Top 5 Benefits of Using Online Release Forms for Employment Background Checks

Top 5 Benefits of Using Online Release Forms for Employment Background Checks
Product Manager

An authorization and disclosure form, also referred to as a “release form”, is a required document for any facility requesting to have a background check performed for employment purposes.  This applies to potential new hires, students, volunteers, internal transfers, or existing employees.  This is typically a hard copy form that the employee signs and submits to the employer before any investigations can be conducted in accordance with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. At PreCheck, for example, we’ve simplified this process by creating an online version of the release form that our clients can direct their employees to complete. 

If your organization hasn’t implemented an online release form in the employment background screening process, you could be missing an opportunity to make your hiring process more efficient. Here are five key benefits of using an online release form:

  1. Reduce Paper – Who doesn’t want to reduce paper these days?  With a web-based release form, there would be no more having to keep track of hard copy releases in crowded filing cabinets.  Online release forms can be stored indefinitely and securely behind user authentication in a secure website.  Just think of it as your electronic filing cabinet!
  2. Easy and Convenient to Use - The online release can be completed by an applicant anytime or anywhere as long as they have Internet access.  Whether at their home, in your office, or somewhere in between, applicants can complete the form where it is most convenient for them.  PreCheck’s online release form, for example, is easy to navigate and usually takes no more than 3 minutes to complete from beginning to end. It’s important to have a positive user experience, especially when it involves a potential employee for your facility.
  3. Capture an Actual Signature – Most release forms built into standard applicant tracking systems (ATS) or designed by facilities simply offer a checkbox to indicate an employee or applicant’s acknowledgement or text box for a typed name.  A proper online release form, however, offers a place where users can use the mouse to “sign” the document by drawing their signature.  This is a simulated wet signature that would normally be provided on a paper or hard copy release form.  More and more schools and employers require a signature prior to releasing information, so this form will cover you in those scenarios.
  4. Customizable and Dynamic – Unlike hard copy paper forms, an online release form can be customizable in a few areas.  Certain sections can be added or removed, depending on the type of position the candidate is holding or will hold at the facility.  At PreCheck, we recommend leaving all sections in place as we capture necessary information that many standard job applications do not.  This limits potential delays in our clients’ background check reports.  Additional questions or language can also be added based on specific needs.
  5. Mitigate Risk – This is probably the most important aspect of utilizing an online release form.  With ever-changing state and federal laws, the language continually needs to be updated. This can prove to be challenging when you have several hard copy release forms circulating.  By utilizing the online release, you are ensured that the most up-to-date and compliant version is presented to candidates.

It is highly recommended to switch from a paper to an online release form.  It makes for an all-around improvement in the background screening process from beginning to end.  

PreCheck Background Screening Resource Kit