A recent KPMG study revealed that there are over 1 million job openings in the UK; 70% of the employers surveyed said recruiting and retaining people ranges from difficult to very difficult. In this situation, you can’t let your background check procedure add to the difficulty of finding suitable candidates because, in theory, that’s the opposite of what these checks are meant to achieve.
Don’t give in to the temptation to skip them, though. Background checks can be used as a hiring tool to help you negotiate the current hiring maze if they are conducted properly. But “done right” is the essential phrase here, and not all checks meet those criteria.
Background checks during tough hiring times
The COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit have both decreased the volume of foreign employees available in the labor pool. This has caused severe shortages in a variety of sectors, including agriculture and retail. Additionally, the “Great Resignation,” which has seen millions of people quit their employment for a variety of reasons, has become a global phenomenon. Early on in the pandemic, “there were four unemployed people for every vacancy in the UK — now the ratio is one to one,” claims a labour market expert at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
The hiring market is extremely competitive due to a lack of applicants and an increase in openings. Employers don’t have the time or money to make mistakes in the hiring process, since anything that is regarded to be too onerous, time-consuming or intrusive to candidates would likely result in those individuals abandoning the hiring process.
Background checks: Necessary but tricky
To minimize potential mistakes, organizations could be tempted to not run background checks at all, but that isn’t practical. Employers are required to perform at least low-level background checks. For example, it is required by law to confirm a candidate’s eligibility to work in the UK; if you don’t comply, you risk a fine of up to £20,000 for each illegally hired employee. Nowadays, most people anticipate being screened, but the procedure doesn’t have to be arduous.
The objective is to design an efficient and successful background screening procedure. The first error that many businesses commit is selecting the wrong background checks. They must make sure the background checks they run on potential hires are relevant to the position which they are seeking. Candidates end up needing to exert more effort than necessary if checks aren’t customized for the position, which is confusing and irritating. Why should they have to submit to background screenings that have nothing to do with the position for which they are applying?
A vetting checklist for providers
It likely doesn’t make sense to choose a U.S.-based background check provider if you’re hiring only in the UK. And if you’re hiring internationally, you should pick a provider that can actually pull off the complexity of global checks rather than just asserting that as fact. A firm that fully comprehends and abides by various national regulations is what you need.
Many businesses fail to see that the candidate-facing side of a screening company’s platform is one of its most crucial components; it’s not just about your back end. Nowadays, 90% of applicants fill out applications on their smartphones and other mobile devices. That means you should choose a business with a great mobile user interface.
Also keep an eye out for a seamless candidate experience. When a candidate fills out a form and maybe five or six screens are going to be conducted, many companies split their checks. One person may perform education checks, another may perform credit checks, another does the reference checks, and so forth. You end up with several persons conducting checks, and none of them are communicating with one another. But there’s a better way. Some firms today offer a consolidated experience where the prospect communicates with just one person throughout the entire background screening process.
Improving the candidate experience
Background checks are typically viewed as an unpleasant, time-consuming and complex necessity. However, it’s a necessary part of doing business. Security cannot be skimped on or ignored, especially if you work in a highly regulated industry, but it also need not get in the way of your capacity to hire quickly and easily in a market that is increasingly competitive. A poor background check experience could make the talent shortage worse for your organization. But if done correctly, taking the aforementioned advice into account, you can make screening a highlight rather than a drawback of your employment process.