Does it make sense to outsource background screening?

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In today's increasingly complex and competitive business environment, organizations are continuously seeking ways to streamline their operations and optimize their resources. One critical aspect of running a successful business is hiring the right talent. To ensure that candidates are a good fit for the organization, companies often conduct background screenings on potential employees. These background checks include verifying their education, employment history, criminal records, and other relevant information.

However, the process of conducting background checks can be time-consuming and costly, especially for small businesses with limited resources. This has led to the question of whether or not it makes sense to outsource employee background screening to third-party providers. To answer this question, we need to consider various factors, including the benefits and drawbacks of outsourcing, the types of background screening services available, the potential cost savings, and the overall impact on the hiring process. This comprehensive article aims to delve into the complexities of this decision and provide a balanced perspective to help organizations make an informed choice.

In recent years, outsourcing has become a popular trend in various industries. Companies outsource numerous tasks and services to external providers, including accounting, marketing, customer service, and human resources functions. Outsourcing enables organizations to focus on their core competencies while leveraging the expertise of external providers to enhance their business operations. Background screening, as a vital component of the hiring process, is no exception.

The decision to outsource employee background screening is not one to be taken lightly. It requires a thorough assessment of the organization's needs, resources, and objectives. There are several factors that companies should consider when evaluating the pros and cons of outsourcing background checks. These factors include the cost and time involved in conducting in-house background screenings, the level of expertise required to perform accurate and compliant checks, and the potential legal and regulatory risks associated with conducting background screenings.

In the following sections, we will explore the various aspects of outsourcing employee background screening in detail. We will begin by discussing the benefits of outsourcing, including cost savings, enhanced efficiency, and access to industry expertise. Next, we will examine the potential drawbacks of outsourcing background checks, such as data privacy concerns, lack of control over the screening process, and the possible impact on the candidate experience. We will then provide insights into the different types of background screening services available in the market and their respective advantages and disadvantages. Finally, we will offer guidance on how organizations can evaluate their unique needs and determine if outsourcing employee background screening makes sense for their business.

By thoroughly analyzing the various facets of this critical decision, this article aims to provide organizations with a comprehensive understanding of the potential benefits and challenges associated with outsourcing employee background screening. With this knowledge, businesses can make informed decisions that align with their objectives, resources, and risk tolerance, ultimately contributing to a more efficient and effective hiring process.

The Benefits of Outsourcing Employee Background Screening

Cost Savings: One of the primary reasons organizations consider outsourcing background checks is the potential for cost savings. Conducting background screenings in-house can be expensive, particularly for small businesses. The cost of hiring and training staff to perform background checks, maintaining a compliant background screening program, and investing in the necessary technology and databases can quickly add up. By outsourcing to a third-party provider, companies can benefit from economies of scale, as these providers often have the infrastructure and resources to conduct background checks at a lower cost per candidate.

Enhanced Efficiency: Another advantage of outsourcing employee background screening is the potential for increased efficiency in the hiring process. Professional background screening providers have access to a vast array of databases and resources, enabling them to complete background checks more quickly and accurately than in-house teams. This can significantly reduce the time it takes to screen candidates and make hiring decisions, helping organizations fill open positions more promptly.

Access to Industry Expertise: Background screening is a complex and ever-evolving field, with numerous legal and regulatory requirements that organizations must adhere to. By outsourcing to a specialized provider, companies can tap into the provider's expertise and stay current with industry best practices, regulatory changes, and emerging trends. This can help organizations maintain a compliant background screening program, mitigate potential legal risks, and enhance the overall quality of their background checks.

Types of Background Screening Services

There is a wide range of background screening services available in the market, each with its unique advantages and disadvantages. Some of the most common types of background checks include:

Criminal Record Checks: These criminal checks involve searching criminal databases to identify any criminal convictions or pending charges against a candidate. While criminal record checks are essential for certain positions, they can be time-consuming and may not provide a complete picture of a candidate's suitability for a role.

Employment and Education Verification: These checks involve verifying a candidate's employment history and educational credentials to ensure they possess the necessary qualifications and experience for a position. While these checks are critical for most roles, they can be resource-intensive and may require specialized expertise to conduct effectively.

Credit and Financial Checks: These checks involve assessing a candidate's financial history, including credit scores and bankruptcy records. While these checks can provide valuable insights into a candidate's financial responsibility, they may not be relevant for all positions and can raise privacy concerns for candidates.

Social Media and Online Presence Checks: These social media checks involve reviewing a candidate's online presence, including social media profiles, blog posts, and other publicly available information. While these checks can help organizations gain insights into a candidate's character and potential cultural fit, they can also raise ethical and privacy concerns.

Drug and Alcohol Testing: These checks involve testing candidates for the presence of drugs or alcohol in their system. While these checks can be crucial for safety-sensitive positions, they can also be intrusive and may not be necessary for all roles.

Reference Checks: These checks involve contacting a candidate's professional references to obtain feedback on their work performance, skills, and character. While reference checks can provide valuable insights into a candidate's abilities, they can also be time-consuming and may not always yield accurate information.

Evaluating Your Organization's Needs

When determining whether to outsource employee background screening, organizations should carefully assess their unique needs, resources, and objectives. Some factors to consider include:

Volume of Background Checks: The number of background checks an organization needs to conduct can significantly influence the decision to outsource. Companies with a high volume of background checks may find it more cost-effective and efficient to outsource the process, while organizations with a lower volume may prefer to keep the process in-house.

Compliance Requirements: Organizations operating in highly regulated industries or with stringent compliance requirements may benefit from outsourcing background checks to specialized providers with expertise in navigating complex legal and regulatory landscapes.

Internal Expertise: Companies with limited internal expertise in background screening may find it advantageous to outsource the process to a provider with the necessary knowledge and resources to conduct accurate, compliant background checks.

Time and Cost Constraints: Organizations facing tight hiring timelines or budget constraints may find that outsourcing background checks can help streamline the hiring process and save on costs associated with in-house screening.

Evaluating and Selecting a Background Screening Provider

Once an organization decides to outsource employee background screening, the next crucial step is to evaluate and select a reputable provider. This section will discuss the key factors to consider when choosing a background screening partner:

Industry Experience and Reputation: Look for providers with a proven track record in the industry and a solid reputation for delivering accurate, compliant background checks. Research the provider's experience working with organizations in your industry, as well as their overall client satisfaction levels.

Range of Services: Ensure that the provider offers a comprehensive range of background screening services that cater to your organization's specific needs. This may include criminal record checks, employment and education verification, credit and financial checks, social media and online presence checks, drug and alcohol testing, and reference checks.

Compliance and Legal Expertise: Choose a provider with a strong understanding of the legal and regulatory requirements associated with background screening in your industry and jurisdiction. The provider should demonstrate a commitment to compliance and have a robust compliance program in place.

Data Security and Privacy Measures: Assess the provider's data security and privacy measures to ensure that sensitive candidate information is protected. This may include encryption technologies, secure data storage and transfer practices, and adherence to relevant data protection regulations.

Customer Support and Responsiveness: Evaluate the provider's customer support and responsiveness to ensure that they can address any issues or concerns that arise during the screening process promptly and effectively.

Customization and Flexibility: Look for a provider that offers customizable background screening solutions tailored to your organization's unique needs, as well as the flexibility to adapt to changes in your hiring process or regulatory landscape.

Pricing and Cost Transparency: Assess the provider's pricing structure and cost transparency to ensure that their services align with your organization's budget and provide a clear understanding of the costs involved in outsourcing background checks.

Integrating Outsourced Background Screening into Your Hiring Process

Once a background screening provider has been selected, organizations must integrate the outsourced process into their overall hiring strategy. This section will discuss strategies for ensuring a smooth transition and optimizing the benefits of outsourcing:

Establish Clear Communication Channels: Develop open lines of communication with the provider to ensure that any issues or concerns that arise during the screening process are addressed promptly and effectively.

Set Performance Metrics and Reporting Requirements: Define clear performance metrics and reporting requirements with the provider to track the quality and efficiency of the background screening process, as well as to maintain oversight and control over the outsourced service.

Train Hiring Managers and HR Teams: Educate hiring managers and HR teams on the new background screening process, the provider's role, and their responsibilities in managing the relationship with the provider.

Review and Update Hiring Policies: Review and update your organization's hiring policies to incorporate the outsourced background screening process and ensure that they remain compliant with relevant legal and regulatory requirements.

Monitor and Evaluate Provider Performance: Regularly review the provider's performance against the established metrics and address any issues or areas for improvement.

By effectively integrating outsourced background screening into your organization's hiring process, you can fully leverage the benefits of outsourcing and contribute to a more efficient, effective, and compliant hiring strategy.


The decision to outsource employee background screening is a complex one, with numerous factors to consider, including cost savings, efficiency, access to industry expertise, data privacy concerns, control over the screening process, and potential impact on the candidate experience. By carefully evaluating their unique needs and objectives, organizations can determine whether outsourcing background checks makes sense for their business.

Ultimately, the choice to outsource employee background screening should align with an organization's overall hiring strategy and contribute to a more effective and efficient hiring process. By thoroughly assessing the pros and cons of outsourcing and carefully selecting a reputable provider, businesses can leverage the benefits of outsourcing while mitigating potential risks and challenges.

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What background check do I need?

This depends on the industry and type of role you are recruiting for. To determine whether you need reference checks, identity checks, bankruptcy checks, civil background checks, credit checks for employment or any of the other background checks we offer, chat to our team of dedicated account managers.

Why should employers check the background of potential employees?

Many industries have compliance-related employment check requirements. And even if your industry doesn’t, remember that your staff have access to assets and data that must be protected. When you employ a new staff member you need to be certain that they have the best interests of your business at heart. Carrying out comprehensive background checking helps mitigate risk and ensures a safer hiring decision.

How long do background checks take?

Again, this depends on the type of checks you need. Simple identity checks can be carried out in as little as a few hours but a worldwide criminal background check for instance might take several weeks. A simple pre-employment check package takes around a week. Our account managers are specialists and can provide detailed information into which checks you need and how long they will take.

Can you do a background check online?

All Veremark checks are carried out online and digitally. This eliminates the need to collect, store and manage paper documents and information making the process faster, more efficient and ensures complete safety of candidate data and documents.

What are the benefits of a background check?

In a competitive marketplace, making the right hiring decisions is key to the success of your company. Employment background checks enables you to understand more about your candidates before making crucial decisions which can have either beneficial or catastrophic effects on your business.

What does a background check show?

Background checks not only provide useful insights into a candidate’s work history, skills and education, but they can also offer richer detail into someone’s personality and character traits. This gives you a huge advantage when considering who to hire. Background checking also ensures that candidates are legally allowed to carry out certain roles, failed criminal and credit checks could prevent them from working with vulnerable people or in a financial function.

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Request a discovery session with one of our background screening experts today.

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