In theory, background checks should be the easiest part of the hiring workflow. If you're part of the 72 percent of companies that perform a background check on every new hire though, you know that this final hurdle to employment can still come with its fair share of headaches—even if the results come back clean.
Between maintaining mountains of paperwork for compliance purposes, keeping track of payments to background check providers and updating the status of candidates in your hiring pipeline, there are more than a few steps where errors can, and do, occur. Errors lead to delays, and delays mean potentially pushing back a new hire starting date. That's no good.
Which is why if you're looking to save time, ensure accuracy and reduce costly delays with employee background checks, you should consider background check software: systems designed to help HR personnel stay on top of this small but important process.
If you're new to background check software, this Buyer's Guide can help. Below, we'll go over everything you need to know to find the right system for your needs.
Here's what we'll cover:
What Is Background Check Software?
Common Background Check Software Functionality
Businesses That Benefit the Most From Background Check Software
Key Considerations When Evaluating Background Check Providers
As the name implies, background check software helps companies digitize and automate processes pertaining to requesting, obtaining, paying for and tracking the status of employee background checks. More accurately, background check software is a combination of software and service—vendors either offer background check services themselves (rare) or partner with someone who does (more common).
Compared to disparate emails and paper files, background check software offers a more secure, centralized and streamlined solution that can save you time while ensuring nothing with regard to background checks falls through the cracks.
Background check overview screen in Newton
Background check software can be purchased either stand-alone (e.g., Intelifi's Emerge) or as an optional feature set integrated within a more comprehensive recruiting or onboarding software platform (e.g., Newton).
When researching different background check software vendors, you should expect to find these features in a majority of systems:
|Background check ordering||Enter candidate details, select the type of background check you want and submit payment.|
|Status tracking||Keep track of the status of different background checks. Automatically notify the responsible party when they have a task to complete.|
|Document management||Store background check documents. Documents can be searched for or attached to candidate profiles in a recruiting software system.|
|Digital signature||All parties—candidates, employers, background check service providers—can read and sign documents in-system.|
|Results and reporting||See the results of background checks and generate standardized reports for stakeholders.|
Software functionality is just one half of the equation though. You should also learn which types of background check services a vendor or their partnered providers can offer. Here are some common options to ask about:
Depending on your company, there may also be more industry-specific background checks you should include on your must-have list. Fleet companies, for example, should ensure their vendor offers motor vehicle screenings, while those in finance may require credit checks.
If you only do background checks for a few select roles or don't do a ton of hiring outside of seasonal spikes, it's unlikely that you'll get enough value out of dedicated background check software to warrant the cost. On the other hand, if you're one of these types of businesses, background check software is more than a worthwhile investment:
There isn't a ton of variance when it comes to the background check software itself. If it has the functionality you want, is intuitive to use and has great reviews from other users, you should be good to go.
The background check provider that will actually be performing the service requires more scrutiny. Here are some things to look out for when evaluating them:
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