Articles & Blog

Shawn Rucks

Shawn Rucks

When Checkr soft launched their free background check to applicants branded, Better Future, a few weeks ago, they took a huge shot across the bow to change the foundations of our industry in a big way.

CRAs need to take notice because the implications are broad and deep on so many levels. With its arrival to the industry just a few years ago, Checkr has done an amazing job at disrupting the business of background checks from technology, to process, to integrations and even customer acquisition.

deverus had been thinking about pre credentialing employees for a long time. We envisioned a not too distant future, (hint we are already working on this) where employees preverfied themselves prior to applying for jobs and then having the results updated daily through databases and a validation code in their apple wallet or app. They would present those credentials to HR upon applying for a job or even having it on their digital resume. HR would verify the credentials, and the process would move along smoothly and quickly. We believed the applicant would pay for such a service if it sped up the process while giving them more control and transparency around the information provided and the process in general.

But we got it wrong. When Checkr began offering free background checks they changed the game. They are going to get the process in the hands of as many applicants as possible and tie it to job openings and get referral fees for anyone who applies. They will ultimately also get revenue by making it easy and cost effective for HR to verify those results and move the applicant through the process using their background check services.

Why should CRA’s care? It’s simple. If they get mass appeal, which given their funding, buzz, and marketing expertise, they will, then eventually the plan will be to make the process so simple for HR to verify those results using Checkr background check platform. When this happens, you can see a mass exit of clients to Checkr because they just made the process much better for applicants, faster, easier and ultimately more cost effective for HR.

And remember, Checkr is backed by more than $100M in venture financing from Silicon Valley where market disruption is the rule, not the exception. The background check industry is about to change in a big way, are you ready for it?

I just returned from the HR Tech conference in Vegas last week. It was amazing. I spent 3 days wandering through the exhibit hall filled with huge players like Oracle, Microsoft, Google, IBM, ADP, and industry standards including Cornerstone, Indeed, SAP, and Monster. All the ATS were there. And like always there were a ton of startups hawking new innovations in payroll, benefits, job boards, AI, candidate selection machine learning, and more more. This was by far the biggest and most exiting HR Tech I’ve attended.

What was the common theme with all these exhibitors? Mobile. It was literally everywhere. Almost every vendor was showcasing their services on a mobile device. The message: “The future is mobile, get ready for it.” I was blown away with how far the user experience has come. There was so many cool ways mobile was being used to automate just about every process. I saw huge demos being conducted in every other booth filled with potential clients getting a look at all these new and exciting services delivered through a mobile experience and they were eating it up.

Why is this. It’s simple. We are in the tightest job market where everyone is fighting for talent, and younger job seekers are on their phones all day. They use text and they don’t use email. If you want their attention, you have to text them and then provide an experience that makes it easy and effortless to apply for a job. The statistics are overwhelming. HR technology companies get this. From Oracle, Microsoft, to ADP and Cornerstone, to the smallest players providing niche services, they are capitalizing on mobile big time.

And then there were all the background check companies. The main 7 were there as well as a sprinkling of smaller ones and even three startups.

But what struck me was not one CRA, except the startups were showcasing their technology, much less mobile. In fact, nothing in their marketing messages spoke to anything other than what they’ve been saying for 15 years. Speed, Accuracy, Compliance, Services, Support, Global, same old, same old… The funny thing is while all these HR facing companies where showcasing their technology on mobile, the largest background check companies were using gimmicks to attract attendees. I saw everything from a magician, airbnb vacation giveaways to carnival games. It was actually kinda bizarre. Why were they not showing their frontend technology and mobile if they had it. It was after all, a TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE!

I came up with three possible reasons.

(1) HR Tech is not the main HR show. It’s SHRM and it is true they were all scaled down booths realizing that there’s more tech people than HR prospects. No reason to spend much money and resources for showcasing your technology and platform. I get that.

(2) They don’t really have compelling mobile solutions or technology that looks presentable when compared to all the amazing solutions that are all around them, so better to stick with what you know, basically what 900 other CRAs are saying.

(3) The background check industry, including the largest CRAs are so out of touch with the future, they can’t even contemplate how the background check could actual evolve and embrace this future and really improve the user experience in all its now current and future manifestations. Instead they focus on compliance, turnaround time, coverage, great customer support, and accuracy. The result is everyone is saying the same thing and proving that we are a commodity.

And here is the important part. By everyone saying the same thing, with no real differentiators, all focused on the same value propositions, it means we are a commodity. To all the HR tech providers we are just a checkbox, a pain in the ass, a backend process that needs to be minimized as much as possible so their customers can have a great employee life cycle experience with their company. It’s funny, because almost every background check company I talked to complains about the ATS invasion. They are taking over, pushing us to the background, raising referral fees, switching customers, making us a commodity. I say, hell yes, because we’ve let it happen. We’ve done little to stay out in front, to give HR something to keep us at the front of the experience. What do you expect?

So what do you do? Here is what I’ve been saying and believe it now more than ever after HR Tech Vegas. You have to provide a mobile solution for the applicant to fill in information and check status and results. And it can’t just be a crappy reduced website. It must make it easy for the applicant. It must have text. It must be easy to use. It must be slick and brand-able for HR. It must represent a great experience that shows off the company's ability to move a candidate smoothly through the process. When you do this, you stay in front of your customer. You offer a differentiator and a little bit of glue to keep them from moving to competitor when an ATS gets a better revenue share deal.

I have to say, with the trends I’m seeing, I’m actually pessimistic about our industry. I’ve been in it for 20 years and our reluctance to embrace new technology, our focus on the same differentiators, and inability to really innovate, has left us relegated to a backend process where we are really almost all the same. What will happen is a continual move towards more commoditization, more pricing pressure, more industry consolidation. A few companies will come out on top and will continue to survive providing the same services but they’ll make it because they were able to win on price and eat up competitors and own the market.

My only response is we need to provide some innovative technology that keeps us relevant, that keeps us in front of HR, that really provides value to the customer. I believe that mobile is a step, it’s a right direction, but only a start. We need to continue innovating with AI, machine learning, make the background check so pervasive they don’t even know it’s happening while become faster and even more accurate.

Thursday, 30 August 2018 19:59

CRAs What’s Your Mobile Strategy?

More than a year ago, we introduced the idea of a mobile solution for applicants to background check companies with little or no interest. Most said that customers were not interest and the current way of getting applicants into the process worked fine.

We begged to differ because of the research we had done on how much time applicants spend on their phones searching for jobs, completing applications, and just generally occupied on mobile media most of the day. We believed that we could create an easy to use mobile solution, we could improve the applicant experience, speed up application processing time and provide transparency through the process. This seemed like a win/win for everyone.

We are happy to report that our bet paid off. For the past couple of quarters deverus’ Swifthire Mobile has been live and taking the market by storm. We have been overwhelmed by the number of brand named businesses adopting Swifthire Mobile. They say it is “a must have tool” to initiate the background check process given today’s mobile workforce. In the past few months the number of applicants has grown more than 220% week by week. Clients are winning business and can’t get HR on fast enough. It’s success is beyond what we had imagined.

So the question for CRAs is, if it’s indisputable that the market is going towards mobile, if you do not have a mobile solution to take advantage of this trend that’s here to stay, what is your strategy?

We are seeing more and more CRAs coming to deverus behind the curve, about to lose a customer, missing an RFP, or generally wondering how they can catch up when the market is moving past them.

We’ve been working hard helping these companies use Swifthire Mobile to quickly adopt a mobile strategy that helps them compete in the marketplace. We’ve created an onboarding model that let’s CRAs get Swifthire Mobile in their client’s hands in days, instead of months.

Join our webinar on Friday the 14th 2018 to see how Swifthire Mobile is shaking up the industry and how you can get on board!

Join us on our Webinar on Friday September 14th at 11.00AM to 11:30 CST

In the employment screening and background check world, innovation is one of the most powerful drivers of growth. As the labor landscape changes and companies look to hire the best, the cutting edge of technology offers significant competitive advantages for early adopters. Growing your customer base through innovation isn’t always a straight-line process like marketing, but it’s a valuable investment to attract customers over time.

In a recent study by deverus, researchers discovered a significant impact of innovative new platforms on growth. Background check companies using the deverus platform outperformed the industry growth average by 100%. Firms on the cutting-edge platform saw year-over-year growth of 20% in their operations. Software improvements and cloud technology translate to faster and more reliable results for your customers, and those “wins” translate to faster and more sustainable growth.

One of the challenges for innovators in any industry is aiming at a target. Without a deep understanding of your customers’ (and their customers’) needs, it’s impossible to hit the mark with your research and development efforts. Most of the world’s executives, business owners, and managers are too far removed from customer-facing roles to keep a good handle on their needs. Effective communication between customers, front-line staff, developers, managers, and leaders can be time-consuming and cumbersome. It’s not something you can afford to ignore, however. The best companies in the world are the ones that listen to their customers and help them innovative with useful technology and improvements.

Innovation isn’t a goal – it’s a continuous commitment to being better. It’s not enough to create slick, new software packages or a killer application. If you aren’t in touch with the needs of your customers, it’s all for nothing. Business success is the goal of any for-profit organization, and it’s key to push for innovation where it benefits the end-user. No one will care if you solve a problem that they don’t have.

One of the most powerful forces in the background check industry is “smartsourcing” or outsourcing key business processes to reduce costs AND push for innovation across business units and strategic partners. It’s no longer enough to move parts of your operation to low-cost providers. The best companies in the industry look for opportunities to innovate and improve, inside and out of their direct management control.

At deverus, we drive innovation to improve our customer’s ability to perform. We help our clients improve their results through better technology, better platform integration, and powerful back-end cloud computing. With faster performance and more reliable tools, our clients rely on us to remove any bottlenecks in their recruiting and HR management processes. With a cloud-based platform, we offer 99% uptime and fast turnaround to deliver the best possible background check solutions, all at a lower cost than our competitors.

One of the major challenges for an innovator is the interoperability of our platform with our clients’ software and IT systems. Any smart innovation will account for the limitations of existing platforms, so we work hard to develop our new technology with legacy support. Driving innovation in-house and beyond the walls of deverus is an important goal for our team, and our customers rely on us to help them grow through investments in their own IT infrastructure and training. We are all in this together, and the future is bright for background check companies that adopt innovation into their daily practice. At deverus, we are here to help you along that journey.

Mobile-focused development has eclipsed the desktop and is delivering a big impact on many aspects of business communications and corporate design. From website to platform UX, the mobile experience is becoming the most important tool for managers and business owners. The background check industry is no exception – mobile is here to stay.

Candidates, HR professionals, and hiring managers can all benefit from the proliferation of mobile devices. Smartphones and tablets bring a host of changes to the digital world, and it’s imperative that you tailor your offering and platforms to meet the needs of both desktop and mobile users. Mobile still has some limitations, but the advantages are profound. Smaller screens with different dimensions demand a different approach – you need to offer concise and clean layouts to make your platform or site usable on different devices. Touchscreen applications open up a new world of possibilities to your users. Push notifications can make the difference between applicant engagement and applicant apathy.

With mobile-first design considerations, your productivity and effectiveness can increase dramatically. Over half of all job applicants are using mobile sites and apps to search for their next opportunities. Without mobile design considerations, you can risk losing applicants’ interest. Failure to deliver a positive mobile UX for your users quickly translates to higher compliance costs and poor completion rates. User input is the lifeblood of the modern recruitment process, and it’s up to you to deliver an effective and easy-to-use platform for your stakeholders.

Background check providers and HR technology companies need to embrace the new world of mobile computing. As the devices become faster, more powerful, and more ubiquitous, the gap between mobile-first and mobile-last will continue to grow. Don’t get left behind! Make sure your platform looks and feels great on any device. Thorough research and user testing are a must in this new mobile world we live in. Candidate background screening is now a mobile-based process for the vast majority of your potential users.

Mobile applications create new opportunities to attract and engage your audience. Background check and other HR-solution providers need to make the move to faster, lighter, and more effective software to retain their market share and continue to grow their revenue. It’s not something anyone can avoid, but it’s especially important for companies looking to hire the best and brightest.

Saturday, 31 March 2018 02:24

CRAs You Are a Technology Company

Let us start with a statement you might not agree with at the moment, CRA’s and background check companies are technology companies. This statement may shock you, and for some of you might be up in arms, but by the end of this article, you might just see our point. Here are the five reasons that we can consider CRA’s and background check companies technology companies.

The need to go mobile

We here at deverus have been at the forefront of this change, but for many in the industry, the demands of the consumer have adjusted the once online business into a mobile one. CRA’s need to be able to quickly and easily transition their content to mobile, while still maintaining the more powerful online option as well. This is not an easy task, and leaders in the industry have been able to master the joint mobile and traditional online spheres have flourished.

User Experience is essential

A generic website is no longer enough in our business, instead companies that have advanced plugins and easily navigable sites are prospering. With both the online and mobile side of the operation, the user experience is key, and without it, your company will be lost in the sands of time.

Speed and Accuracy are kings

Background check companies live and breath on their ability to be accurate and speedy on checks. This comes down to a company’s ability to host their data and relay important information with accurate results. This can only happen with a company that is looking forward with technology, and utilizing the right sources and filters to ensure that the information the end user is not only quick but without faults.

Security is one of our strengths

As CRA’s are often charged to look up and store personal files, the security of these files is of the utmost importance. Thus, top-level CRA's not only employed top of the line security methods but will work with clients to ensure encryption standards are kept up. Online security is a tough business, but CRA’s depend on their client's trust in the CRA’s backend and front-end security to keep clients files safe.

Transparent and Fair System

For today’s CRA’s the ability to conduct a transparent and fair background check is easier than ever. By removing unneeded human interaction, and allowing for complex algorithms to search instead of humans, biases are simply removed. The result of this is a better candidate for our clients, and no matter, if they are looking for a visible minority candidate, female candidates or someone who will just be perfect for the job, a top of the line CRA, will be able to deliver them with transparent and fair ethical standards.

So, let’s review, CRA’s need to be able to go mobile, have an emphasis on the user experience, make sure their responses are quick and accurate, ensure that security is tough and produce transparent and fair candidates. Take out CRA, and you should be able to place any technology-driven HR company or even just a technology company in general. Thus, simply put, CRA’s and background check companies are truly at the heart, a technology company.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018 00:00

Why You Need an Integration Strategy

CRAs rely heavily on technology and cross-platform integrations to provide maximum usability and cross-functionality for both internal employees and external clients. It’s crucial to integrate new applications and resources into your existing platforms and services, but it’s often difficult to manage any transitions or additions without proper planning. Setting up an integration plan is a good first step – ideally before you jump head-first into any large scale changes.

Agility is an important tool to stay relevant as a CRA or background check provider. The market moves quickly, and the clients’ demands are higher with every passing year.

Without the proper ATS integrations or cross-platform functions, your CRA services won’t stack up to the competitions’. Planning for the future is often difficult when you must rely on forecasting changes to technology, but it’s an important process. A proper integration plan will make life easier as your business evolves and adds new services to support your corporate goals. Whether it’s driven by clients, competitors, or internal forces, innovation in the CRA market is a constant threat to your success.

Cloud computing, mobile applications, web services, database management – it’s hard to predict the future of background checks and CRA business models. What will the future look like? While it’s impossible to predict exactly what changes will happen in the industry, it’s important to prepare as much as possible. Integration is a driving force in the background check space, as clients demand better functionality and premier services from their CRAs and other recruitment services. Those companies that plan for integration now will be better able to meet the needs of their clients in the future.

Integration can mean many different things, but the basic idea is a merger of applications, services, and platforms into one central resource or database. As managers and recruiters rely on IT infrastructure to match opportunities to applicants, there is a growing role for CRAs to integrate into existing (and yet-to-be-built) enterprise software packages. Making life easier for the clients, their applicants, and the wider corporate community is a noble goal for CRA firms. Integration will play an important role in the growth the CRA industry, and it’s time to plan for that future now.

An integration plan is a simple step that you can take today – start thinking about the future. What can you expect from your current hardware and software resources? Are you ready to meet the challenge of a demanding marketplace with the best IT infrastructure in place?

Integration inside and outside your organization will help you build the right tools and processes to ensure the best hiring and onboarding outcomes for everyone involved.

Thursday, 08 March 2018 00:00

What is your Mobile Strategy?

What is your mobile strategy? It is a simple question, but for many in the background check industry, it is a complex thing to answer. From fully engaged brands, to those who have yet to innovate their company to include mobile options, the answers in this industry are truly diverse. However, when it comes to mobile strategy, it can be a little tough to even get started Luckily for you, we have brought together five tips to help you build your mobile strategy to ensure long-term success of your brand and company within the background check industry.

1. Mobile is becoming dominant

How are you reading this list right now, is it on your phone? The truth of the matter is that 60% of you will respond yes to this. That is a staggering number, and for those in the background check industry, it is something that we have underutilised. Our customers are more mobile than they have ever been before, and with a background check solution that offers mobile solutions, you will be well on your way to finding some new customers.

2. Be Responsive

The mobile phone has changed the world, and we are not just talking about connectivity. Today’s clients want responses quickly, and mobile strategies should be built to coordinate communication between you and your customer in a meaningful way. Whether this is a communication plan based on quick e-mails, or simply an easy to use app, a responsible mobile strategy will simply turn leads into conversions.

3. Consider the customer first

The easiest part of building a mobile strategy is looking at on paper, the real test is when it is released to the public. A meaningful mobile strategy will consider the customer first, and how they will interact with your brand daily. A good place to start is to define the problem your mobile strategy will solve, once you find this answer, you will be able to build a mobile strategy with a purpose and a direction for your brand to rally behind.

4. Review your data

As an online company, the data you can access is what will empower your mobile strategy. You have access to cutting-edge analytics, and trends that will help guide your strategy, and with tools such as Google Analytics you will be able to craft a message and a direction for your brand. This kind of empowered mobile strategy will ensure that your customers are not only engaged but will yield greater interaction with your site, which will lead to increased revenue for you in the long run.

5. Compatibility is key

Although we seem to only think of cell phones, a true mobile strategy will ensure your site, or app is compatible with both cell phones and tablets. This will ensure that customers do not face issues if they are trying to access your site, nor will they have dreaded connection problems. The last thing that you want is for your entire strategy to be derailed by a simple iOS update. To avoid this, build in upgrades to your strategy, and ensure compliance with Android, Windows and of course Apple at least quarterly.

Mobile strategies are not a simple endeavor, but when done right, a business can truly flourish. These five tips are just a starting point, and for those in the background check business, it might be time to look at what your mobile strategy is, and see if it is about time that you updated it.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018 15:57

Why CRAs Need to be on AWS

CRAs are a key piece of the hiring process for many companies. Losing time to hardware outages or system crashes is unacceptable. People are waiting to get hired, and recruiting managers need constant support from their CRA to ensure the right person find the right job. Background checks are a crucial part of the hiring process, and no one can afford to wait for slow results or lost time due to poor IT infrastructure. AWS can improve the responsiveness and reliability of any CRA’s service offering.

Amazon is one of the largest web companies in the world, and it takes a lot of IT infrastructure to keep the lights on at the world’s biggest store. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a cloud computing provider run by Amazon to earn an income from the tech giant’s idling resource pool. Sharing its computing power, storage, and other IT resources allows Amazon to serve some of the largest companies in the world. Amazon, Reddit, GE, and Unilever rely on AWS to provide immense technological resources including storage, processing power, networking, analytics, and a host of other IT services.

What does this all have to do with consumer reporting agents? AWS is an attractive resource for businesses that need on-demand services and reliable uptime to fulfill their obligations without breaking the bank. Overspending on hardware is a luxury few businesses can afford, but excess capacity is crucial during certain peaks, seasons, or events. Preserving precious resources without losing functionality is an important goal to stay competitive as a CRA.

Amazon is an experienced and innovative cloud computing provider, and AWS is the market leader when it comes to web services for corporations. Aside from scalable resources, Amazon also provides analytics, design help, security, and flexibility for IT directors and executives. Moving your CRA’s tech functions only is a smart move that ensures maximum security, continuity, and performance when you need it most. A scalable web service means you have what you need to get the job done without wasting precious resources on overbuilt IT infrastructure. On-demand web services from AWS are a great way to stretch your IT spending without losing capabilities or uptime.

Each client is different, and it’s important to match the needs of the job with the profitability expected from the investors or owners. Using IT infrastructure efficiently is an important piece of the puzzle. AWS can help CRAs manage their tech resources to limit expensive overhead without losing IT capabilities when they are needed. AWS offers a wide range of corporate services for CRAs including storage, processing power, database management, mobile application support, detailed analytics, developer tools, and many more.

As you add new services to your suite of CRA solutions, it’s important to set up the IT backbone to support your goals and meet the needs of your clients. With AWS, you can scale up and downsize your requirements as they evolve, minute-by-minute. Most of the service packages from Amazon’s web services division are set up to be “pay by usage.” It’s easy to match your revenues and expenses to ensure your profitability on each job, no matter what the requirements may be. Amazon offers a wide range of cloud computing solutions for CRA businesses – complete with admin support, security, risk management, analytics, and many other services.

Thursday, 01 February 2018 00:00

How to Win with ATS Partnerships

Applicant tracking systems are the cornerstone of the modern recruiting process. A centralized and standardized hiring platform offers benefits to human resource and executive personnel who own the hiring decision. Most large CRAs have teams focused on created relationships with almost every ATS. If you want to survive in the next few years, you must have a successful strategy for creating lasting partnerships with applicant tracking systems.

Winning with ATS partnerships is a simple process. It’s all about building the right ecosystem to improve your hiring process. Finding the right candidates and onboarding them effectively is a key function of the human resource and executive teams. ATS systems with third-party integrations are a crucial piece of the hiring puzzle today. Each individual partner or integration can unlock new potential with a high degree of industry and situational specificity. Certain platforms and ATS integrations work better for some industries and different types of professionals. Each partnership offers different capabilities and strengths, allowing hiring managers to fine-tune the search, hire, and onboard processes.

Whether it’s simply billing contractors or end-to-end hiring solutions, ATS partnerships can greatly improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the hiring process. Many of the top software and HR technology firms offer ATS integrations, so it’s important to stay on top of the latest news for your platform. Small firms and Fortune 500 companies can benefit from the possibilities and new capabilities available from the leading ATS partnerships.

From hiring to interviewing to vetting to onboarding, there are ATS partnerships available for every company in every industry. To get the most out of a recruiting unit, there are workflow tools and ATS integrations to increase productivity. There are automated recruitment management tools to help with job boards postings, email hiring, and background checks. The sky's the limit when it comes to ATS partnerships. From the back office to the front line, ATS partnerships make it easy to win the battle for the best candidates. Partner integrations and cross-functional ATS platforms help recruiters and candidates connect in the modern labor market. In a complex world, it takes an integrated approach to drive the best results for the recruiting channel. ATS partnerships make it easy to succeed in the battle for talent and career opportunities.

deverus’ new Integration Manager (IM) evens the playing field for small and mid-sized background check companies to quickly integrate to ATSs. Once integrated you have the transparency and oversight into the process. Call us today to see how the IM can help you create lasting partnerships with ATSs.

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