Start with background screening implementation and hold ATS integration for Phase 2.
Identifying process improvements or cost savings for an employer background screening process can many times be the catalyst for changing screening providers. However, the actual program rollout often relies on a cross-functional team including IT. Relying on your internal IT teams for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) integration support can sometimes require a much longer lead time for program rollout. To get ahead of the long implementation timelines, we’ve recently seen considerable success when our clients start by implementing a basic screening program – saving a full ATS integration for Phase 2.
Types of ATS integrations: standard or third-party
ATS integrations generally fit into one of two buckets – standard or third party. Standard integrations are where the ATS and background platform have built a repeatable framework which can be readily “turned on,” requiring only a few minor details and minimal IT resources to complete the integration. They are usually done quickly and are budget friendly. Third-party integrations are required in all other instances. Unfortunately, they also take longer to complete and can be expensive. Third party integrations require greater IT resources, and can certainly drive further analysis and planning when considering a screening vendor change.
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Third-party ATS integration considerations
If an employer utilizes an ATS that offers standard integration capabilities, the decision to change vendors is simple. Pick the best vendor and don’t look back. However, when your ATS requires a third party, the decision can be murky. There are three options when contemplating a third-party integration:
- Leverage your client status and urge your ATS partner to build the connection.
- Leverage your internal IT resources to complete the integration in lieu of a third party.
- If neither of the above options is feasible and a third party is required, your background provider of choice can introduce third-party providers who can complete the work. The cost is usually around ten thousand dollars, depending on the amount of customization.
So, what happens when internal IT resources and/or budget aren’t available, yet the background check process really needs attention? Are these barriers that should prevent a screening process upgrade that is critical to increased internal efficiency and a successful candidate onboarding process and experience?
The case for prioritizing a screening implementation over an ATS integration
While some HR professionals might argue that a single sign on (SSO) ordering process is the only way to go and integrations are required, the reality is that logging into a third-party platform takes a few extra seconds. Considering an ATS integration can be completed at any time following a completed vendor transition, here are a few thoughts supporting the idea of prioritizing your screening process over an integration:
Expedited account setup
The most important part of a service provider change is ensuring delivery of service. The hardest part can be getting there. A successful ATS integration as a vendor change requirement puts greater pressure and a greater need for resource coordination at the forefront, making the idea of change more daunting. In fact, it might discourage some employers from even making a change, while their onboarding process continues to suffer.
Delaying ATS integration simplifies the implementation process related to the following items:
- Signed agreements
- Defining packages and service protocols
- System build completion – packages ready for order, user credentials administered, workflow configurations designed, invoicing details in place
- Training and go-live scheduling
With a focused launch approach, the above steps can be completed in a condensed window of time. If a transition project is scheduled for completion in a particular quarter of a calendar year, that would be a very attainable goal. Take the subsequent two quarters to focus on service delivery, and schedule integration for the 3rd or 4th quarter. If things are going well and resources are aligned, it can always be completed sooner!
System access and familiarity
Even with ATS integration, users can be issued login credentials for the new background provider’s software platform and results are fully viewed from within that platform. Attachments to reports are also stored securely online within the software. Reports are likely going to be in the screening provider’s system, regardless of ATS integration. Arguably, becoming acquainted with the screening platform first rather than working through the ATS integration might be the best way to become comfortable with the new software.
Another benefit of viewing full reports with attachments and report completion notes, as well as ordering and viewing I9s through a separate system, is that a user group will have greater process ownership and an intimate understanding of the new system and service.
A Controlled and intentional process
The “wait for it” approach sets a solid service and relationship foundation and the integration is then scheduled on the best timeline for all parties. Working toward an ATS integration from a solid foundation creates a more intentional, controlled process for all involved. It can be completed at a comfortable pace and will not have the pressure of being immediately functional. This approach provides a wider margin for error and a backup process – the process already in place – can be easily reverted to in the event any problems arise.
Eliminating ATS integration from the vendor change discussion should be viewed as removing a barrier to improved service. One less step – and an ability to accomplish implementation on a more controlled timeline – is arguably a better way to approach a project of this size, scope, and importance.