I’m frequently asked why TalentWise offers two seemingly different services—screening and onboarding —as one. What do they have to do with one another? My answer: Everything. They are the two primary components of hiring, the process of moving a candidate from job offer to day one, and must be considered collectively when creating this mission-critical process and making associated technology decisions. Doing so will reduce inefficiency for Human Resources, the hiring manager, and most importantly, the new hire.
Pre-employment screening is a high touch service. It involves online and offline research, personal contact, and significant manual processing. Increasingly, the industry is finding new and better ways to automate, but it’s still very reliant upon people and the service they deliver. Organizations will typically select a screening provider based on the combination of service, turnaround time, accuracy, and cost. Screening is often perceived as a necessary evil, a hurdle to overcome as quickly as possible, with very little thought going into the overarching hiring process and how it should be structured to administer screening in a more efficient and consistent way.
Onboarding, on the other hand, is entirely a software-driven experience, where process design, employment branding, forms automation and socialization come into play. It’s all about ease of use, workflow compliance, and the new hire’s time to productivity. It is where HR understandably spends more of their time, as they work diligently to bring on top talent quickly and efficiently. HR needs to set up new employees for success, and hopefully, a long and productive career with their organization. Technology shines here, solving workflow and compliance complexities.
The Yin and Yang of Hiring
When considering the relationship between screening and onboarding, it is easier to explore from the perspective of the candidate. Screening and onboarding interactions are his or her first contact with the new employer. These interactions are, in effect, the first real experience with the corporate culture. Where recruiting is quite often a sales and marketing exercise, with a primary focus on attracting and closing top talent, the hiring process at most companies (job offer to day one) is where reality sets in. It is very complex, administrative in nature, and can either be cobbled together through an array of point solutions or optimized under a single technology and service platform. With a single platform comes workflows that are considerate of the entire process—from offer letter approval and issuance, to background screening authorizations and disputes, to employment eligibility verification (yes, E-Verify as well). A single platform brings a single candidate experience, a process without any paper or fax, with zero redundant data entry, a single support team, and total focus on the desired outcome of minimal hassle and faster time to engagement and productivity.
Take a look at the first step in the hiring process—the offer letter. Most companies issue an offer contingent upon a successful background screen and/or drug test. Background screening requires an FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) disclosure, a signed authorization, and often some personal information that may not have been collected during the recruiting process (date of birth, SSN, etc). This critical step, the process of extending a job offer, is quite complex. A smart hiring process is considerate of this complexity, uniting these tasks behind a single, secure, mobile-friendly login. It should be a convenient offer process that increases the likelihood that the offer is accepted, followed immediately by the electronic disclosure and authorizations necessary to begin the background screening process. Fast and easy—good! Slow and disconnected—not good! What may feel like a check-in-the-box for HR when the screening report is returned can be far more onerous for the candidate, and filled with administration, logistics (think drug testing), phone calls, faxes, emails and multiple logins.
Once the offer is signed and screening is complete, the company is presumably ready to move forward with the onboarding process involving new hire forms, workspace and IT requisitions, employment eligibility verification and more. Once again, more complex than it may seem. A smart hiring process is considerate of this, uniting these tasks seamlessly behind a single, secure, mobile-friendly login. A candidate should expect to sign the I-9 form in the same system and at the same time as the W4, state tax forms, and the rest of the company new hire forms. Yet because there is a tendency to manage the hiring process in a piecemeal fashion, companies procure and cobble together point solutions, taking a checklist approach to digitizing and automating the steps of a process without thinking about the process as a whole and the outcomes desired. While there are endless HR technology solutions for discrete pieces of the hiring process, each marking a box on a checklist, a comprehensive approach to process design and technology selection is needed to create a positive and differentiated hiring experience.
A Closer Look…
Take a close look at your organization’s hiring process from the perspective of your new hire. Count the number of interactions you require of him or her. How many separate logins, emails and notifications are there, from the minute you send the offer letter until the new hire is fully productive and enrolled in benefits, payroll and your other corporate systems? It’s probably more than you think. Look for bottlenecks where the hiring process comes to a screeching halt while you wait for the candidate, an employee, or a point solution vendor to respond. Then imagine what a smart hiring process could bring, reducing the number of interactions, the amount of data entry and the bottlenecks, while allowing the process to flow seamlessly and in accordance with your pre-defined corporate policies.
Screening and onboarding go together, because for the candidate, they are linked. HR needs a hiring process that is the perfect marriage of service and technology, of stellar human interactions and flawless technology experiences, to differentiate themselves as an employer. Disrupt the traditional hiring checklist. Transform your process. Create a superior experience for your new hires and set them up for a short road to productivity and a long road with your organization.
(About the Author: Todd Owens is the President and Chief Operating Officer at TalentWise and has been with the company since 2006. Todd previously held senior Product Management and Business Development roles at both Wind River Systems and Siebel Systems. Early in his career, Todd was a United States Navy submarine officer serving aboard the USS Pogy (SSN 647) and on the Third Fleet staff. He has twice been recognized as a “Superstar for outsourcing innovation in support of HR organizations” by HRO Today magazine. Todd holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy and a Masters in Business Administration from the Harvard Business School.)