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Four questions you should be asking screening providers

Find the best-fit provider for your company

Most companies perform due diligence on background screening firms before choosing a screening partner. Considering the complexity and cost of implementing and maintaining a high-performing background check program, it’s a no brainer. However, when researching screening providers, it’s important to look deeper—beyond product and service comparisons, or technology and automation features—to better understand if the provider aligns with your organizational culture, brand and priorities.

To help identify a “best-fit” provider for your organization, here are a few subtle, yet important areas to cover when evaluating screening vendors.

How is the screening provider perceived by others in your industry? Knowing if the vendor has a track record of providing the services you need to other leading companies will provide assurance that it’s capable and qualified to assist you too. Ask potential vendors if they are comfortable providing references from at least two existing clients—ideally from your own industry—so you can understand their experiences working with the provider. Your aim in conducting reference checks is to gain a feel for what it is like to work with the vendor, especially regarding dispute resolution, problem solving and responsiveness.

Does the provider have financial backing and stable leadership? Consider how long the vendor has served the background screening industry and the extent to which it is active in professional associations that help drive screening legislation. A strong financial backing supports innovation and an ability to adapt to change, whether that occurs in your company, your industry or through legislation. This is key to a vendor’s capacity to scale as your business grows and stay ahead of technological change in the industry. Also try to understand the pedigree of the provider’s leadership team and their history of delivering results.

How robust are the provider’s privacy and security policies? In today’s digital age, a single data security breach that compromises your candidates’ personal information is a potential reputational disaster and may impact your ability to attract top talent into the future. It’s imperative that a screening provider has sound privacy and security practices in place to protect the sensitive data in its possession and that it complies with privacy regulations, both locally and on a global basis. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Does the provider ensure all of its employees receive comprehensive privacy and data security training covering both global and local requirements?
  • From a data security perspective, is the provider regularly audited to ensure its practices meet international standards like ISO Standard 27001:2013?
  • Do the provider’s privacy policies cover local requirements and regulations in all regions where you operate?
  • Does the provider have a data retention policy that clearly articulates which personally identifiable data it retains, the purpose for which this data is collected and how long it is required to be retained?
  • How does the provider screen its own employees in sensitive positions?

Does the provider have an in-house legal and compliance team? Regular meetings with your screening provider will be important to analyze program performance and ensure it stays up to date with changes in legislation. Ask about the relationships your provider holds with inside and outside counsel, as well as the in-house legal and compliance professionals it employs to review regional and country laws and regulations. Inquire about how the provider stays up to date with changes in local and regional laws.

Take the time to better understand potential providers by asking qualitative questions about their organizational philosophy and you’ve taken the first step toward fully achieving the goals of your background screening program and building a long and successful relationship with your chosen provider. At First Advantage, we’re here to help. Contact us anytime with questions.

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