Part One: Are You Getting What You Pay For From Your Background Screener?

Part One: Are You Getting What You Pay For From Your Background Screener?

By Tricia O'Connor

The principles behind EBI’s commitment to quality are no secret. We use five measurable pillars that can be tracked and supported by data to ensure we deliver a WOW Experience year after year to our clients:

  • Accuracy
  • Compliance
  • Security
  • Timeliness
  • Scalability

But how can you be sure your background screening company is providing the same commitment to quality as EBI? In other words, are you getting what you pay for? This week, we begin a two-part series to help you find out the answer.

capwell-headshotBob Capwell, Chief Knowledge Officer at EBI, developed a series of questions businesses should use as a guide to determine how well your screening agency is putting your dollars to work. Our first five questions help you identify your screening goals and learn more about the standards a screener has established in their business practice. Bob is a current member of the global Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA), and oversees EBI’s Quality Management Program including our ISO9001 Quality Management and ISO27001 Information Security Management standards certifications. With over 30 years of experience in the screening industry, Bob provides valuable insight to businesses of all sizes that are curious about background checks. 

1. What will make a screening program successful at my business?

Whether you’re already an established client of a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) or are reading this post because you’re considering implementing a screening program, you need to identify what aspects of a screening program are most important to you. Things like compliance, accuracy, account management, Applicant Tracking Software integration, and customer service are common priorities that EBI clients share with us.

Once you know what components are most important to you, you can ask a background check company to provide specific examples of how they define and deliver that service. You’re really looking to see if those examples align with your priorities. If you prefer U.S. based customer service, but they outsource their call center, you already know it’s not a great fit.

You should then ask how they monitor and measure those services. This is critical because it will give you insight into whether the company has a documented quality policy.

“If a background screening firm does not have or will not provide a copy of its quality policy, that should be a red flag. It proves the vendor does not have a formalized quality program with objectives and Key Performance Indicators. It’s the equivalent of saying, ‘Yes, we are concerned about quality, but there is no plan or program in place to prove legitimacy and third-party verification’,” says Bob.

2. Do you have a documented screening process and training program for your employees?

Having employees who are happy, fulfilled, and inspired to perform at peak capacity is any employer’s dream. Fostering a feeling of growth, security, and continual learning is key to engage employees this way. That’s why you should ask your background screener if they have documented policies, procedures, and instructions for each business process related to fulfilling a background check request.

What you’re doing with this question is twofold. One, you’re inquiring about training and quality control measures for employees. Two, you’re learning about the culture of the company. You want to be sure they care enough about their employees to not only provide direction and metrics, but also the support and teamwork needed to achieve these things.

At EBI, we use an internal learning facility called Happy University to train, assist, and provide continuing education and support for all our employees. Classes are available on work-specific tasks like helping a candidate better understand their drug testing results, but there are also soft-skill life-enrichment classes about increasing your emotional intelligence and practicing active listening. This all speaks to EBI’s commitment to treat the whole employee as a person, not just as someone who performs a task. Great companies value employees’ uniqueness and foster mutual respect. This creates a team ready for any challenge.

3. Can you prove how effective your background checks are?

This is a huge question because ‘effective’ can be a subjective term within many screening agencies. Does your CRA boast about its 90% accuracy rate? At first glance, that may seem powerful. However, when compared to EBI’s near 100% accuracy rate over the last six months, that seems paltry.

Background check companies should not be shy about showing how effective their background checks are. Knowing how a CRA monitors and measures its effectiveness – and seeing both past and present results – helps you understand how reliable the company has been, currently is, and aspires to be.

“One of the tools EBI uses to measure and monitor our quality and effectiveness is an annual audit. This audit is tied to our ISO 9001 quality standard certification. The ISO 9001 certification requires an audit conducted by internal and external auditors. They meet with EBI team members across all departments and examine the processes and procedures. This combined approach of reviewing internal and external feedback gives us a comprehensive, 360-degree view of EBI in action,” says EBI’s Bob Capwell.

These are the accuracy results from EBI’s latest audit:

  • 99.98% – Criminal Records
  • 99.73% – Verifications
  • 99.48% – Occupational Health Screenings

That is effectiveness we stand by. Can your CRA say the same?

4. Tell me about your customer service team. How are they trained? Where are they based? What is their availability?

A customer service team should exist for one reason – to make your job in talent acquisition easier. As an employer, you’ll want a CRA who provides excellent client-facing and candidate-facing customer service. Because background checks involve human resource professionals and vendors like on-site criminal record verifications specialists, you need a support team who is highly skilled in assisting the unique needs of clients and vendors. These support team members require specialized training to ensure they remain in compliance with evolving employment and screening laws.

Additionally, you need customer service agents who can swiftly, politely, and accurately help candidates navigate the pre-employment background check process. The screening process can be stressful for candidates. It’s critical to have a customer service team who cares about the person on the other end of the phone.

Other considerations you may weigh, according to Bob:

  • What are the support team’s hours?
  • Are they trained and based in-house or are they third-party or overseas contractors?
  • How can they be contacted? Phone? Email? Chat? Social media?
  • How quickly are inquiries responded to and resolved?

EBI’s Customer Care and Candidate Care teams are thoughtfully assembled and trained at our Owings Mills, Maryland headquarters. When you call our toll-free helpline at 1-800-324-7700, team members listen empathetically, are curious about your needs, and work diligently to fix your issue quickly. With the support of EBI’s U.S. based client care team, you consistently receive these remarkable results:

  • 98% of calls are answered within three rings
  • 97% of calls are handled by a live agent
  • 80% of client issues are FULLY resolved on the first call

5. Do you conform to any well-known quality certifications?

There are several quality certifications a screening company can achieve.

EBI is proud to hold all these certifications. If your screener claims to hold any of these certifications, feel free to ask for proof and how long they’ve been certified. You can also inquire if they have plans to apply for any further certifications.

Curious to Know More?

Dedication to quality cannot be underestimated. You deserve to know where your hard-earned dollars are being spent and if your CRA is performing to the highest standards. Next week, look for part two of our series where we will take a deep dive into quality standards.

In the meantime, get to know more about EBI’s commitment to quality – schedule a demo.

About the Author

Tricia O'Connor

Tricia O'Connor

Writer. Digital marketer. Storyteller. An award-winning writer and editor, Tricia O'Connor is the Marketing Content Manager at EBI. Tricia worked as a broadcast and print journalist for nearly two decades writing and producing programming for high-profile networks like ESPN Radio, History Channel, and Hallmark Channel, as well as contributing editorial work to publications nationwide. Tricia joined the EBI marketing team in 2019 and is responsible for content strategy, development, and engagement. Tricia earned a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and is a proud undergraduate alumna of Wheaton College in Massachusetts.

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