September 8th, 2021 | Alla Schay, General Manager, Sterling - Industrials, Government & Education

Meeting Hiring Demand Without Sacrificing Safety

Feeling the pressure to fill job openings faster? The path to post-pandemic recovery is not without speed bumps. Even as hiring numbers rebound, labor shortages impact nearly every sector, including manufacturing and transportation services. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey found that 77% of manufacturers expect “ongoing difficulties in attracting and retaining workers in 2021 and beyond,” and Deloitte predicts that US manufacturing may have 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030.

Go From Offer to Onboarding With Confidence

As a result of the current hiring boom combined with a labor shortage, HR professionals and staffing agencies face stiff competition in the search for both entry-level and skilled candidates — and the longer those roles remain unfilled, the harder it is for organizations to achieve their strategic goals. Speed is essential, but so is safeguarding employees, customers, corporate culture, and reputation with in-depth background checks.

We’ve all witnessed the consequences of a poor hiring decision. In addition to putting safety and security on the line, hiring individuals without a thorough background check jeopardizes the trust that organizations have built with their stakeholders, employees, and the customers and communities they serve. This is especially true in highly regulated or safety-sensitive roles in energy, transportation services, and other industrial, government, and education settings. But you don’t have to cut corners to save time on criminal background checks, drug screenings, and other components of a detailed background check.

Choose an Experienced Partner to Accelerate Background Checks

When the Covid-19 pandemic began, demand for warehouse personnel and transportation services grew exponentially and the pace of hiring needed to accelerate. Recently, hiring in education has also seen demand rise as schools return to in-person learning. However, fast results that are superficial, unreliable, or non-compliant create more risk than value, with the potential to introduce the wrong people to key facilities, equipment, information, and customers. And slow but steady may win some races, but if you’re sacrificing speed for the sake of completeness, you could miss out on desirable candidates who receive multiple offers.

A streamlined background check process offers the best of both worlds — the level of detail needed to address safety and compliance concerns at the pace that today’s competitive hiring environment demands. Sterling has decades of experience combined with substantial technology investments that help organizations fast-track screening without compromising quality.

Quicker turnaround times for criminal background checks

While court runners facilitate records access when digital integrations aren’t available, over-reliance on court runners to obtain official records can slow down the process. Natural disasters and the Covid-19 pandemic have proven that depending on a manual, in-person approach can put the brakes on criminal background checks — right when they’re needed most.

  • Manufacturers looking to quickly hire medical personnel to support staff temperature screenings
  • Local government agencies racing to get Covid-19 testing sites up and running
  • Warehouse and transportation services striving to keep up with increased consumer demand

Sterling’s CourtDirect technology supports digital access to an industry-leading 85% of US criminal search records, plus we maintain a dedicated team of court researchers to cover jurisdictions that still depend on paper records alone. This reduces criminal background turnaround times and uncertainties associated with unanticipated court closures significantly, allowing our clients to meet rapid hiring needs as they happen.

Sterling’s industry-leading processes and technologies accelerate background checks while capturing the level of detail needed to make smart hiring decisions. Our average search turnaround times vary according to the type of records search:

  • County Criminal – 0.34 day
  • Federal Criminal – 0.04 day
  • State Criminal – 0.47 day
  • Enhanced Nationwide – 0.29 day
  • DOJ Sex Offender – 0.03 day

In fact, 90% of criminal background checks we conduct for our clients are completed within one day.

Compliance and processes for handling adverse actions

Given the complexities of federal, state, and local hiring guidelines, compliance is another potential barrier to speed. From the first disclosure and authorization forms that candidates must sign to acknowledge a background check to a growing number of “Ban the Box” laws to destigmatize past convictions or arrest records when considering candidates, compliance remains a key consideration in the hiring process — and the goal posts keep moving.

For instance, in the wake of the pandemic, the EEOC issued guidance to help organizations navigate health and safety requirements while remaining in compliance with anti-discrimination laws. Likewise, as the number of states approving medical use or recreational use of marijuana grows — despite its remaining prohibited at a federal level — drug screenings can be more challenging.

Faced with these fast-changing compliance considerations, one of the most essential steps in the hiring workflow is to partner with a background screening provider who can offer perspective on best practices as the regulatory environment evolves. Beyond making it easier to right-size background checks to meet the requirements in highly-regulated sectors or safety-sensitive roles, the right provider can deliver results quickly without cutting corners on background checks, enabling you to move on from vetting candidates to onboarding new hires sooner.

Sterling is not a law firm. 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.