Your organization has decided to put out a Request for Proposal for Background Screening Services. But where do you start and what questions do you ask? Here are a few tips on how to prepare and write an RFP for the background screening industry.
Preparing an RFP
The first question to start with, is what are your current pain points and future goals? These two pieces of the puzzle will be crucial in finding and partnering with a background check provider (also know as Consumer Reporting Agency or CRA) that is well suited for your company. Pain points could include lengthy wait times for customer service requests, slow turnaround times, or a low accuracy rate. Accordingly, your goals should comprise of: same day customer service responses, 24-72 hour turnaround times, and 99% or better accuracy rate.
Next, determine how bid responses will be evaluated and include criteria such as: proven ability to consistently meet needs, turnaround times, pricing structure, technology/infrastructure solutions to streamline the process, quality of product, and ease of reading screening reports.
Finally, include 5 general sections of questions: vendor information, general requirements, account management structures, products & services, and process, reporting, & technology. Let’s take a look at a selection of questions that will help you determine a CRA that is well-suited for your organization.
Vendor Information Questions
In this section, you should ask general questions of the CRA to get a quick overview. This will also be where you can find information on how to contact them for further questions or to award the contract.
- Name of screening firm
- Year established
- Ownership structure
- Address and locations
- Brief history of company
- Primary/key contact information
In this section, in-depth research is done to determine what makes them an exceptional and competent CRA.
- Is the CRA accredited by the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA).
- What are their qualifications and market advantages?
- How is quality measured?
- Do they have a quality assurance program?
- Is there an in-house Compliance Director who oversees the entire background check process?
- How do they comply with all local, state, and federal regulations such as FCRA, EEOC, etc.
- Can they provide 3-5 references of an organization similar in industry and scope to yours?
Account Management Structure
This section addresses how your account will be managed and if you have been assigned key personnel to aid you in implementation as well as ongoing service. Be sure to ask questions that address your specific service requirements.
- Is there a dedicated account manager assigned to your firm?
- Are employees FCRA certified?
- What is the service level response time to questions and emails?
- What are the hours of operation?
- What is the implementation process and timeline?
- Are there set up fees?
- What training and educational resources are provided to clients?
Products & Services
Will the CRA be a good match for your background check requirements? Find out their service offerings, products, and how their turnaround time and accuracy rates are compared to competitors. This section is an appropriate place to ask for pricing as well.
- What is their menu of services?
- Do they have a Form I-9 management system with E-Verify integration?
- Are the background checks verified?
- What are the turnaround times?
- What is the accuracy rate of background checks?
- Are background check packages customizable?
Process, Reporting, and Technology
In this section, ask for lengthy descriptions about the logistics of their processes and technology. A sample report, and a glimpse at management reporting tools are beneficial to your decision making.
- What is the software or online system utilized? Is it proprietary and exclusive?
- Are built-in compliance solutions offered? For instance: adverse action letter services, or online consent form management with disclosures?
- How are background checks initiated?
- How are reports viewed upon completion?
- Are reports available real-time?
- What is the dispute process?
- Is the online consent form customizable with company logo, company colors, and a redirect link?
- Do they offer integrations into applicant tracking systems to streamline the entire recruiting/hiring/onboarding process?
- Is the drug testing process integrated into their system?
- What is their data privacy and security policy?
These are just a few examples of broad questions to pose to CRAs looking to partner with your firm. There may be more specific information you require, or questions that are pertinent to your industry. We hope this general guide can get you started with your RFP and show you which topics matter when it comes to the background check industry.
Choice Screening is proud to be accredited by the Professional Background Screening Association. To become accredited, Choice Screening passed a rigorous onsite audits, examining policy and procedure in six critical areas: consumer protection, legal compliance, client education, product standards, service standards, and general business practices.
Choice Screening has developed a rigid compliance structure under the direction of our in-house Compliance Director and is built into our proprietary online software, making it easy to stay on top of compliance obligations like adverse action letters or online consent form disclosures.
Customer Service is our top priority at Choice Screening. We are proud that our clients always talk to a human when they need assistance – no phone trees to go through, no virtual gatekeepers, and no robots! We do not outsource any of our customer service options, giving you access to a live, US-based, and FRCA-certified team member. Your time is valuable to us, which is why our average phone wait time is less than 30 seconds. And if that is not enough, most of our background checks are returned within 24-72 hours and most criminal results are returned within 1 hour!
Choice Screening has teamed up with several Applicant Tracking Systems to provide integrations that not only combine ordering simplicity and robust packages, but built-in compliance requirements to streamline hiring processes and inevitably decrease time-to-hire.
This blog is not all encompassing and is not intended to be legal advice. We recommend you regularly consult with legal counsel regarding all employment regulations.