Training Traps in Background Screening

Tammy Cohen, PHR, SHRM-CP
August 3 2016
At first glance, background screening seems to be a straightforward type of process.  The information is at point A, so we retrieve it and report it back to point B. If it only were so easy. Background screening is a complex matrices of process, formatting, regulations, and client customization, to identify just a few of the many steps involved in retrieving and reporting background check information.
For example, one county may allow online computer access, while another requires that you physically stand in front a court clerk to make your request. Some counties have terminals that are available only in the court clerk’s office. The most difficult of all are the small counties that still use daily booking logs. Imagine having to rifle through page after page of handwritten sheets to find a record! In order to do a criminal check, you have to know how to access that information and how to read or decipher the criminal records. Counties often have their own unique sets of charges and dispositions. How many ways can you say DUI, DWI, driving intoxicated? The most complicated part of the process, as it is for many businesses, is keeping up with and following the various regulations in each county or state.  For instance, California has a requirement on the font size that can be used on a candidate’s Authorization and Disclosure form. If your release isn’t in that size, you are non-compliant.

Training Traps

Our employees have to be trained in all the nuances of county and state records searches, as well as on the technology and regulatory compliance that relates to conducting a background check. 1. Onboarding: Employees can be quickly overwhelmed by the amount of information they must learn to do their jobs well, particularly if all of this information is dumped on them within the span of only a couple of weeks or a single onboarding session. In the screening industry, a good onboarding plan should:
  • Start with an overview of the Background Screening industry.
  • Show the “birth-to-grave” process of an applicant moving through the screening system.
  • Take a deeper dive, showing how the specific service is performed by other processors.
  • Next, provide a thorough and exact training on regulatory compliance impacting the screening industry as a whole.
  • Once an applicant has a grasp on what we do, we move into the mechanics and compliance issues impacting the specific service they will be processing.
2. Technology: There is a false reliance on training programs to adequately train employees and a broad overview of all company technology is not nearly as useful or helpful as thorough training. It is best to have a new employee go through the specific computer-based training he or she will need for the position, and then to have a tenured employee supervise to see if the employee understands how to correctly use your technology. Your training person should know which program elements are imperative to learn at first to help new hires avoid confusion and inefficiency. As employees become more comfortable in their particular roles, they may benefit from learning about other company technologies and their uses. 3. Sink or Swim: Companies often fail to maintain quality employees when they have a “Sink or Swim” attitude toward the training. Hoping that what an employee learns sticks and that they seek further knowledge on their own is wishful thinking if you don’t provide a solid foundation of knowledge and assistance in the first place. To avoid these training traps, InfoMart created a comprehensive onboarding and continuous training program called Teach Me Tuesday (TMT). Teach Me Tuesday is a 12-week training course that occurs, not surprisingly, on Tuesdays and provides both new hires and tenured employees with foundational information and updates on the many facets of background screening. Be on the lookout for my next blog, “Teach Me Tuesdays at InfoMart,” to read about the specifics of this successful program. Initiatives like this are just one of the reasons why InfoMart continues to be recognized as a “Best Place to Work” with the quickest turnaround time and accuracy in the industry.

About Tammy Cohen

Tammy Cohen, an industry pioneer and expert in identity and employment screening, founded InfoMart 30 years ago. Deemed the “Queen of Screen,” she’s been a force behind industry-leading innovations. She was most recently the first-to-market with a fully compliant sanctions search, as well as a suite of identity services that modernizes talent onboarding. Tammy revolutionized the screening industry when she stepped into the field, developing the first client-facing application and a due diligence criminal search that has since become standard for all background screening companies. Cohen has received national awards and honors for her business and civic involvement, including Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Top 25 Women-Owned Firms in Atlanta, Enterprising Women Magazine’s Enterprising Women of the Year award, the YWCA of Northwest Georgia’s Kathryn Woods Racial Justice Award, and a commendation in the 152nd Congressional Record.

About InfoMart

InfoMart has been revolutionizing the global background and identity screening industry for 30 years, providing businesses the information they need to make informed hiring decisions. They develop innovative technology that modernizes talent onboarding, including a first-to-market biometric identity authentication application and a verified sanctions search. The WBENC-certified company is a founding member of the Professional Background Screening Association, and they have achieved PBSA accreditation in recognition of their consistent business practices and commitment to compliance with the FCRA. The company is dedicated to customer service, speed, and accuracy, and it has been recognized for its success, workplace culture, and corporate citizenship with over 45 industry awards. To Get the Whole Story on InfoMart, please visit, follow @InfoMartUSA, or call (770) 984-2727.

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