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August 31st, 2015 | Sterling

Background Screening Budget Toolkit


Budget season may not get you as excited as receiving approval to push forward with an improved benefits package, but it doesn’t have to be a pain point. Preparing for budget season can be a breeze when you have the right tools at your disposal.

Start by asking yourself these questions to determine how 2016 will be different than previous years:

  • How many employees do you project for next year? Will there be growth or downsizing?
  • Are you recruiting or hiring in any different regions?
  • Do you currently recruit or hire candidates from outside the U.S.? Do you need to screen globally?
  • What type of criminal history searches do you conduct? Are they thorough enough?
  • Are there any specific compliance considerations for your industry?
  • What changes to policies or business strategy may impact costs?
  • Have there been any legislative changes that affect your hiring and screening practices?
  • What do you do differently for executive-level and high impact hire screening?

The answers to these questions can help you identify anticipated cost increases and where they might occur. Having this knowledge on hand can aid in preparing your 2016 budget.


Before you pull out the spreadsheet to make your case for a budget increase, take a moment to review your current hiring and screening practices and jot down a wish list of things that would make your department run more efficiently. New program reporting and analytics in Screening Direct can assist you in identifying trends across applicants by geography, job position, products ordered, and more. Explore new services and technology so you don’t get stuck in a stagnant screening program. Take that wish list and figure out which items will actually save your organization money in the long-term. Mark these as your low hanging fruit as this is where you’ll have the best chance at getting support from the top.


Like many HR managers, if you’re fighting tooth and nail for an increased budget to attract, hire and retain the best talent, you can usually make a case for additional funds by demonstrating the potential risk of a bad hire. We’re not suggesting scare tactics, but in this case the risk is very real.

Form I-9 Risk Assessment Calculator

This risk assessment calculator is a surefire way to demonstrate the importance of a compliant Form I-9 process. Input data for your organization to determine potential ICE fines and use those figures as a talking point to discuss implementing a more efficient and compliant digital Form I-9 process.

Post-Hire Risk Assessment Calculator

You may have a workable budget for screening new candidates, but what about existing employees? If your budget falls short when it comes to post-hire monitoring, plug your data into this handy calculator to see the potential risk that current employees pose to your organization.


Sometimes the amount of potential risk just doesn’t matter to frugal finance teams. Until a crisis happens, they’re not going to part with their precious Benjamin’s. Combat penny-pinching by speaking their language. Calculate the return on investment (ROI) for your background screening program. Show them that every dollar spent on screening is many dollars saved. There are many factors that go into your screening ROI so cover all of your bases by using the formula in How to Calculate your ROI in Background Screening.


If you really want to hit it out of the park, tap into that natural instinct for competition and use benchmarking data to your advantage. Highlighting areas where other employers are surpassing your organization is a good way to get your boss on board. Review SterlingBackcheck’s Background Screening Practices & Trends Report 2015-2016 to gain access to valuable insights into what competitors are doing and where your organization could improve.

Your budget may not be scheduled to be finalized for weeks or even months. However, now is a good time to kick start your planning efforts and begin thinking about how you can build a case for a bigger investment in more confident, compliant hiring. Until then, your mantra is spend a little, save a lot with better background screening.

This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.