5 Ways Healthcare Organizations Can Reduce Background Check Turnaround Time

5 Ways Healthcare Organizations Can Reduce Background Check Turnaround Time
Senior Director of Marketing

While most healthcare employers conduct background checks on new hires, it can also be a component that can increase the time to fill for talent acquisition. While human resources departments have traditionally been viewed as cost centers, focusing on improving metrics such as time to fill that can demonstrate improved return on investment can change this perception. Since shorter background check turnaround times can contribute to improved results and cost reduction, we compiled this list of ways you can approach this critical component of the hiring process.

Here are five ways you can reduce the turnaround times of background checks.

1. Submit Orders Early in the Day

If you utilize a background screening provider like PreCheck, the time your organization submits background check orders can impact how long it can take to complete it. Employers, schools, and courthouses have their own business hours, so if you typically wait until later in the day before submitting orders, you could be extending the time it takes to receive a complete report back.

PreCheck recommends a general rule of thumb: the earlier in the day you can send in your request, the better. “We don’t publish a hard and fast cut-off time because we know that volumes and hiring practices can fluctuate, but we suggest sending in orders during the first half of your day,” Dana Sangerhausen, PreCheck’s Vice President of Operations, advises in a previous PreCheck article.

2. Ensure Candidate Information is Complete

When submitting a background check request, there are several factors that can influence the report’s turnaround time, according to Ryan Trevino, Product Manager for PreCheck’s background screening solutions. From a compliance perspective, employers must certify that they have secured an authorization and disclosure form for each background check order. This is a very important step in order to meet standards outlined by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Additionally, ensure that your candidates provide complete information when submitting their background check applications. A proper background check cannot be completed with missing information, which includes social security number, former addresses, other aliases, and the like. If you use an electronic form, making these fields required can help you avoid delays caused by missing or incomplete information.

3. Verify Staffing Agencies for Temporary Workers

Verifying the job history of a temporary worker can cause delays if the candidate does not provide the appropriate information. Since temporary and contract employees are not on the host employer’s payroll, employers must submit their request to the agency that employed the candidate. Otherwise, you could waste valuable time trying to contact the host employer.

To avoid delays in temporary work history verifications, ask your candidates to provide you with the name of any staffing agencies that paid them. “It is a good practice to provide additional fields on your employment application specifically for listing agency or contract employment,” Milton Robins, Employment Verifications Manager at PreCheck, suggests in his PreCheck article on employment verification best practices. Making a few changes to your process and improving communication with your candidates can reduce the total number of steps in the process.

4. Have a Policy for Managing Unverified Components

Although education and employment verifications rank lowest in priority for healthcare employers, they are the background check components with the highest likelihood to extend the time of the background check or to have inconclusive outcomes. Based on our experience with healthcare employers nationwide, PreCheck suggests having clear policies that state what components your facility must pursue or have verified in order to hire someone (i.e. a clear background check and hiring policy).

When establishing these policies, consider the following scenarios:

  • Determine whether you will move forward with any unverified education.
  • Determine whether you will move forward with any unverified education specifically defined by the job description.
  • Define which categories of education are acceptable/not acceptable. For example, if the job description requires an Associate’s Degree in Nursing, but that cannot be verified, will you also accept a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Nursing, that if verified can be accepted@f22

5. Move the Background Check Earlier in Your Process

When screening for certain positions such as physicians, for example, moving the background check to an earlier part of the process can save you time and optimize your onboarding procedures. “Run that background check earlier in the process,” Amy Niehaus, Senior Consultant at The Greeley Company, suggested during a 2017 National Association Medical Staff Services (NAMSS) conference session. “Find out sooner rather than later.”

When human resources and medical staff services communicate and work on aligning processes, healthcare employers can reduce duplicate activities and eliminate waste while developing leaner processes. With physician employment at an all-time high, aligning HR and credentialing processes can help organizations reduce time to fill and improve return on investment. Moving the background check component to an optimal part of the process can help achieve these improved benefits.

The background check is an important part of the hiring and vetting process for healthcare employers, but it doesn’t have to encompass a lengthy period of time. By getting complete information in employment verifications, establishing clear policies, and aligning processes across departments, healthcare employers can take steps to reduce the turnaround time for background checks.

PreCheck Pulse Report: Healthcare Employment Screening Trends Report