The Onboarding Process – Steps and Checklist

The Onboarding Process – Steps and Checklist

Updated May 22, 2023

The importance of the onboarding process cannot be overstated. The steps your company takes will set the tone for the overall employment experience for each new hire. A positive onboarding experience can also lead to improved job performance, increased efficiency, and better satisfaction, which all play a role in engagement and retention. If you’ve been using an unstructured approach and want to improve it, this post is for you.

What is Employee Onboarding?

Employee onboarding is the process of assimilating the new hire into your organization. It includes transactional operations and person-to-person engagement. When building onboarding process steps, include the following:

  • Paperwork – gather tax forms, contact details, direct deposit, benefits, eligibility online, certifications and licensing such as CDL
  • Planning – create a plan that’s organized and deliberate with frequent check-ins
  • Introductions – connect new hire with team and broader workforce
  • Questions – make it easy to ask questions via virtual channels
  • Shadowing – video conferencing or other means for live but not necessarily in-person, on-the-job training
  • Team building – offer formal and informal ways to build rapport and common cause
  • Office equipment and software – procure and set up equipment
  • Meeting participation – set up Slack, Teams, calendars, video conferencing, etc.
  • Face-to-face – meet regularly but not necessarily in person

How Onboarding Can Make or Break the Employee Experience

The quality of onboarding influences everything that comes next! If your hiring process was effective, your new hire starts with high expectations. They are eager to dive in. Effective onboarding meets the expectations of an employee who had a great recruiting process. It continues to shape the employee experience.

Best practices for onboarding include creating a process that:

  • Is structured
  • Is personal and tailored to the new employee
  • Establishes brand loyalty
  • Helps the new hire be successful
  • Improves collective team morale

Unstructured employee onboarding can dampen employee engagement quickly. A too-short onboarding process can leave the new hire unprepared to perform their job.

The purpose of onboarding should be setting new hires up for success and decreasing the time it takes for them to become comfortable in their new roles. This only works if onboarding processes are designed strategically with the end goal in mind. But onboarding has become even more challenging with the rise of remote and hybrid work. 

Sinazo Sibisi, Gys Kappers, “Onboarding Can Make or Break a New Hire’s Experience,” Harvard Business Review, April 5, 2022

U.S. Employers Don’t Take Onboarding Seriously

The Aberdeen Group (a market research firm) reports sobering statistics about the state of onboarding:

  • 31 percent of new employees have quit a job after less than six months
  • 53 percent of employees said they could do their job better with improved training
  • Only 32 percent of employers have a formal onboarding program
  • 6 percent of self-labeled “disengaged” employees said they got poor training or no training at all
  • 5 percent of new employees said they didn’t understand what was expected of them until they had worked 90 days or more

In 2019, Gallup reported that only 12 percent of employees strongly agreed that their employer does a great job of onboarding. In the study, researchers identified five common onboarding problems:

  • No one takes ownership of the process
  • Onboarding is too short
  • Onboarding doesn’t reflect the company culture
  • New hires don’t see a future at the organization
  • The onboarding process is unremarkable

Employee Onboarding Begins Before the Hire

Well before you can onboard a new employee, you need to create a position listing that generates interest and encourages top talent to apply. Think about what a potential new hire would want when creating job descriptions and establishing parameters.

Consider Benefits and Pay Scale

Compensation and benefits are two of the top priorities among jobseekers. If your organization’s benefits are lackluster, you could lose out on talented individuals who seek employment elsewhere. Low pay is also a reason to walk away from a potential position or offer. Make sure your positions are competitive in terms of what employees receive and how those benefits compare to what they could get working elsewhere.

Review Interviewing and Hiring Practices

Consider how your company will conduct interviews with top candidates and handle other steps in the hiring process.

In-office vs. Virtual Interviews

Interviewing is a key step in the hiring process, as it allows those involved to get to know the potential employee and what they would bring to the role. Similarly, an interview offers the candidate the opportunity to understand the expectations, culture and work atmosphere. You may choose to conduct interviews in person, especially if you’re hiring for an in-person role. But if you’re seeking candidates from various locations or hiring for a remote position, a video interview can certainly suffice.

Offer and Acceptance Letters

When you find your ideal candidate, the final step is making an offer. It’s best to provide an offer letter that outlines pertinent details in writing, such as the position title, expected work schedule, compensation, and benefits. Your offer letter template should include next steps and a place for the individual to indicate their acceptance of the offer and include their signature.

Your Employee Onboarding Checklist

Proper onboarding doesn’t happen by accident. Like any HR workflow, you need a list of tasks and a way to make sure everything gets done. With the right steps in your process, you can ensure the onboarding process checks all the boxes.

Preparing for a New Employee’s First Day

After the offer is accepted, you can start the onboarding process to help your new hire feel prepared for their first day. A digital new hire portal is key for this step. A two-way system allows the manager and HR team to share documents, which the new hire can review, sign and return.

Carefully Plan the Schedule

Your next step in the onboarding process is creating a schedule for the new hire. This plan should outline who the new employee will meet with and how they will spend their time over the first few days on the job. Provide the schedule digitally and, if the new hire will work in person, print a copy and place it at their workspace.

What Equipment and Supplies will be Needed?

It’s also essential to plan ahead to ensure your new hire has what they need to succeed from day one. This step demonstrates the importance of every employee and their needs while allowing them to get up and running upon arrival.

Prepare the computer, mouse, monitor, workspace, and any other equipment and supplies they might need in advance of the first day. You should also prep any tech-related must haves, such as a mobile or desk phone, tablet, and access to shared devices and drives.

How Can You Go Above and Beyond on the First Day?

If you want to really make your new hire feel excited about their new role, go above and beyond to make the first day more meaningful. Produce a company-branded welcome kit that outlines key information about the organization and their team, along with details about benefits, protocols, and expectations. In-person employees may also feel extra special if you host a team lunch, where members of the department can get to know each other in a more laid-back setting.

What Communications Should Occur Between Acceptance and Start Date?

As soon as a new hire accepts an offer, communication can begin. Create a letter that welcomes them to the organization and directs them to a point of contact for questions or concerns. If your new hire does have questions, follow up with a phone call to make sure they got answers. You could even put together a video that welcomes the new hire to the team or collect encouraging, positive messages from their co-workers to share prior to their start date.

New Hire Orientation

The next phase of onboarding involves orienting the employee in their role and with the organization overall. Explore the steps involved in new hire orientation.

Welcoming a New Employee

Help your new hire feel welcome by having their workspace ready for their arrival. If you’re welcoming a remote hire, greet them with a video or phone call. Make sure their team knows when they’ll be arriving so they can say hello and help them feel excited about the new role. It may be worth assigning an onboarding buddy to serve as a companion, guide and go-to for questions during their first week.

It’s also helpful to keep your new hire informed about any in-person needs, such as where to park, any dress code requirements, and how to access the building. Establish their logins and credentials so they can get up and running right away.

Essential Paperwork and Documents

Of course, part of the onboarding process is taking care of business in the form of new-hire paperwork and documents. If possible, send these to the new hire in advance of the first day so they can complete them on their own time. Filling out a huge stack of hand-cramping forms can put a crimp in the flow of onboarding.

Some of the key documents to complete often include:

  • Tax forms
  • WOTC forms
  • ACA forms
  • Benefits enrollment
  • Direct deposit and payroll details
  • Emergency contact information
  • Safety instructions
  • Timekeeping instructions

Employee Handbook: Policies and Procedure Orientation

An employee handbook is a key element of any onboarding process, as it outlines the information covered and allows employees to reference it when needed. Take a few minutes to orient the employee to the handbook, focusing on where to find specific topics and details. You may choose to go through the entire document together, depending on time and how you want the meeting to flow.

Your company’s employee handbook should outline business objectives, expectations, and policies and procedures that apply to all team members. It can also include logistics of employment, such as pay periods and paydays, work hours and scheduling details, and any timekeeping requirements.

Team Orientation

Orienting a new hire to their team is just as important as orienting them to the organization, if not more so. After all, their team members will be the people they interact and collaborate with on a daily basis. Think about how you could help the new hire feel welcome in a positive and exciting way. You might schedule a team lunch or outing to help everyone feel comfortable and relaxed outside the office.

Orientation Checklist

Here’s a quick wrap-up of what to include in your orientation process:

  • Greet the employee (in person: in the office lobby or at the front door, remote: video or phone call)
  • Provide an office tour, pointing out key spaces: workspace, break room, restrooms
  • Review key documents (if you provided new hire paperwork in advance, you can collect the completed documents)
  • Review policies and procedures (employee handbook, benefits and enrollment options, safety regulations, rules around technology and equipment usage)
  • Answer questions (establish a key point of contact for questions)
  • Schedule a team get-together (lunch in or out of the office, outing outside of work)

Things to Consider

Starting a new job is overwhelming. Think about how you can make it less so for your new hire. For example, you might include 15-minute breaks throughout the day to allow them to decompress and go through what was covered during the previous training session.

Don’t forget to assign an onboarding buddy to your new employee. Having someone the new hire is familiar with and feels comfortable asking questions can make a big difference in the overall experience.

Ongoing Training and Checkpoints

After the first few weeks, your employee should start to feel more settled and established in their role. But the process doesn’t end after that happens. Explore some of the key tasks to tackle as the employee settles into their duties.

Have a Clear Plan for the First Few Months

One mistake that many hiring managers make is failing to create a plan or schedule beyond the first couple of days. It’s unlikely your new hire will know exactly what to do after meeting with team members and training for a week. Make sure to outline a clear plan for the employee’s first few months in their role. Taking this step will keep everyone on the team aligned while helping the new hire understand what they’ll be responsible for in the coming weeks.

Regular Training for New Role

Ongoing training and development are among the most-requested benefits, as many employees want to improve their skills and continue to move upward in their careers. Offering regular training can help satisfy this need in a way that also benefits the organization. A more skilled employee can take on new responsibilities and oversee other team members while remaining loyal to the organization. It’s a win-win, so think about how your company can offer additional training opportunities.

Team Integration and Collaboration

Depending on the culture of your organization, you may choose to spend extra time integrating the new hire into the team and encouraging collaboration. Businesses with more collaborative cultures tend to benefit from additional ways to integrate, such as spending time together outside of work and getting to know team members on a more personal level. Other factors to consider when deciding how to handle this are the personalities of members of the team, personal responsibilities that may take up their free time, and how different roles will work together.

Collect Feedback to Improve Processes

As you move through the steps in the onboarding process, make sure to request feedback all along. It’s impossible to improve a process if you’re not aware of what people like and dislike about it. If you feel you aren’t getting honest responses, consider creating a survey that allows people to respond anonymously.

Outline Potential Career Path for the Future

Another aspect of bringing a new hire onboard is looking at how they can move up in the future. For most members of the workforce, the option to progress is important. Outlining progression paths and opportunities can also boost employee retention, loyalty, and productivity.

Ongoing Onboarding Checklist

Stick to this checklist with each employee, even after the initial onboarding process is complete.

  • Schedule regular check-ins (set aside chunks of time regularly throughout the first 90 days to see how things are going and find out if they need anything)
  • Assign training for their job tasks (provide them what they need to succeed)
  • Identify paths for progression (employees who want to move up tend to be motivated by clear paths)
  • Request feedback (you can’t make improvements if you don’t know what works and what doesn’t)

Best Practices for Perfecting Your Onboarding Process

As you continue to refine your company’s onboarding process, you can incorporate these best practices.

Onboarding Process Should be Consistent and Documented

Regardless of role or department, every new hire at your organization should have a consistent experience when coming onboard. Make sure your managers and leaders have access to a checklist used across the company, and a clear understanding of the expectations when bringing on a new hire. Document each step in the process and maintain that documentation in the employee’s personnel file.

Regularly Collect Feedback for Improvements

As mentioned, you need feedback to understand where you can improve the process. Throughout every step of the onboarding process, make sure to ask new hires what they liked and disliked about the experience. You may find that certain steps aren’t as necessary, while others would benefit from expansion.

Utilize Onboarding Software for a More Efficient Experience

An all-in-one software solution can make a big difference in the overall onboarding process. Using this type of solution keeps everyone involved and provides a digital space to keep records. It’s even more efficient if your hiring software includes onboarding features, as the data will flow from the initial application to the onboarding process without the need for manual entry.

Good onboarding tech is invaluable. With onboarding software like ApplicantStack Onboard, you can import new hires from your ATS into your HR system once. The data flows from the initial application to the onboarding process without the need for manual entry. Within the Onboard module, you can build customized onboarding checklists for each job position or work location.

Elevate Your Employee Onboarding Process

Exceptional onboarding can be an important competitive advantage and the benefits will compound over time. If your company doesn’t have an applicant-tracking system in place, ApplicantStack can help your team streamline the onboarding process and provide a better experience for new hires.

Basic Onboarding Checklist

  • Before First Day
    • Send welcome email and new hire paperwork
      • Ask new employee if they have any questions and answer them with a phone call
    • Share company information
      • Company directory
      • New hire’s email address and login information instructions and login credentials for company software
      • Notice of upcoming company events
      • Employee handbook
    • Provide new hire paperwork–specify which documents need to be signed and returned along with the due dates for completion
      • Tax forms
      • WOTC forms
      • ACA forms
      • Benefits enrollment
      • Direct deposit and payroll details
      • Emergency contact information
      • Employee handbook review
      • Policies and procedures
      • Safety instructions
      • Timekeeping instructions
    • Set up all necessary equipment
      • Get the employee’s computer, mouse, monitor, etc., ready
      • Prep any tech-related must-haves (mobile or desk phone, tablet, access to shared devices and drives, etc.)
    • Job training
      • Send email with links to training documents or videos
      • Share schedule for the first week (or longer)
      • Outline projects and goals for first month (or longer)
    • Assign an onboarding buddy to be a companion and guide during the first week
    • Send email with parking and building access info, reminder of dress code (if applicable), and work schedule
    • Notify all staff of the new employee and the day they will start
    • Establish any necessary logins and credentials
    • Assign onboarding tasks to appropriate people and monitor progress with your onboarding checklist
    • Create schedule so each team member can meet with the new hire during the first week
    • Plan get-to-know-you activity with new hire and their team
  • On the First Day
    • Greet the employee
    • Provide an office tour
      • Point out key spaces: workspace, break room, restrooms, gym (if applicable)
    • Review key documents (if you provided new hire paperwork in advance, you can collect the completed documents)
      • Employee handbook
      • Benefits and enrollment options
      • Safety regulations
      • Rules around technology and equipment usage
    • Provide a welcome gift: company-branded water bottle, apparel, office supplies, etc.
    • Answer questions
  • After the First Day
    • Assign small projects to new hire to help build confidence
    • Schedule regular check-ins
      • Set aside chunks of time regularly throughout the first 90 days to see how things are going and find out if they need anything
    • Assign training for their job tasks
    • Request feedback
    • Maintain communication between HR, hiring manager and mentor to discuss new employee’s progress

Check out other posts in our How to Hire Employees series:

2023 Recruitment Trends: The Return of Former Employees

2023 Recruitment Trends: The Return of Former Employees

In this six-part series, we explore some of the talent acquisition trends to expect in 2023. As you explore these trends, consider how you can adjust your company’s recruiting and hiring practices to adapt.

The job market has shifted, resulting in a trend known as “boomerang employees.” This term refers to employees who changed jobs or even retired early, only to realize the grass may not be greener on the other side. A changing economy has caused retirement accounts to shrink for many, along with feelings of uncertainty about the future.

Boomerang employees are part of a rapidly growing trend in the workforce as hiring managers are faced with the decision of whether to rehire team members who left. But assuming the employee left on good terms, why not bring them back onboard?

The Benefits of Returning Employees

Losing a good team member is often frustrating for managers and recruiters. You lose the skillset and knowledge of a strong employee, which can leave the department scrambling to fill their shoes. But if that individual wants to come back, and there’s an open position that aligns with their expertise, it makes sense to welcome them with open arms.

Returning employees come with an understanding of the organization, including the expectations and culture. Even if they’re moving into a different role from the one they left, the learning curve isn’t generally as steep as it would be with a brand-new hire. Most rehired employees can transition between roles easily, thanks to their foundational understanding of the company as a whole.

How to Support Employees who Want to Return

A strong offboarding process goes hand-in-hand with the trend of boomerang employees. It’s a trend that no organization can afford to ignore. If your company has little to no offboarding processes in place, now is the time to invest in developing relationships with those who choose to leave.

When employees resign to pursue other opportunities, they typically have reasons for leaving the organization. Tapping into those former team members as resources can help your business improve its culture and give employees what they want. A positive exit interview process can uncover insights into the strengths and weaknesses of your organization. You can find out why people are leaving, and what might encourage them to come back.

Additionally, it’s worth considering technology that can track former workers and figure out who might have the experience and skills needed when a role opens up. With the right software, your business can manage data on applicants and hired employees. If a position becomes available that aligns with their skills, their information is readily available, which may simplify the process of filling that particular role.

Don’t miss out on a potentially stellar hire simply because they already worked for the company in the past. As more people boomerang back to companies where they felt comfortable, it’s worth considering how your organization could encourage former employees to return.

Check out the other posts in our 2023 Talent Acquisition Trends series:

3 Ways Hiring Software Saves Money for Your Small Business

3 Ways Hiring Software Saves Money for Your Small Business

Are you looking for ways to cut hiring costs? If you haven’t automated the hiring process with recruitment software, this is your low hanging fruit for meeting budget goals.

Let’s discuss how you can not only save money but improve your quality of hire in the process:

  1. Better candidate screening
  2. Shorter time to hire
  3. Lower administrative costs

Do the math for your organization with our Hiring & Recruiting ROI calculator.

How Does Hiring Software Work?

One type of recruiting platform is an applicant tracking system (ATS). It is a type of HR software that manages the hiring workflow from job board posting to onboarding. With recruitment software, a small team can manage multiple job openings simultaneously. Importantly, recruiting software shortens time to fill which minimizes costly lapses in productivity. With an applicant tracking system, you can:

  • Collect and manage hundreds of applications
  • Create templates and libraries for job descriptions, questionnaires, emails, interview scripts, and evaluation scorecards
  • Send potential candidates texts and emails and save a record of the conversations
  • Post to job boards, social media sites and your careers page within the software without having to log into each site
  • Order background and reference checks automatically
  • Allow job candidates to self-schedule interviews
  • Manage recruiting anytime, anywhere with cloud-based access and mobile tools
  • Simplify recruitment marketing with employer branding on all job ads, emails and other assets

Let’s discuss how to save money on hiring. We’ll start with candidate screening.

1. Hiring Software Saves Money With Better Screening

Evaluating candidates is one of the most time-consuming hiring tasks. However, a structured screening process is key to hiring success. Let’s discuss how software makes screening faster and more effective.

Screening can be divided into two stages – immediately upon receipt of the application and post-interview evaluation. Hiring software can automate 100% of application screening and up to 80% of post-interview screening. Applicant screening is a first-pass filtering of job applicants. Separating unqualified applicants quickly is key. With the process of elimination, you create a smaller pool of promising candidates.

Application Screening Questionnaires

Though you begin filtering as soon as you start receiving applications, you prepare earlier. Create your prescreening questionnaires before you post your job, once you have created your job description.

Once you post a job you are competing with other employers to find great candidates. Take the time up front so you don’t slow yourself down after the applications start flowing in. Another advantage to creating your filtering questions before posting the job is that you can make changes to your job description if necessary.

In your hiring software, create an application questionnaire based on the job description. Following that, determine the scoring system for the questionnaire and assign point values. In addition, identify elimination questions that will knock out the applicant. For example, if you are hiring a CPA, you may want to eliminate job seekers without the certification.

Resume Keywords

You can also use the applicant’s resume for first-pass filtering. You assign points based on resume keywords. For example, if you are looking for an accountant, you can add points to their score if their resume includes “CPA.” Consider how knock-out questions, weighted scoring, and resume parsing can separate qualified candidates from the applicant pool.

Once you have screened the questionnaires and resumes, your hiring system can sort your applicants by score. Contrast this process with reviewing applications and resumes by hand.

Interview Evaluations

The interview evaluation process is a critical time. At this point, you’ve invested many hours engaging and interviewing your finalists. But for many recruiting teams, it’s challenging to get useful feedback from all decision makers. No matter how many employees you engage in the hiring process, it’s important that you have a structured, thought-out process. This is where candidate scorecards are an invaluable recruiting tool. With your ATS or hiring platform, create interview evaluation scorecards. These are similar to the filtering questionnaires, except each member of the interview team fills them out.

Based on the job ad, use multiple choice, star ratings or scale questions in the evaluation form. This prevents vague “gut feelings” from introducing bias into your decision. When each member of the interview panel gives feedback, you improve the evaluation process. Each person’s perspective and expertise improves the scoring.

Finding a great hire requires a well thought-out structured interview evaluation process. Yet if the process takes too long, the best candidates have already taken positions with employers that have a faster process. The best recruiting software helps with both speed and effectiveness. First, it gives you the tools to screen strategically. Second, it automates where possible to compress the timeline. The result is a high quality hire poised for success.

2. Hiring Software Saves Money by Shortening Time to Hire

A long recruitment process increases the chance that you’ll make a bad hire. High quality candidates are being recruited by your competitors. They aren’t going to wait weeks or months for a job offer.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a bad hire can cost you up to 30% of the employee’s wages for the first year. Let’s do the math for both an entry-level and senior employee. ZipRecruiter tracks the average entry-level salary by state, with a range of $25,712 to $35,793. Let’s take the lower number: 30% of $25,712 is $7,713. A minimum wage employee – say a fast-food or retail worker – costs their employer enough to employ a great hire for four months. On the other end of the spectrum, the cost of a bad hire in a senior position can be astronomical. A bad hire in a $200,000/yr executive position would cost $60,000.

Recruiting software doesn’t just speed up filtering and interview scoring. It shortens every step in the hiring process.

Job Posting

As mentioned previously, hiring platforms with job posting software integrate with job boards like Indeed and LinkedIn as well as job marketplaces like JobTarget.

Interview Scheduling

The best recruitment software integrates with scheduling calendars. This allows interviewees to self-schedule their interview slot. This can shave days off time to fill because it eliminates back-and-forth texting, emailing or calling to pin down a time.

Background and Reference Checks

Background checks are essential for due diligence in the employment process. With the one-click integrations, hiring managers can order background checks from their recruitment software.

Candidate Communications

Keeping applicants informed of their status is critical, though time-consuming. If you’re doing high-volume hiring, however, it’s nearly impossible. An applicant tracking system automates this with templates and triggers. Stage change triggers automate candidate updates, for example. This is how it works:

  • Build your hiring workflow using hiring stages (applicant status): Application Received, Do Not Pursue, Schedule Interview, Interview Confirmed, Make Offer, Background Check, etc.
  • Create an email or text template for each stage in your applicant tracking software (these can vary by job title or other criteria)
  • Enter merge fields in the templates to personalize the message with the candidate’s name, address and the job title

Imagine the time you can save with automated recruitment texting. Ghosting candidates is a surefire way to lose them. With auto-communications, your top candidates will always know their status and be less likely to abandon the process.

3. Save Money on Hiring With Lower Administrative Costs

What are the labor costs associated with your recruiters and hiring managers? Let’s say you have five people who earn an average of $30 an hour. Now suppose it takes your team 20 hours to hire one employee from job opening to onboarding. That’s $600 in labor.

What if automation could shorten the time to five hours? This would reduce the labor cost to $150. Now we’re not encouraging you to let anyone go, but you could delay hiring a new recruiter as your company grows. Or you could lessen your dependence on an outside staffing agency. In addition, your talent acquisition team and hiring managers could spend more time on revenue-generating activities.

Improve Efficiency with Mobile

Modern recruiting software is cloud-based can be used with any connected device. Mobile recruiting software is another key efficiency booster. It allows your recruiting team to work from anywhere. In other words, your recruiters can work 100% remotely or have a hybrid work schedule. Giving your employees flexibility in where and when they work is a powerful retention tool. Higher retention saves money as well.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, we’ve made the case that hiring software is a savvy investment – especially when you are trying to cut operating costs. To try our award-winning small business recruiting software for free, visit ApplicantStack Free Trial.

Top image by Antoni Shkraba on Pexels

The Value of Background Screening in Hiring

The Value of Background Screening in Hiring

According to recent statistics, the average length of the hiring process takes around twenty-four days. In a market that favors job seekers, this time span is just too long for some companies. Many have resorted to cutting down on background screening in an attempt to make up for lost time. But more often than not, companies that skip this vital step risk the integrity of their organization and their hiring process.

You don’t have to cut corners to get the hiring results you want. Background screening can be a helpful tool in your hiring process and not a hindrance in attracting talent. With information from Verified First, check out these three ways background screening brings value to your organization.

1. Background Screening Authenticates a Candidate

Screening candidates looks different for all industries, but the heart of the matter remains the same. Background screening is performed to better ensure that the candidate you’re about to hire is the best person for the role. It works to authenticate a candidate by looking into a person’s background to verify their history. These screens can contain a multitude of solutions such as:

  • Federal records
  • Civil records
  • Employment verifications
  • Reference verifications
  • Drug tests
  • Identity checks
  • Driving records

Screening also helps you verify that everything a candidate has said to indicate they’d be a great new hire is accurate. 

2. Background Screening Protects Your Workplace

Information gleaned from background screening can speak to the potential risk of hiring that person. Choosing not to background screen your candidates could discredit the integrity of your business and put your existing employees, clients, and partnerships at risk. 

Certain screens are designed with workplace safety in mind. These screens in particular will check for candidates who have previous offenses that could put vulnerable populations – including the elderly, children, and more – at risk.

  • National Sex Offender Registry search – Searches if a person has been added as a sex offender to the National Sex Offender Registry.
  • Federal criminal records search – Uncovers if a person has been convicted of a federal crime such as firearms or drug trafficking. 
  • Global Homeland Security search – Identifies if a person has been added to any known terrorist lists.

Over 70 million American adults have a criminal record. Screening your candidates can help you navigate records and better protect the people already within your organization and community.

Partners keep you in mind in every step of the screening process. They work to take the best care of their clients from integration to implementation.


Background screening adds value to your hiring process by helping you identify which candidates are the best fit for your workplace. A solid screening strategy starts by finding a screening partner with your specific needs in mind. Check out how you can get started with background screening today through Verified First!

3 Things to Know About Employment Background Checks Right Now

3 Things to Know About Employment Background Checks Right Now

Background checks are an important part of an employer’s due diligence when evaluating job applicants. Thorough background investigations protect the business, the employees, and the customers. For some job roles, they protect public health and safety.

1. Delays Are Easing Up–So Don’t Stop Doing Background Checks!

However, some small business owners are considering whether to stop doing background checks because they have become more complicated and time-consuming in the past two years. Hurdles include pandemic-related court backlogs and a patchwork of regulations. In addition, many small businesses are limited by short-handed hiring teams. Fortunately, courts and other government agencies are working to get their records up-to-date. And while some new laws delay the process, some states (like California) are considering bills designed to make things easier.

Recruiters and hiring managers that don’t have the resources to perform them on their own should consider a professional service. It does make the hiring process more expensive, but the cost is far less than making a bad hire.

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that a bad hire costs the employer up to 30% of their first-year earnings. In a CareerBuilder survey, 3 in 4 small business respondents reported having hired the wrong employee for a position, with costs ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.

2. A Negative Background Check Experience Can Drive Candidates Away

Despite economic uncertainty, the talent market is still ultra-competitive. Job seekers have many options. The companies that win the war for talent have an attractive employer brand and a candidate experience to match.

Any bottleneck or inconvenience in the hiring process–including a lengthy or confusing background check process–increases the risk of the candidate withdrawing their application.

There are two main ways to prevent delays in the background check process. First, if the employer and candidate work together diligently to complete the required release forms and authorizations, the process can proceed more smoothly. Second, candidates can prevent delays by ensuring all submitted information is accurate and correct to the best of their knowledge. Indeed

According to LinkedIn, the average time to hire is 41 days. How does your company compare? Is your background screening stage a bottleneck in your process?

In a CareerBuilder survey, 38% of respondents reported losing a candidate because they had a negative experience with their background check; however, less than half of HR managers who conduct background checks (44%) have tested their background check experience themselves. When employers do test their process, they identify a less than ideal candidate experience, with around 1 in 6 (14%) rating their background check candidate experience as fair or poor.

3. There Are New Background Check Laws

Employers need to stay abreast of the employment laws in the locations where they have employees working–including remote employees. Multiple hiring laws impact background checks, including criminal records checks, drug tests, driving records, and credit reports. Let’s discuss some of them.

According to the National Employment Law Project research, 37 states, the District of Columbia, and numerous cities/counties have recently enacted or modified laws that affect employment screening in general and various types of background reports.

Cannabis Screening Laws

In 2022, Virginia, Connecticut and Philadelphia modified cannabis screening laws. Connecticut’s new employment regulations went into effect July 1, 2022. The law prevents employers from penalizing a job applicant who used marijuana prior to being hired. If an existing  employee tests positive for cannabis, the employer can’t take adverse action unless they had a written drug policy in place before the test. Note, however, that there are exceptions for drug background checks for positions that affect public health and safety.

As with Connecticut, the Virginia law also went into effect July 1, 2022. The Virginia law prohibits employers from taking adverse action against applicants for the legal use of cannabis oil. The law also requires current employees to obtain a written certification from a medical provider verifying that cannabis oil use is prescribed to treat a health condition.

Effective January 1, 2022, Philadelphia employers are prohibited from requiring job applicants to undergo pre-employment tests for cannabis use. Visit the City of Philadelphia website for more information on how this impacts background checks.

State and City Fair Hiring Laws

Some states and cities have passed laws that expand on federal regulations that affect background checks..

Effective August 2021, Louisiana restricts employers from considering an applicant’s arrest record or non-convictions in hiring decisions. If an employer believes criminal history could affect job performance, they can get an individual assessment from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to obtain permission to conduct a criminal background check.

As of October 2021, Maine prohibits recruiters from asking about criminal history on applications. The law also bans job applications from saying candidates with criminal histories should not apply or will be eliminated. However, federal or state laws require criminal background checks for certain employment.

Effective April 2022, an amendment to Philadelphia’s Fair Criminal Record Screening Standards (FCRSS) broadens the scope to cover both independent contractors and gig workers. Philadelphia’s FCRSS prohibits asking job applicants about their criminal history on applications and/or in interviews.

Changes to the New York City Fair Chance Act became effective July 29, 2022. The law requires employers to conduct all non-criminal background screenings prior to making a conditional offer. In contrast, companies can only conduct criminal employment background checks and driving history checks after making an offer.

Note also that California employers are subject to the California Fair Chance Act which went into effect in 2018.

Date of Birth (DOB) Laws

Both Michigan and California added restrictions regarding using an applicant’s date of birth and other information during background screens. Note, however, that California’s provisions have been challenged and are working their way through the courts. If you are based in California or have employees working in the state, stay apprised of the latest rules.

Michigan previously had a DOB redaction rule, but as of April 1, 2022, employers can use an applicant’s DOB with their permission to access criminal databases or for confirming identity.

Salary History Bans

While not directly applicable to employment background checks, be aware that at least 14 states have laws that prohibit employers from asking job candidates their salary history, and 20 states and Washington, D.C. offer protections for employees to discuss compensation.

Fair Credit Reporting Act

Though not a new law, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) applies when employers hire a third-party service agency to conduct employment consumer credit reports and other investigative reports. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces the FCRA.

When in the Recruiting Process Should I Do Background Checks?

The size of your company, the job role you’re hiring for and your industry influence the timing of both background screening and reference checks. If you field hundreds of applications, there are advantages to doing reference checks before the interview stage. It will help you narrow down the applicant pool earlier in the process.

For higher level positions, it’s customary in most industries to delay a background check until the final stages. This could be immediately prior to the formal job offer – and some companies don’t do a background check until they’ve extended a conditional offer.

Verified First Integrates With ApplicantStack for Streamlined Background Checks

Background checks are an essential step in the employment process–and automation saves time and money. With the one-click ApplicantStack-Verified First integration, ApplicantStack users can manage Verified First background checks from within the software. Learn more at Background Screening with ApplicantStack and Swipeclock.

Verified First is known for their speedy turnaround times and excellent service from a U.S.-based team of specialists. In fact, Verified First has a 96% client satisfaction rate!

2023 Recruitment Trends: The Return of Former Employees

If You Haven’t Updated Your Employer Value Proposition, You Haven’t Been Paying Attention

Have you updated your Employment Value Proposition (EVP)? If not, get it on your to-do list. It can help you attract and retain talent in a competitive labor market.

Don’t have an EVP? Today’s job seekers expect a prospective employer to showcase their employer brand front and center.

An Employer Value Proposition is also called an Employment Value or Employee Value Proposition. Your EVP should succinctly explain the value you provide to a potential candidate as well as your existing employees. This includes compensation, benefits, perks and, increasingly, your company’s commitment to causes your employees care about.

Why Is an EVP Important?

An Employee Value Proposition is a useful tool in any labor market. But it’s especially important now, because it’s never been more difficult to find top talent. Surprisingly, recession fears and rising inflation haven’t put a damper on hiring, at least in most industries.

Employer Value Proposition Example

You don’t have to be a large business to create and benefit from an EVP. Small businesses can (and should) articulate what they have to offer, specifically the benefits of working at a small company. Swipeclock, for example, is a 100-employee company. Here are some excerpts from our employment value proposition:

Our team casts a wide net across numerous locations, lifestyles and backgrounds. We celebrate the uniqueness and strength found in diversity and inclusivity. It’s our differences that make us interesting, and our shared belief in Swipeclock’s core values that bind us together. Resilient: We are a resilient group of individuals. We know the business environment can be unpredictable. Thriving means being able to pivot, respond to the unexpected and keep the focus on what’s important — our customers. Agile: Phenomenally agile are able to take a problem and work it into a success story. With our agile mindset, we seek to deliver solutions quickly and respond to customer inquiries with the same speed.

How Has Your Value Prop Changed?

As reflected in the title of this piece, it’s time to update your value proposition. Your company and employees have changed dramatically. If your workforce is thriving, you have been successful at supporting your employees and adapting to the new world of work and life. In other words, you have a strong EVP.

Have you revamped your benefits package by adding mental health coverage or childcare? It’s never been more important to strengthen your commitment to work live balance. Do you provide hybrid working and flexible schedules to make life easier for your current employees? What causes do you support? Your ideal candidate shares your values.

How about career development? This has become increasingly important to candidates and employees. A work environment where employees understand their career paths is critical if you want to improve retention and find the right talent.

If so, update your Employer Value Proposition so you can convey these things to prospective candidates. Furthermore, it will help you unify your workforce which will, in turn, reduce employee turnover.

This evolution in thinking has undoubtedly been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which put immense pressure on leaders to not just communicate their values but also to demonstrate them. In the face of difficult decisions, employers suddenly had to decide whether their professed ideals and “north stars” were real and substantive or mere lip service. They gained a heightened awareness of the importance of organizational purpose, team cohesion, and employee experience. Bryan Adams, Harvard Business Review

What if I’m Creating Our First EVP?

It’s important to realize that your company’s EVP merely expresses the value of working for your organization. In other words, you already have an identity and culture. To write your value prop you need to figure out what it is.

Begin by identifying what makes your company special. An anonymous employee survey can help. In addition, you can check Glassdoor and other workplace review sites to see what current and former employees say. Customer testimonials and feedback from your support team can shed light on how your company is perceived in its space.

How Can We Improve It?

Once you understand your current value proposition, you can make a plan to improve it if needed. This is called your employer brand strategy.

If you have high turnover, it’s not just your EVP that’s weak, Unfortunately, it’s the company culture upon which it’s based. If this is the case, it’s time to re-evaluate the employee experience you provide as an employer. Create an ideal Employer Value Proposition to guide you as you work toward it. 

If your employees are loyal, but don’t have clarity why, you have a communication problem. This is not the worst problem to have. It means you have a terrific culture and can create a strong Employee Value Proposition. As discussed previously, use focus groups to identify your company values.

Then, work to get your compelling Employment Value Proposition out to your team and potential candidates. Share it with employees in your HR portal. Have your talent acquisition team Include it in your job descriptions and discuss it in interviews. Talk about it in company-wide meetings.