“Hiring the right people takes time, the right questions and a healthy dose of curiosity” says the English business magnate, investor, and author Sir Richard Branson.

Hiring new employees require a fair deal of time, manpower, and financial resources. To that end, enterprises have always been at the forefront of leveraging technologies to streamline their recruiting processes and hire the best candidate in the job market. Incidentally, as past performance is considered a strong indicator of future performance and can reveal an individual’s professionalism, productivity, job skills, and interpersonal communication abilities, background checks are an essential part of the employment screening processes. It helps in making an informed choice, along with identifying and avoiding hiring decisions that could potentially have a negative impact on the company, its employees, or customers.

Fostering third-party technological innovation to achieve cost-effective solutions to all employment background screening requirements is important to Oracle Screening. The Texas-based company provides quality employment background screening services compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Through their web-based ordering and delivery systems, Oracle Screening offers easy-to-use tools for managing background screening data. They also customize solutions tailored to the client company’s needs to help improve the hiring process.

In an interview with Manage HR magazine, Ben Criste, Founder of Oracle Screening, talks about employment background screening processes and the industry.

Can you provide us a brief overview of your company?

Since 1999, we have witnessed many changes and improvements to the screening industry and processes. However, the one constant requirement that all clients need regardless of the changing winds of the industry is support.

Our growth has mostly come from referrals from existing clients and networking. We now have an expansive client base, including those that conduct a few searches a year to others that run thousands of searches monthly. We provide screening services that include driving records, drug testing, education, employment, as well as criminal, civil, or federal searches.

The other changing market and client requirements are partly due to an increase in screening activity and the evolution of technology. Automated software like Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are gaining momentum and can be integrated with a background screening company. We have several integrations with different ATS for leveraging better efficacy that helps puts us in a place to meet the demands created by the digital curve.

Another big change thrust on to us due to the COVID-19 pandemic was the overall culture of the workplace, with employees working from home rather than the office, employers are unable to assess employees through daily interaction. Thus, organizations, more so now than ever, need to understand who they are hiring.

What are the market challenges, and how has the company addressed them?

One of the biggest challenges in the industry is the alarming rate of resume inflation which can include advanced degrees never earned or over-exaggerating expertise and previous job titles. For instance, somebody who is a sales associate is applying for the position of VP of sales even without the required experience. Companies need to know this, and that is where our education or employment verification comes into play.

A COVID-19 induced challenge that is deeply affecting clients is the turnaround time. While hiring, clients need background checks completed as quickly as possible to continue the onboarding process.
There are still counties across the country that are clerkassisted and not automated. The shortage of staff and six-foot social distancing protocols have slowed down processing in these counties, which further slows what was already a slower than average turnaround time.

There is an added challenge with more cities and states adopting new regulations, as clients need to be made aware of these compliance changes. Compliance is of utmost importance in background checks, and we keep that our top priority. We do our best to keep all of our clients updated with the latest information regarding their compliance protocols.

What differentiates us is the client experience we provide at every step of the journey

Finally, unreliable firms in the market are causing a challenge to many employers. We are a member of the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA), and through that, we have achieved the highest accredited designation making us one of only six accredited firms in Texas from the 126 nationally. As part of the accreditation set by PBSA, Oracle Screening complies with the best-in-class standards related to information security, legal, compliance, client education, research, data standards, and verifications. Strict adherence to those guidelines is one of the things we have done as a firm to differentiate ourselves from others.

Could you elaborate on the particular aspects of your offerings?

We believe in making the process easy. We have a very self-driven site, and once the process is started, we walk the client through the entire process.

Applicants receive instructions electronically in order to enter a secure portal where they will complete all information needed for the specific search or package that is pre-set by the client. During this process, the applicant receives and signs any statespecific authorizations needed to complete the background check. Instead of requiring an employee of our client to manually enter all of the data for the applicant, they are free to perform other duties.

Integrations with an Applicant Tracking System enable the client to electronically communicate with our system without leaving their ATS. Once the needed search is completed, the reports can be viewed directly in their ATS.

Finally, we have also adapted our services to meet the increasing demand for continuous monitoring, which involves ongoing screening of employees.

The reporting capabilities that you bring to the table are unique and helpful to your clients. Could you elaborate on that front?

It is important that every client view complete background reports, and we find having a flagging system that identifies potential issues requiring further research for our clients. For example, ‘Red flags’ mean there is information the organization should pay attention to, and ‘no flag’ implies no potential negative information. When reviewing reports, you can quickly identify potential negative or inaccurate information.

What are the key differentiating aspects that differentiate your organization from other key competitors in the marketplace?

We are an accredited firm. Many of our vendors are accredited as well. In addition, we test our vendors regularly with specific search protocols, guidelines, and turnaround time, helping ensure consistent, accurate, and timely results for our clients.

We are focused on providing the highest level of customer service. We acknowledge the fact that our competitors are also capable of providing the services we provide. What differentiates us is the client experience we provide at every step of the journey.

What does the future hold for your organization? Any footprint expansion plans or platform enhancement strategies that you can shed light upon?

International background screenings are becoming commonplace in our industry. We are constantly improving our offerings and processes to meet the demands of all our clients, including our international clientele.