Whatever happened to the paperless office?

That promise of the future has caught on little better than the metric system. Unfortunately, paper is still a staple in the screening industry, and in the verification process no piece of paper gets passed around more than the release form. Whether your folder is in a filing cabinet or on a fax server, your productivity is suffering. Simply getting a handle on release form management can decrease labor by 15%.

It’s going to be digital at some point.

Why not start there? Getting the applicant to electronically sign the release while they complete their e-app is best. It’s easy to transmit and can be attached to the applicant’s record immediately. But beware of the “check-box” electronic signature; it won’t pass muster with many schools. Using an electronic form that can capture mouse- or finger-driven signatures is a must.

Use 1970′s technology to the fullest.

If you can’t start digitally, getting there usually involves scanning or faxing. Think about it: the fax machine was originally designed to take a piece of paper, turn it into a digital file – and then turn it into another piece of paper! If you’re currently capturing all of those digital files in one big folder on your computer, you need more automation. Use barcoding technology and software that imports releases directly and automatically into the background check. When you or your third-party verifier bring up the job, the release form should be right there.

Get with the system.

Your platform should do most of the work, tracking which searches have completed forms and offering automated ways to request any that are missing. As you move into larger numbers of verifications, the last thing you need to be doing is wasting time looking at cases you can’t advance. Today’s more sophisticated platforms have intuitive document management systems that maintain electronic versions of forms – both filled and blank – associated with specific types of searches. This will included an automated process to send the release to third-parties.

The yard still reigns over the meter, but automated processes and solid document management can save you time and money