by Anthony Maiello, President Southwest Region (USA) -Tier4 Advisors

I spent a few years as CIO at Sterling Talent Solutions and then later consulting in the background screening industry … I must say – I continue to find background screening industry and the associated technology challenges as exciting as other areas of my background including Energy, Travel, and Security.

Since my time as CIO at Sterling, I have had numerous opportunities to work with several background screening vendors and private investors thus continuing to expand my knowledge in the industry. It’s clear that the users (recruiters and candidates) of background screening services are demanding the systems be laser-focused on usability and the ease and speed of use – bottom line the winner system needs to:

  • Always be Fast
  • Always be at your fingertips
  • Always be correct with intelligence and metrics
  • Always be very easy to use

Always be Fast

We used to use the phrase “be Google fast”; this isn’t good enough anymore for most industries, and background screening is no exception. Candidates today want to see, in real time, where they are in the process – email updates are a thing of the past where now texting and more real-time alerts are being used. Vendors are looking for fast turnaround times and, in many cases, this is the single most important differentiator from one background screening solution to the next. Companies want to get their new hires on-boarded quickly without a painful process and looking for background screening vendors and providers to deliver on technology solutions that enable these capabilities.

Always be at your Fingertips

More and more people use mobile devices for just about everything, and again, the background screening industry is no exception. The need for the entire screening process to be available via mobile is another demand in this industry and no longer just a request. This will only get greater as the younger generations engage with the workforce. The need to always see “status” of where you are in the process is a norm and expectation. The technology must be on demand, low latency, and be able to handle additional volume this level of automation will promote.

Always be Correct with Intelligence and Metrics

As the economy continues to improve, we see more and more hiring for fulltime as well as contingent workers across the United States and the world for that matter. With that said, the process and technology must be even better than before. All of this hiring requires great background screening that is not only fast and easy to use but also 100% accurate without exceptions. These systems must be all inclusive on court, driving, and other records across all regions, states, and countries. It’s no longer good enough just to search court records for the current jurisdiction the candidate lives as this may return inaccurate negative screening results.

One differentiator in the background screening industry is the availability of intelligent data on hit rates to better understand accuracy and success of their hiring programs.


Technology systems must deliver on knowledge and accuracy.

Always be Very easy to Use

How many times have you filled out an online application that was not very easy to use and in some cases you simply gave up? This is exactly what recruiters and background screening vendors are trying to avoid and address in their solutions to candidates. Some of this falls into being “fast” but it also has to be easy to use and less time consuming as candidates and recruiters want the whole process to be less painful. E-signatures, mobile support, simple forms, pre-filling are all part of the need for simplifying and making the process easier.

What does this mean for Technology?

Background screening vendors must evolve and transform their solutions to be faster, real-time, 100% accurate (with 100% coverage), and very easy to use delivering an overall more positive experience for recruiters and candidates.

I have worked with background screening vendors that are doing this well and some not so well. To succeed, vendors must deliver on the technology that enables and delivers speed, accuracy, usability, and intelligence (hit rates, turn-around time, service request tracking).

All this boils down to a SaaS/PaaS technology platform that can operate in a hybrid cloud, is based on HRXML standards and API driven for ease of integration of 3rd parties such as ATSs, supports mobile, HR compliance standards, and is highly secure, stable, and fast (low latency); while also, in most cases, supporting legacy systems that are already in place. Some of this requires a transformation in platforms and organization, while others are low hanging fruits for those background screening vendors that stayed focused and in step with the industry evolution.

I enjoy helping investors make decisions on how to engage with respect to understanding vendors’ technology platform and its ability to handle the needs of the future the background screening industry is now demanding. I also enjoy helping background screening vendors enable these technical capabilities putting them in a better position in the market. This is an exciting and growing industry, and I look forward to continuing to help background screening vendors, recruiters, and HR 3rd party systems adjust and respond to this growing need; its simple – some will make it and some will not.

Tier4 Blog Edition 34: April 4, 2018