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Cut Costs of Background Screening but Not Quality

With 40% or more employment candidates falsifying their applications or resumes and the fact that 15% of applicants have a criminal record, you can't afford to underestimate the value of a comprehensive background screening. There is about a fifty-fifty chance that the temporary you place is a major liability that could put you in the headlines!

“Most people who want a temporary placement want a warm body now.”

“We can't afford to screen everyone, especially as they might only last one day.”

“It's the client's issue, not ours.”

These statements sound great, and in reality are often heard, but they are not true, and when the proverbial wheel comes off and the negligent hiring lawsuit is filed, they play into the hands of the plaintiff attorney.

Let's address these three statements...

It is true that often the client gives short notice of their need for a temporary staffer. Even if the client insists (a written release is good) and we place someone who has never been screened, the client should be informed that background screening is in process. In the event the subject has an unsuitable past, he/she should be removed immediately. This is not a path we advocate, as inquiries should be complete in forty-eight hours or less.

We've all heard the comment: “All they [the staffing agency] care about is profit.” That's true in part – businesses exist to make a profit. But we all have a requirement under OSHA to provide a safe workplace. If the cost of the background screening prevents a multi-million dollar lawsuit, it will seem very cheap, and that one placement may be the one.

Then we have the idea that this is an issue for the client alone – absolutely not. The courts have held time and time again that this is a joint area of responsibility and liability.

Only last December 2009, Pro Publica and the Los Angeles Times completed a study showing that temporary staffing agencies are a magnet for unfit nurses and healthcare workers. The chances are that this is true of all agencies – these people know that screening for temporary employment is not the norm when they work through agencies, and this is made worse by today's economy when even greater numbers of those with bad character are even more desperate to get work.

Today's economy has caused the best providers of background screening services to think about ways to cut cost without the risk of compromising quality. This has been achieved by “bundling” services.

For instance, a sound background inquiry consisting of an Address History (usually obtained from the SSN), Criminal Record Checks based on those addresses, and a National Sex Offender inquiry is affordable for all applicants to whom an offer is made if it is combined with services that bring cash credits.

One example of bundling programs to reduce costs is centered around the WOTC tax credits. They are often left on the table by agencies or employers unaware of their existence, or who consider them too difficult to deal with. The innovative background screening company is able to find out if the applicant will bring any credits to the job before the full screening is complete – at no cost to you and saving large sums of money.

Another example of having a provider help reduce costs is through employment verifications. In these tough economic times, banks and prospective employers are constantly verifying current and past employment. This takes time and time is money. Again, the innovative screening company has the answer. They will take those inquiries for you AND pay you for doing so, saving you time and money, and ensuring only accurate, relevant, and consistent information that you want released is provided.

Your background screening company should be more than a vendor. They should be a partner with you, protecting both you and your clients' interests, reacting to market changes, and proactively enhancing your reputation and profits. They should be readily available whenever you need help, whether you screen thousands or just a few.

If you are interested in such bundled services for your background screening, HR verifications (aka employment verifications), and other HR outsourcing needs, please call SingleSource Services toll-free at 800-713-3412.

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Jovanka Rodriquez
The Budd Group
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