Partnership seeks to streamline pre-employment process

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Mindful that technology is revolutionizing background checks and drug testing of new hires, two industry players recently teamed up to meet growing demand for quality screening of employees and contractors in a more seamless manner.

SmartRecruiters’ Fortune 500 clientele will be able to use Checkr’s services to automatically initiate pre-employment screenings alongside an offer letter. This eliminates a major roadblock for companies, reducing paperwork and minimizing errors found within the traditional background check process, and it’s expected to trickle down-market.

Sohee Lacey, head of revenue partnerships at Checkr, describes the arrangement as more than a standard business partnership, noting a shared commitment to product innovation, customizing customer workflows and improving the candidate experience. “We built our technologies to focus on driving efficiencies in recruiting and pre-employment processes,” she says of those synergies.

Checkr uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to deliver faster and more accurate background checks. The use of this technology stands out in a traditionally paper-based industry that includes gathering handwritten critical identifying information and consent forms that are highly prone to human error. Under legacy practices, Lacey explains that disorganized data often would be pulled from disparate sources. But automation is saving time and money.

“Anytime you have AI that is executed well, it's going to increase process improvement,” explains Carla Knoll, VP of alliances at SmartRecruiters, which offers a cloud-based talent acquisition suite. Checkr’s automation speeds the flow of pre-employment information that’s integrated with SmartRecruiter’s system. As a result, it facilitates action steps required under Fair Credit Reporting Act guidelines, reduces human error and makes for faster onboarding.

“When you can come to the table with best-of-breed providers that all understand the same strategy and end goal, it becomes the power of many,” she adds.

It also helps when corporate missions are aligned. Both Checkr and SmartRecruiters are headquartered in San Francisco and passionate about helping candidates who are often overlooked because of their education, atypical work experience or criminal record. “We believe that every candidate deserves a fair chance at getting a job,” Lacey explains.

An estimated one-third of all Americans have a criminal record with varying levels of severity, Lacey says. Therefore, she believes it’s vital that employers be less biased and give those candidates a second chance because “employment is the single biggest influence on reducing re-offenders and people with conviction histories.” Also, she notes that the U.S. economy loses about $87 billion annually because people with records can’t get jobs.

SmartRecruiters recently brought to San Francisco a community initiative road tested in Denmark and the Netherlands. As part of the innovative reverse-recruiting concept, hiring managers and recruiters offer underserved candidates 30-minute coaching sessions, role playing and resume tips to help land them jobs with nonprofits. While all workers are on edge given uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus, Knoll is sanguine that the economy will bounce back and be stronger than ever.

When viewed strategically within the context of human capital management, benefit brokers can play a key role in helping their employer clients automate pre-employment background checks and drug screening, according to Lacey. Because they’re viewed as trusted advisers, she says it’s important they “stay informed of the technology that surrounds the employee lifecycle and provide informed recommendations.”

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