Manager of Recruitment and Workforce Planning,
Texas A&M’s Division of Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness
Need for comprehensive coverage
When Rita Bowden, Manager of Recruitment and Workforce Planning at Texas A&M’s Division of Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness, started working at the university in 2014, she wasn’t confident that the background screening data from her former vendor partner was as comprehensive as it needed to be.
“We were using a different vendor then,” she explains, “and the criminal background checks that would come back to us just covered the National Criminal Database, the National Sex Offender Registry, and the state of Texas. That was all they ran. So I was very concerned because I felt that they were missing a huge portion of what could be out there.”
Rita explains that one of the things that led to her uneasiness was a review of previously collected data about the university’s new-hire applicants.
“That information indicated that something around the 90% range of applicants for our positions were from the state of Texas,” she explains. “We dug deeper, and found that it actually was closer to between 50% and 75% for a state of Texas address. But it also didn’t show length of residence. In other words, a lot of applicants could already be living in the state of Texas, but may have only moved there recently. We needed far more comprehensive coverage, so we sent out an RFP to consider a variety of different vendors. What sold us on Sterling was getting the most comprehensive coverage for criminal background checks and a strong return on our investment.”
Student safety of paramount importance
Rita relates that Sterling offers a host of services that provides the robust screening that she and her team requires not only to enforce thoroughness of background screening among job applicants, but also to promote the safety of the students that Texas A&M serves.
“For example,” she explains, “we have what we call our Campus Programs for Minors, which are part of our University Youth Programs designed for students under the age of 18 who are not yet enrolled at Texas A&M. These include summer camps, some of which are athletic, while some are learning labs, and so on. Most of these programs are staffed by volunteers. So it’s essential that we have the ability to run solid background checks for all of our volunteers to make sure that we are keeping those students safe.”
In addition to comprehensive screenings, Rita says that another benefit of Sterling’s services that she saw very quickly was accuracy.
“One of the things that we found when we first went to Sterling is that we were getting better data,” she states. “We know this because there were things Sterling found that our other vendor didn’t. For instance, some previous background checks done by our other vendor had come up clean, but Sterling found older issues with some applicants that just weren’t being pulled on those original checks. Also, from our old vendor, we would get data for females when in fact it was males being screened…just lots of information that was not valid. I’ve never had that problem with Sterling. I can say that in the three years that we’ve partnered with Sterling, I have never found invalid data passed over to me.”