In today’s heated economy, hiring has become an almost life-or-death proposition, intended to future-proof companies by seeking out and snagging the smartest, most creative, best-suited candidates available. Background checks—scanning credit reports, studying employment histories, and sifting through criminal records—can improve the hiring process by providing specific, sometimes legally required, scrutiny and bringing critical decision points to bear.

A new partnership between HCM vendor Ultimate Software and First Advantage, which claims to be “the world’s largest background screening firm,” will make it easier for potential customers to use the HCM system and the background checking service together in an integrated manner.


First Advantage has joined Ultimate’s UltiPro developer network, where Ultimate makes available a toolset of application programming interfaces (APIs) that lets third parties create links to its UltiPro suite of human resource applications, delivered in the software-as-a-service model, which includes payroll, recruiting, onboarding, talent management, and time management.

Ultimate is a major player in HR technology, having scored in the “leader” category in Nucleus Research’s most recent “HCM Technology Value Matrix” market analysis. “But the last thing they want to do is create a background-checking system,” points out Raj Chopra, senior VP of global business development for First Advantage.

Instead, his company’s use of Ultimate’s toolset provides that additional functionality, and tight integration is the key. During the candidate process, the hiring manager employs the HCM suite’s recruiting module. “But when it comes time to put an offer out,” the application “enlists” First Advantage’s background research capabilities, Chopra explains.
That way the hiring group is “not re-inputting data they’ve already [entered] in the application,” he says, which makes the research process “totally seamless—it updates in real time.” Such tight integration lets organizations “get [candidates] on board and get them hired” as quickly as possible, he says.

First Advantage already has partnerships with SAP SuccessFactors and Workday. And it’s a process. “I’m always looking to [improve] our integrations with our partners,” Chopra notes.

The relationship with Ultimate involves First Advantage’s most recent iteration of its technology service, called Direct Advantage. It features mobile capability on both sides of the backgrounding equation, providing an easy and intuitive interface for candidates to enter their data on their smartphones, as well as the capability for executives to receive background reports on their smartphones—if allowed by their companies. “Some corporate policies don’t want this info sitting on CHROs’ phones,” says Chopra.

Indeed, First Advantage is scrupulous in handling personally identifiable information, Chopra maintains. For example, PII “never hits our partners servers,” he says. And such data is “very much protected in how we pass it through” to the client.

Scrupulousness may be another reason why top HR tech firms are partnering with third-party background services. Recent privacy rules, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and, in the U.S., “Ban the Box” legislation regarding criminal history, call out for expert interpretation. Says Chopra: “We have the compliance around all of that.”

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