5 ways to improve your employment screening experience

Finding the right employees for your business isn’t easy at the best of times but in the midst of a skills shortage, it’s even harder. According to a Manpower Group survey, over a third of Australian employers can’t fill open jobs.

“There’s a real cost associated with not being able to fill positions,” says Australia Post’s Senior Product Manager – Emerging Identity Services, Robert Petrovic.

“This cost can be financial or in some industries, like healthcare, it can have a significant social and community impact. For example, if hospitals can’t get nurses to fill critical positions then we all suffer.”

This is why Australia Post has developed Workforce Verification, a tool that helps fill positions faster by removing friction from the employment screening process whilst mitigating risks associated with hiring.

Vital screening processes part of the problem
“One of the biggest costs to a business is associated with hiring unsuitable people,” Petrovic says.

With more than half of business fraud perpetrated by people inside organisations, knowing who’s working for you is vital. Considering up to 30% of job applications contain false information, businesses and government need to conduct the necessary identity checks and verifications before hiring a candidate.

“Investing in a strong on-boarding and checking process reduces the risk of unsuitable hires and helps avoid the costs associated with re-hiring,” Petrovic adds.

Lengthy and complicated processes however have led to over half of Australian businesses losing qualified candidates. In fact, 39% of businesses told Australia Post that creating the right employee experience is one of their biggest recruitment challenges.

It’s not surprising, with 77% of employers taking longer than 20 days to hire and on-board a candidate according to Australia Post’s survey of attendees at a recent HR Summit in Melbourne.

This is exacerbated by high-friction employee screening and verification processes. Both organisations and candidates are frustrated by the confusing, time-consuming and vaguely transparent steps involved.

Enabling better employee screening experiences
Improving your employment screening processes can have a significant effect on your business by reducing the risk of fraud and maintaining a high level of identity assurance ¬– while also reducing the friction in a high-stakes process.

So how can you reduce both fraud and friction? Here are five things worth considering.

1. Move it online, but also offer choice
Different candidates have different needs and expectations. Using an online tool to streamline your employment process will make it easy and simple for many candidates. Nevertheless you need to offer an alternative as 30% of candidates still prefer to verify their identity in person.*

Australia Post’s Workforce Verification allows candidates to complete their screening online, or go to one of 3,500 participating Post Offices around the country for in-person support.

It also lets businesses automate communications and set up real-time alerts so that screening more efficient. By removing the need for physical documents and in-person verification, you offer more convenience for candidates.

2. Take care of compliance upfront
The roles that bring the most risk to your businesses aren’t necessarily the most senior or highest paid. Develop risk-based profiles and identify risks to assess for each role to help you identify high-risk roles from the start.

Obtain consent for employment screening and verification checks. Provide details of the types of personal information you will need and be upfront with your data storage policy. This will eliminate candidate dropouts and help you comply with privacy regulations.

3. Automate re-screening
“Conducting a regular employment screening of your workforce can help you mitigate potential workplace safety issues, compliance issues and protect your company’s brand and reputation,” Petrovic says.

As most background checks are point-in-time, you can set up automatic alerts for re-screening specific employees or as roles change. This takes the onus off your employees to maintain current checks, and helps improve process efficiency.

4. Provide visibility and transparency
Employees now expect background checks to be completed in hours, not days or weeks. Regular real-time updates will therefore reassure them.

Petrovic points out, “Without visibility in the process you are flying blind. Tracking candidates allows you to prepare any downstream activities and gives you broader visibility of the candidate’s start date.”

Equally, providing candidates with transparency over the process and outcomes helps with follow-up conversations and gives candidates the ability to dispute results.

5. Keep costs under control
When HR budgets and resources are stretched, there are several ways you can reduce the cost of screening:

• Outsource the administration to a third-party provider
• Automate manual processes using a trusted tech platform
• Only screen preferred candidates
• Plan for demand peaks.

Only engage third-party providers that inspire trust and confidence. If you’re using recruitment agencies make sure they are ACIC-compliant and they check contingent workers. Petrovic suggests partnering with an agency that reflects your business and demonstrates your values. “The agency should have strong processes in place to ensure you can be confident in the employee throughout their tenure.”

By improving your screening process, you’ll also improve your candidate and employee experience. And that can only be a positive outcome for hiring, retention and performance.

*Australia Post National Police Check Service data (FY19/2019)

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