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How to develop a future-proofed candidate screening strategy

James Waby, Pre-Screening Consultant at Access Recruitment

2022 was dominated by changes to candidate screening. Frequent regulatory shifts forced recruiters to quickly change course to ensure compliance, at the same time as screening technology became more prevalent. The increased requirements associated with digital Right to Work checks have been viewed by many as an opportunity to drive a quicker onboarding process ensuring candidate engagement remains high.

More than 8 in 10 (83%)* of UK companies are currently losing candidates due to the time take to complete pre-employment screening checks. The changing world of screening is a market driver for companies to automate a range of processes, drive down the amount of time spent on candidate processing, and create a smoother and more enjoyable experience.

Leveraging technology to improve the candidate experience
Digitisation has been a key component of the screening process for several years now, but the introduction of Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT) has rapidly accelerated this. Prior to October 2022 and introduced as a measure when in person document checking became impossible due to Covid lockdowns, candidates could send their right to work documents via email to verify that they could legally work. As of this date, employers must now either meet candidates face-to-face, as they were previously required to do, or use IDVT to carry out checks on British and Irish citizens who hold a valid passport.

Businesses and recruitment agencies alike will face penalties if they don’t comply with the new process of using IDVT to carry out their digital checks. The technology, which is utilised across the identity process, removes human error when identifying fraudulent documents or inaccuracies. IDVT is thought to introduce higher levels of data security, greater protection against fraud, and more efficient candidate processing. For candidates, IDVT means that they can verify their documents from the comfort of their home and ultimately start their roles more quickly by reducing the time spent by employers in document processing.

Developing a future-proofed candidate screening strategy
There are several steps that recruiters can take to ensure they are developing a strategy for candidate screening that will stand the test of time, even amid changing Home Office guidelines.

Research: For companies looking to develop their candidate screening strategy, it’s important to research and understand exactly the checks required in order to build a more efficient onboarding practice. This means getting up to speed with all legislation and industry checks that need to be considered.

Responsibility: It’s also critical to determine whose responsibility it will be to carry out checks, and ensure the organisation is upholding its compliance strategy. Everyone in the organisation who is accountable for compliance should be made aware of new legislation and guidelines.

Technology review: Half (44%) of all companies are still operating a manual screening process, which has a negative effect on their speed to process candidates, their compliance and their candidate experience. There are a range of IDVT providers on the market, with different capabilities and costs.  To make the right choice companies should assess the level of assurances that are acceptable for their business, considering the risks they need to manage, and the volume of identity documents that are checked on a regular basis. Equally, they must ensure that the process is as seamless as possible, and that candidates do not have to go through disparate systems for approval which can result in a disjointed experience.

Reporting: When implementing a new strategy, audit trails are important for keeping historical data, future budget planning, as well as a baseline for review and analysis of performance.

Benefits of developing a strong candidate screening strategy

When developing a digitally-enabled candidate screening strategy, speed and accuracy can both be improved with onboarding times reduced by up to 50%. This is crucial to ensure candidate retention through the interview process in a skills-short climate as the process is often much smoother, reducing time-to-hire and decreasing the risk of counter job offers.

Additionally, when leveraging screening technology alerts for ongoing document updates keep both the employer and candidate compliant.

Ultimately, digitising the candidate screening process is about more than compliance, even if this is the essential catalyst. Organisations that leverage technology to improve their screening processes experience a wide range of benefits, including faster onboarding, better candidate retention, and reduced administrative burden. Following implementation, efficiency gains and improved productivity are sure to follow.

*According to data from Access Recruitment

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