Remember the Married With Children theme song? Performed by Frank Sinatra, ‘Love and Marriage’ became synonymous with TV’s Bundy clan (yes, the infamous hands-in-his-pants Al, wife Peggy and two devilish kids); never mind that the song actually won an Emmy in 1956.

Here’s the show’s beginning credits for a refresher:

The song as a whole is spot-on, but it’s the line ‘you can’t have one without the other’ that pertains to what we’re talking about today.

The Two P’s

Every business needs to have a clear, compliant and cost-effective employee/applicant background screening program. As RJ, our Director of Marketing and Communications wrote in this blog post, you need to define the information you need to collect and cultivate your program based on these types of background checks:

  • Identity and Credit checks can give you basic information you need; confirming identity, right-to-work status, and credit history
  • Driving Record searches can provide you any citation and violations in an applicant’s past, as well as more specific CDLIS information if you need to comply with FMCSA requirements.
  • Criminal Record Searches could obviously provide valuable insight into an applicant’s past.
  • References and credentialing can verify education, employment history, professional licenses, military service, etc. and match it against claims made on resumes.
  • Clinical Services can offer not only substance abuse testing, but various medical screens and health services.

Creating your program, however, would be next to impossible without a firm screening policy. What’s the difference, you ask?

A background screening program is the methods you use to collect someone’s information (such as using a third-party screening service like Active Screening).

A background screening policy provides a blanket set of instructions, guidance and rules that everyone in your company must abide by to instill consistency and efficiency into the hiring process.

Without a clearly defined and universally known policy, you could be wasting a lot of your budget. Here’s 4 steps you need to take to define your policy and keep it budget-friendly.

1.)  What’s your reach? You want to examine what your applicant screening process (if you have one) looks like in its current state. Undergo the steps as an applicant, then perform them as an HR rep. Do you find redundancies? Are there gaps? Does every applicant need to be screened for every position? Is it efficiently performed in house or would outsourcing be better?

2.)  Who should do it? One of the biggest choices you’ll need to make is to decide who will perform the background screening process. Is your HR department capable and staffed well enough to handle the workload? Or are they already overworked? Are they up to date on compliance trainings, Federal regulations and the evolving hiring law landscape? If they are an exceptional department, perhaps they can handle this massive responsibility. In more cases than not, though, HR departments are overworked and overwhelmed. Hiring an outside screening company to run the background checks can be more cost-effective and time-efficient than further burdening your HR folks.

3.)  Keep an eye on legal. You need to ensure you’re still within the boundaries of the law with any changes you make to your screening policy. It can be enticing to cut corners to save money, but if this breaks with compliance, then your legal bills will far outweigh any chump change you saved. Laws exist from local municipalities all the way to the federal government so you need to research them well.

4.)  Write it down. This step is key. Every single employee needs to know the policy, even if they’re not directly involved in hiring. But you don’t need to spend kajillions of dollars on printing out binders for everyone. Digitizing your policy on an intranet will make it easily accessible and easier to edit when changes occur. Plus, you can create a quiz at the end to ensure your employees actually read it.

 We understand this is a lot to chew. The staff at Active Screening can help. We’ve created an applicant screening guide that gives you the knowledge and tools necessary to optimize your screening policy and improve the overall quality of your workplace. Check it out and let us know if you have any more questions about your screening policy or your program. We’d love to partner with you.

In the meantime, we’re gonna go practice ‘Love and Marriage’ for next week’s office karaoke contest.

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