Asking the Right Background Check RFP Questions

September 9, 2019 Marlee Laviola


Adding a new service or technology to your business operations is exciting, and at times, an extensive process. When communicating with various potential service providers, it is important to ask the right questions to make sure your new provider is a mutually good fit. For HR professionals, this is an opportunity to address company needs and for the background screening provider to illustrate why they are the best fit.

One of the most effective ways to gather this information is through the RFP, or request for proposal. This blog outlines the most common and important types of questions to ask and what to look for when reviewing the RFP from your potential background screening service provider.

Before starting the RFP process

Before you begin your search for a new background screening provider, it’s important to note the issues your business faces with your current screening process. Doing so allows the provider to propose how their solutions stand out from the rest and how they can resolve your current business issues. For example, do you have specific requirements or non-negotiable items? Present this information at the beginning of your search to save you time on selecting the right provider.

Next, what are the goals of your background screening solution? Do you hope to speed up your time-to-hire? Are you rapidly growing and need a company that can keep up with your volume? Are you expanding globally and need a provider that can support your global volume while fulfilling best practices per country? Pre-RFP preparation is key in helping you select the appropriate vendor promptly.

Deciphering key differentiators from various screening providers may be challenging. Seeking an HR consultant who is familiar with the industry can help you make an informed decision when selecting your new screening partner. Veteran screening and risk management professional, Jason Morris of Morris Group Consulting explains, “Getting a list of providers to send an RFP to is the easy part but asking the right questions, determining your needs and finding the right fit is where the art comes into play.  Seeking outside industry experts will help ensure you make the right decisions.  The goal is to find a firm to help protect your assets, employees, and customers, and the wrong choice could have a huge impact on your business.”

Types of topics to ask about during the RFP process and why

1. Compliance

Providers and hiring companies need to abide by compliance-related requirements and regulations that govern pre-employment screening. Asking your potential background screening provider how they plan to assist you in staying informed of changing laws and best practices is an essential part of the selection process. Consider all your hiring locations and whether a provider can cater to special jurisdictions and nuances across the U.S. – and possibly the globe.

2. Customer Service 

Potential providers should be able to speak in-depth about timeliness and responsiveness – especially in today’s tight labor market where time and a candidate’s hiring experience is important. Inquiring about your potential provider’s support model, hours of availability, and methods of reaching them will help remedy future conflicts. Onshore vs. offshore customer service is another important factor in how your provider delivers support to you and your candidates. Asking about the support dedicated to both you and your team as well as the candidate will help paint a picture of how quickly you can get issues resolved. The background screening process is one of the first impressions your candidate has of your company and ensuring that process runs as smoothly as possible will help foster a good impression from the start.

3. Candidate Experience 

A candidate’s experience is a significant factor when it comes to onboarding new hires. The steps that your potential service provider takes to ensure a seamless experience for your candidates can be an important differentiator from other service providers. Is the process mobile-optimized and easy-to-navigate? Are instructions clear for the candidate once the background check is triggered? Asking detailed questions about the process your candidates will experience will quickly paint a picture of how they will feel during the background check phase of the hiring process.  Knowing ahead of time what your candidates can expect can also help you translate the process to your future new hires.

4. The Methodology Behind Background Checks

While background screening service providers have access to the same public records, not all service providers have the same methods for accessing this information or delivering the right or appropriate information back to clients. Asking about the operations behind the check allows you to dig a little deeper and discover differentiators. Asking about the quality control behind the checks, how identity is verified, and how many searches are audited can help differentiate the competition. Evaluating the process that goes into each candidate’s check will help you understand the quality of data when making hiring decisions, not to mention providing insight into potential risks.

5. Integrations

Lastly, it is important to consider the legwork necessary to get up and running with your background screening provider. If you currently have an Applicant Tracking System in place, is the potential background check provider experienced in integrating with your ATS-of-choice? Ask questions to understand the process of integrating, such as how long it will take and how much involvement will be required of your team.

Whether you are hiring a background screening provider for the first time or looking to switch providers, understanding your business needs and communicating them effectively and efficiently to potential providers will help throughout the process.

*The information provided above is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to be legal advice, either expressed or implied. Accurate Background recommends that you consult with your legal counsel regarding all employment regulations. 


Previous Article
Integrating Background Checks With Your ATS: Steps to Prepare
Integrating Background Checks With Your ATS: Steps to Prepare

Recruiters can retrieve candidate information, place orders to their background check company, and access t...

Next Article
Move Over Millennials, Here Come the Centennials
Move Over Millennials, Here Come the Centennials

It will be key for recruiters to adapt to the centennial lifestyle in order to identify job seekers and pro...