4 steps to keep candidates engaged during a background check

Written by
RMI Team (P)

Although background checks are a necessary part of the hiring process to help mitigate business risks, many employers may still be going about it in a way that ruffles feathers.  

The question is: how should background screening be done in a respectful way that engages candidates instead of putting them off? These four practices may help. 

1. Seek your candidate’s consent

During the hiring process, HR teams should always seek the candidate’s consent to conduct background checks. This is not only the polite thing to do, but also the legally correct thing to do. Getting a candidate’s written consent informs the candidate of their rights and allows them time to reconnect with their past employers to prepare them for your call. 

HR professionals carrying out background checks may find themselves reaching out to the candidate’s present employer, or any employer that the candidate prefers not to be contacted. This may be due to many reasons, but reaching out to the wrong employer could potentially leave the candidate disillusioned with your company’s HR processes and prompt them to withdraw their application. 

In addition, companies that do not seek the candidate’s consent to reach out to past employers for a background check may find themselves facing lawsuits, though this varies depending on where the company operates.  

2. Discuss your findings with the candidate

Background screenings may not always come back completely clear. If a candidate failed the background check but made a strong, positive impression and demonstrated that they would be a great fit in your team, it might be prudent to dig a little deeper into why they did not pass the background screening.  

On top of that, giving the candidate an opportunity to respond to the results of the background check allows them to clear the air. Having a frank discussion with the candidate also gives them the chance to be honest, and will help leave a good impression of your company even if ultimately they do not join your company. 

3. Prioritise candidate experience

One major pain point for candidates is the perceived lack of urgency. Depending on the parameters, the background screening process can take anywhere from a business day to several weeks. This may also vary depending on whether the company chooses to conduct the background check in-house, or uses professional services. 

To keep candidates engaged, it is important to communicate clearly why the background check is necessary, as well as the estimated time of completion. 

4. Ensure data privacy policy is adhered to

A comprehensive background screening may involve sensitive information, as well as contact details of previous employers and teammates. For HR professionals, instituting a robust data privacy policy while conducting background checks will help ease the candidate’s concerns about data breaches. 

Making it clear that your company values your candidate’s privacy, and that the information requested will be stored in a safe database and will only be used for the express purpose of background screening gives candidates a sense of control and security. 

Getting background checks right

HR teams have the unenviable task of conducting a comprehensive and accurate background check, while at the same time handling timely communications with candidates. To better optimise your background screening process and keep your candidates engaged and interested in developing their careers with your company, you may need professional advice or to outsource this important HR function. 

Contact us today to learn more about how our background screening and risk management solutions can improve your hiring process and help you get ahead in a tight labour market.