July 10th, 2023 | Sterling

2023 SHRM Annual Conference: Sterling’s Top Takeaways

Sterling has a strong partnership with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), including hosting a recent webinar with them, and we were excited to be back on the expo floor for another year of the SHRM Annual Conference, this time in Las Vegas.  

Our onsite team enjoyed connecting with attendees to discuss how Sterling’s trusted deep market expertise across regions, industries, and compliance helps clients scale globally, meet the unique needs of their businesses and industries, and navigate complex compliance standards.   

We were thrilled to have so many happy clients stop by and share their positive experiences with Sterling, and we had the chance to meet many new HR professionals.   

Read on for the top screening challenges we heard from attendees at the SHRM event.

What are the top screening challenges you heard when talking to attendees at SHRM?   

Screening Turnaround Impacting Time-to-Hire   

What I heard from attendees is that the common screening challenges are more impactful today. Lots of people were concerned with turnaround times across the board, especially at County court houses. It was not uncommon to hear that they were waiting 2-4 weeks for US criminal searches and were not being told what they should expect.
Steve Waldvogel, Enterprise Sales Executive, Government & Education, Sterling    

The most common concern I heard at SHRM was overall time-to-hire; there is an incredible demand for talent across all industry areas, and delays — no matter the reason — can lead to lost candidates and unfilled positions. Clients need good information about the entire background screening process from initiation to close, and the more data we can share about status or ETA, the more assurance they feel when facing pressure from internal stakeholders and anxious candidates.
Scott Merrifield, Client Success Partner, Tech & Business Services, Sterling   

Attendees expressed concerns that their current vendors’ turnaround times have drastically slowed down during Covid and haven’t bounced back to pre-Covid expectations. This is not just criminal background check turnaround times, but also includes verifications and DHS services. The slow turnaround times have led to bad onboarding experiences and the loss of applicants, which many attendees stated is unacceptable during the current economic landscape and the war for talent.
Justin Brant, Sales Leader, Regulated Industries, Sterling   

The most common pain point that I heard from attendees was regarding concerns around turnaround time. HR professionals expressed having a lot of challenges with time-to-hire and making sure they can get the individuals onboarded quickly and seamlessly. Making sure that the screening provider can provide quick responses was a large consideration for choosing a provider.
Erin Smalley, Director, Product Management – Identity, Sterling Backcheck   

Customer Service and Communication Gaps   

Customer service was a common theme. Many of the attendees mentioned they don’t get responses from their screening vendors about questions, or service is very slow to return inquiries. Candidates are feeling the same pain, and most of the people that shared this concern also shared that they had recently lost a candidate in the hiring process because the background check took so long.
Steve Waldvogel, Enterprise Sales Executive, Government & Education, Sterling   

The slow turnaround times we heard about have led to customers and applicants having to reach out to their vendors in higher volumes. In those outreach efforts, SHRM attendees expressed a lack of ownership by the vendors and getting the runaround, creating internal headaches and applicant dissatisfaction. Attendees stated it seems like companies are unorganized and doing very little to solve outstanding issues for current clients, leading to the need or want to review new partners. They mentioned they’re not looking to receive immediate responses or be unreasonable, but just want to know the issue is being investigated and will be resolved. Having faith or trust in their vendor is key to creating a great partnership, and that is all they want.
Justin Brant, Sales Leader, Regulated Industries, Sterling   

The issues I heard from attendees flagged to me the importance of being transparent and communicative with clients and their candidates, as this can go a long way in developing strong relationships based on trust. Many had questions about their screening programs that are going unanswered, which, coupled with long turnaround times, makes for frustrated clients.
Kevin Miller, Sales Executive, Financial & Business Services, Sterling   

Need for Seamless Screening Experiences   

There were a lot of conversations about the remote workforce as well, such as ensuring that solutions can address the unique challenges of not meeting individuals in person — such as identity verification and remote I-9 solutions. While generally there were some concerns about identity fraud, seamless solutions that don’t add new elements of candidate friction were still paramount.
Erin Smalley, Director, Product Management – Identity, Sterling Backcheck   

Final Thoughts   

The top screening challenges faced by attendees are clear. These factors are pivotal in not only creating a positive experience for employers and candidates, but also for the bottom line and company culture. With lack of communication and a long time-to-hire, employers are losing candidates to other organizations, prolonging the strain an open position places on their organization.  

Sterling was proud to share with attendees about our fast turnaround times and highly rated customer service, and our goal is to help many more organizations create fast, transparent, and effective hiring programs.   

We’ll be at the 2024 SHRM Annual Conference in Chicago and hope to see you there!    Learn more about our background screening and identity verification services, or contact us to speak with a Sterling representative.

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.