them to quickly process background checks and to reduce overall cost of operations to manage cost pressures in the marketplace.”
‘Customer Service’ – which the survey indicated “may be the secret sauce to gaining competitive advantage in a marketplace filled with firms that are perceived to be providing the same services” – edged out ’Accuracy’ for the third spot, possibly signaling “that CRAs are doing a better job with accuracy, thus reducing the level of concern.” ‘HRIS/ATS Integration’ finished in the fifth spot.
Question 2: What innovations would you like to see a background screening service provider offer to you?
For Question 2, the survey found “the focus on integration of background screening providers with ATS (Applicant Tracking System), HRIS (Human Resources Information System), and other HR (Human Resources) systems continues to increase” as technology issues start to take center. In addition, Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions and blockchain will “significantly impact HR and background screening.”
‘Faster Results’ nudged out ‘ATS/HRIS integration’ for first place with ‘Mobile Capabilities’ ranking third. As evidenced by the results of Question 1 where ‘Timeliness’ finished first, the survey noted that “the focus on faster results will continue to dominate the landscape for all parts of the hiring process.” Meanwhile, ATS/HRIS integration has become a “requirement to be competitive as a background screening provider.”
Question 3: Has your company changed its practice or policy regarding asking job applicants about their Salary History as part of the hiring process as a result of emerging legal requirements in this area?
For Question 3 – only the second year the survey has asked about salary history – ‘We No Longer Ask Applicants’ increased from 32.3 percent in 2018 to 39.4 percent in 2019 while ‘No Change Planned’ dropped from 32.2 percent to 27.9 percent during that time. ‘We’re Studying the Issue’ finished third with 22.04 percent, with ‘Don’t Know’ and ‘We’re Planning a Change’ rounding out the top five spots.
The survey predicted – along with an increase of the number of states and cities passing bans on asking job applicants about salary history – that the “number of employers studying the issue likely means more firms will adopt bans on asking about salary history during the hiring process and since more legislation on the issue is pending it is clear that the numbers will continue increase.”
Question 4: What is your level of satisfaction with your current provider?
For Question 4, the survey found more than 60 percent of respondents indicated they were ‘Extremely Satisfied’ or ‘Very Satisfied’ with their current provider in 2019 – consistent with results of 62 percent of respondents choosing the same categories in 2018 – which “forebodes well for CRAs because retaining clients and further selling to them is less expensive than investing in getting new clients.”
While the results suggest that “CRAs retention efforts over the last two years have been working,” the survey also found that 38 percent of the respondents reported that they were either ‘Barely Satisfied’ (27.6 percent), ‘Somewhat Dissatisfied’ (10 percent), or ‘Totally Dissatisfied’ (2 percent) with their current provider, “which means providers still have work to do to retain these dissatisfied clients.”
Question 5: Are you considering changing your current background screening provider in the next 12 months?
For Question 5, the survey revealed the number of organizations stating they are ‘Undecided’ about leaving their background screening provider increased from 24 percent in 2018 to 43 percent n 2019. However, while the number of undecided respondents increased significantly, the combined rating for ‘Definitely Plan to Change and Undecided’ dropped by 10 percent, “which is good news for providers.”
The survey – the results of which were based on combined surveys conducted at two Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conferences – found the “high undecided number means providers need to stay diligent in focusing on identifying areas of client dissatisfaction and finding ways to resolve problems. Customer retention needs to continue to be a key business strategy.”
Organizations of all sizes participated in the survey, with 50 percent of respondents coming from firms with ‘100 to 999’ employees, followed by ‘1,000 to 4,999’ (20+ percent), ‘Less than 100’ (10+ percent), and ‘5,000 or More’ (10+ percent). For more information or questions about the survey, email W. Barry Nixon, founder and COO of PreemploymentDirectory.com, at wbnixon@PreemploymentDirectory.com.
Founded in 2005, PreemploymentDirectory.com is a comprehensive listing of professional background screening companies and is a leading online directory available to organizations searching for a background screening firm. The Employers Background Screening Survey was one of the first in the industry to examine the views of employers about background screening. To learn more, visit https://preemploymentdirectory.com.
Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check provider – offers employers an experienced leadership team, comprehensive screening services, unequaled compliance certifications, industry-leading Turnaround Times (TATs), innovative and award-winning screening technology, ATS/HRIS integrated solutions, and no cost value adds, To learn more, visit www.esrcheck.com.
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