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Comparing Background Check Software Vendors? Here’s What to Look For.
Mariah Barr
8 mins read

Not all background check software vendors are created equal. Not to mention, it’s a very crowded space. How’s an HR or hiring manager supposed to know whether the vendor they’re about to use is actually any good?

Don’t worry! We’ve got your back. Ask yourself the following questions as you research and compare different background check vendors and their software.

Does the background check software vendor have a good online reputation?

Visiting the vendor’s website will give you a sense of the vendor’s product, pricing, and so forth. But the vendor’s website is designed to talk up all the positives, none of the negatives. For a more objective assessment, look at reputable review sites, like Trustpilot.

When looking at review sites, keep the following in mind:

  • The occasional negative review is inevitable. In fact, consider it a red flag if a company doesn’t have any negative reviews. Of course, if all you see is mostly negative or mediocre reviews, move on.
  • When reading negative or mediocre reviews, pay attention to how the vendor responds. Are they polite and respectful? Or are they snarky? Do they adequately address the person’s issue?
  • Pay attention to the substance of the glowing reviews. If people are consistently saying, for example, that the vendor has great customer service, that’s a good sign.
  • Listen to what people are saying about the software itself. Excellent customer service is essential (more on this below), but you also need software that gets the job done. People should be talking about how easy the software is to use—and how it’s making their job easier.
  • Try to find any feedback people share about the applicants’ experiences with the vendor and their software. The software should also help make the background check process easier for your job candidates. (This is especially important in such a tight labor market.)

Does the background check software vendor offer top-notch customer service?

The best background check software vendors aren’t focused on transactions—they don’t simply take your company credit card, give you a login, and call it a day. Instead, they want to build relationships with their customers

They accomplish this by providing you with a dedicated account manager or, at the very least, a real phone number for a real human who is familiar enough with your business to assist and answer questions.

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When talking to different vendors, ask if you’ll have your own account manager. If they say yes, that’s a good sign that you’re dealing with a company that’s more interested in developing a long-term relationship rather than a short-term transaction. (And, again, looking at online reviews will also shed some light on the quality of the customer service.)

Does the background check software integrate with popular applicant tracking systems?

The goal is to make the HR manager’s job easier, not harder. Background check software that can easily integrate with popular applicant tracking systems (ATS) is another critical element to look for when comparing vendors.

Does the background check software vendor offer a complete suite of modern checks?

The criminal background check used to be the gold standard. But that’s changed in recent years for a variety of reasons (including “ban the box” laws). And besides, a criminal history check is just that—it’s looking backward rather than where the person is today . . . or where they will be tomorrow.

You want to consider background check vendors that offer a complete suite of modern-day screening options, like social media monitoring, criminal monitoring, and MVR monitoring (to name just a few). Being able to monitor employees on a go-forward basis ensures that your great new hire is still great three months or three years down the road.

(Side note: In addition to doing DOT-required background checks, Foley also offers a full suite of background check services . . . and you don’t need to be in the transportation industry to access them.)

Does the vendor remain current on laws/regulations that affect your industry?

When you’re comparing vendors, look on their websites to see how they talk about compliance issues relative to your industry. Another thing to check for is whether they have in-house counsel with experience in employment law.

Does the vendor offer customization?

Not every company needs the same background check package. Being able to easily customize screening packages can be a huge plus for many businesses, especially ones that operate in different states.

Is the background check software vendor accredited by the Professional Background Screening Association?

Accreditation by the Professional Background Screening Association shows that the vendor you’re considering has met specific standards. To receive accreditation, background check companies need to demonstrate competence and compliance through a rigorous audit and accreditation process.

Does the background check software vendor make the process easy for your applicants?

At the end of every background check is a nervous human being waiting to see if they passed.

How do applicants get help if they’re having an issue? Does the vendor provide assistance? Keep in mind that 1-800 numbers don’t count! We’re talking about a way for applicants to easily connect with someone on the vendor’s side if they run into an issue.

So how do you compare vendors on this? Look at their websites and pay close attention to vendors that talk about the candidate experience—because that should be important to them as well. You should also consult review sites to see what people are saying.

Bottom line: Do your homework and choose wisely

Remember, the best background check vendors don’t act like vendors at all—they act like partners. They get to know your company so that they can guide your efforts appropriately as your business grows and/or as certain laws and regulations change.

Basically, the best vendors will always have your back when it comes to recruiting and onboarding new hires and monitoring employees on a go-forward basis.

At Foley, we’re proud to offer background check services that do all of that—and more. Get in touch and let’s talk about your specific hiring challenges.

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