The best background screening processes help employers identify and onboard the best talent, with the right qualifications, aligned with culture and values. However, job criteria do evolve over time, so it may be helpful to pause and review your screening requirements, and ensure the services and protocol still meet the needs of your organization.
What you may find is that some steps don’t yield enough value and are instead creating unnecessary hurdles in the recruiting, screening, and onboarding process. In addition, as the labor market has tightened again, there may be new strategies to explore that would increase the number of qualified candidates in the hiring funnel.
Here’s one possible solution that is gaining traction with employers: Consider removing high school diploma verifications from your hiring criteria and background screening process. You may find that a high school degree is unnecessary criteria being used to screen qualified candidates out of the process, instead of driving them into the process.
There are several recommended steps to evaluating and updating screening requirements:
- Establish a baseline on metrics. Use data to determine if the timing and cost of high school diploma verifications are helping or hindering your process. Ask your background screening provider for observations, metrics, and reports related to the impact of verifications on turnaround time, as well as identifying the frequency of it impacting the adverse action process. Quantify how many offers have actually been rescinded due to a missing or a falsified high school diploma.
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- Conduct a job requirements analysis. When was the last time your job descriptions were put under the microscope? Review your hiring criteria with a critical eye. Determine whether a high school diploma truly qualifies candidates for the job. Which is more important – work history/experience or a high school diploma from 20 years ago?
A high school diploma doesn’t necessarily equate directly to the skills, qualifications, or requirements of many jobs. In Wisconsin, a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) requires two years of high school and LPN training to receive a license. The license does not require a high school diploma. However, many organizations subject candidates to screening requirements that include high school diploma verification, thus, shutting off a pipeline of candidates who may actually meet the state-imposed hiring criteria.
- Determine if the requirements align with culture and values. When looking at recruiting efforts through a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) lens, the high school diploma requirement may only serve as an unnecessary employment barrier for candidates.
- Consider a legal and compliance review. Confirm you would still be complying with policy and accreditation requirements, for example.
- Summarize the options. Present your findings to your HR team, hiring managers, and executive leadership. Include data to support the opportunity to reduce turnaround time and spend, and, more importantly, increase the talent pool by removing employment barriers.
Key takeaways for making changes in your screening process
It’s important to note that making a verifications process change does not represent lowered hiring standards. Instead, it can be viewed as a strategic adjustment to align the verification process with actual job requirements. Removing unnecessary hiring criteria may be an opportunity for employers to save money on screening, reduce turnaround time, improve candidate experience, and drive a more inclusive culture over time.
To sum up the approach: if the information is not directly being used to qualify the candidate, is there any reason to include it as part of the background check?