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5 Ways to Reduce the Cost of Background Checks

Posted by Ryan Howard on Fri, Oct 02, 2015


With negligent hiring claims on the rise, more organizations are considering background checks for both current and potential employees. Background checks should be a logical step during the hiring process, especially those who will be in contact with the elderly or children, but the cost may be considered a hindrance. It doesn't have to be.

Keep your company safe with these tips to reduce the cost of background checks.

1)  Establish Job-Related Background Checks

Hiring the head of security for your organization should look differently than hiring a call center representative. Just as you would give more security clearance to certain employees than others, so should the background checks be different. Hiring a driver? You would pull a driving record. Hiring an accountant? You might consider looking at credit history. Creating a screening process based on job level will determine how many screens you'll need to run for each job type.

See also: Quick Guide to Conducting Job-Related Background Checks

2) Utilize an Applicant Entry Platform

If your applicant is filling out paper work, you may be spending more than you thought. An online applicant entry platform saves time and the potential for errors on data entry. The applicant enters the appropriate data, instead of writing it down with the expectation that the hiring or human resources manager will be able to read the applicant's handwriting later. At VeriFirst, we offer a free applicant portal for both applicant entry and consent to a background check.

See also: FREE Applicant Entry and Consent Platform

3) Try a Waterfall Screening Approach

Sometimes during the hiring process, when you know, you know. Then there are other times that you may want to take the applicant through a series of tests and screens to see if they are the perfect fit. If you have flexibility with turnaround times, consider a waterfall screening approach. As an example, conduct a first round of criminal background checks on your candidate. If those pass, continue to add additional screens as necessary (ie: Drug Test, Employment Verification, etc). Ultimately, this approach saves money since every background check isn't applicable to every candidate. 

4) Ask for Criminal Database Coverage (and Access Fees)

Your background check provider should have a national criminal database and sex offender coverage document (or map). Ask your provider to make recommendations based on your office location(s) and the location of your Applicant(s). Understanding the jurisdictions covered in your database search will help you decide when/where to add County criminal court and/or Statewide criminal repository searches. 

Knowing the possible court fees ("Access Fees") ahead of time will help you manage your budget and decide between adding county courts searches (1 by 1) or selecting a more comprehensive (all-county) Statewide search. Access fees and turnaround times will vary by jurisdiction.

5) Leverage Bundled Services and Volume-Based Pricing

When selecting a background check provider, look for a screening partner that can bundle services for your organization. Having one provider that is capable of processing Criminal records, Credit reports, MVR searches, Verifications of Employment and Education, Drug Testing, Form I-9 Verifications, and Adverse Action Notifications can significantly lower HR costs and reduce the cost of background checks. 

Above all,  conduct FCRA compliant background checks.

Costs aside, employee screening in your organization can save thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars. Consider the costs of turnover if you've hired an employee who isn't a good fit. Negligent hiring claims can escalate - costing not only money, but the good name of your organization. Is it really worth the risk to hire someone and ignore the potential of decreased employee morale or a tarnished reputation?


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Topics: Employment Background Screening, Cost of a Background Check