Changing HR platforms or Background Screening Vendors? Ask these questions first!

For most HR departments there will come a time in the business cycle when you are faced with evaluating vendors and the tools you use. Whether it’s a payroll system overhaul or a simple addition of an Applicant Tracking platform, make sure to ask these questions first before finalizing your decision:

Questions to ask yourself when considering an HR platform change

  • What is the core reason prompting the change, and does this platform/vendor/organization align overall to current business strategies in the near future?
  • How far will the impact of the change reach in the organization? Will it just make the immediate team’s life better, or will it improve the company as a whole?
  • How does this product tie in with existing systems? For example, if your company uses Firefox across the board, but a web platform only functions on Chrome.
  • Is your current setup already addressing the issues you have, and how does a potential new system set itself aside?
  • What savings can be achieved with regards to cost, labor, turnover, etc.?
  • Is this solution the best available just for right now, or can they prove their adaptability with constant changes in technology?
  • Have you tried to fix this problem before? What were the concerns from that time?
  • What is the ultimate end goal, according to YOUR plan?
  • This is not an all-inclusive list, but having a clear set of questions in mind can drastically reduce the margin for error when making a final decision.

    Questions to ask when comparing background screening vendors

  • Is your screening process comprehensive, starting with a Social Security Number Validation to uncover aliases, DOB, and previous addresses?

    *Tip: Some states do not provide DOB information, so it’s important for a researcher to be able to link identifiers.

  • Are you capable of advising on the information you provide i.e. FCRA/Adverse Action? E-Verify? EEOC? Local statutes?

    *Tip: Some companies just deliver information rather than act as a partner. It’s also helpful to know if they have experience in your industry. Ask for references!

  • Can the services you provide be mixed and matched to meet our needs?

    *Tip: Although the stock package may seem easier, a tailored approach can save you time and money by not ordering unnecessary information.

  • Do you offer multiple channels for communication i.e. online, email, fax, live people to speak to by phone?

    *Tip: Ask if you will have the same person assigned to your account or if you will be bounced around every time you contact them.

  • What is your cost structure? Are there hidden fees or extra charges? What costs are incurred from aliases?

    *Tip: Be wary of companies touting abnormally low fees. The reports are not likely to be comprehensive and could lead to disputes.

  • What can we expect for turnaround times?

    *Tip: Companies that claim instant results should raise a red flag, as there is no single instant database for all criminal records. These companies are also not likely to be researching at county levels.

  • Do you screen your own employees? Is work sent offshore? Can you explain your Quality Control process for records?

    *Tip: Do not consider a BACKGROUND SCREENING COMPANY that does not SCREEN its employees. Also, some foreign locations carry weak ID theft/confidentiality laws.

  • Do you safeguard candidate SSNs? Do you have a security certificate for online systems? Do you protect background report data?

    *Tip: Ask to see privacy and data-security policies as an added step.

  • Does your firm carry any professional memberships such as the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) or Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)?
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