Are you fed up with your proprietary software platform’s back-end limitations, or has your third-party provider stopped fulfilling its upgrade promises? Then it is time to test the waters and find a new software platform provider that can help you grow your business. Chances are your procurement office will want you to send out a request for proposal (RFP) to those providers on your list. Here are the top six questions you should include on an RFP for background screening service providers.

  1. Who are your integrated vendors? How do you choose them? Do they pay you? Some platform providers charge vendors to be on their list. You want to make sure your platform provider is “vendor neutral.” You’ve grown your business already, and you have good relationships with your current vendors, and good pricing, too. You deserve to continue your current negotiated pricing with your new software provider.
  2. Does your platform have an applicant portal? There is a war for talent in today’s economy, and your clients are competing with multiple companies to hire the best of the best. To help them compete, you need a slick way for their applicants to complete the background check information, electronically sign all necessary release forms and documents, check the status of their background report, and provide additional needed information—and those applicants need to be able to do all this from their phones! Happy applicants = happy clients.
  3. Describe your configuration abilities for prompting disclosure and authorization forms. Can your software assign different forms for resident state and job state? How about for specific counties and cities? Compliance is ever-changing, and it changes at the lowest levels, not just federally. Your software platform should have the ability to assign very specific forms to a report for an applicant to sign. This could mean a specific form for the city of residence. You should also be able to offer your clients the ability to time and date stamp the signature of each form or include multiple pieces of subject information. Document annotation should be explained in full in your RFP answers from background screening software providers. Don’t forget to request a sample document with these multiple annotation options.
  4. Describe your vendor dispatch process. Does your software have the capability to assign multiple vendors to the same search type with different priorities or different daily maximums? Do you offer vendor forwarding? A software’s vendor management process is key to a successful screening product. You, as a CRA, should be able to easily assign work to vendors in multiple ways, whether that means outside vendors or internal work queues, and then track progress in an easy-to-view, real-time report. Vendor forwarding provides the ability to assign hit/clear and/or expiration queues, which should be used to determine where to redispatch a search if requirements are met. Powerful and flexible vendor dispatch features help you decrease turnaround times and increase efficiency. Ask for diagrams.
  5. Does your software offer an automated way for references and employers to complete verifications electronically? The old-fashioned way of “calling” references and employers doesn’t always work on today’s busy workforce. See if your software provider has a way to send a link to a provided reference or employer that allows those contacts to complete the verification or answer customizable reference questions online—from their tablet or phone. Chances are your clients’ verifications will complete more quickly and with more accuracy if your process is automated, but remember to ask about the software’s measures to decrease fraud. If an employer email address has a domain that matches domains on a blacklist, the order should not be dispatched and should instead be dispatched to a “Questionable Email Address Queue” vendor queue. This feature should be provided to catch emails to popular domains that are unlikely to be employer email addresses, such as or, in order to prevent applicant fraud by sending the surveys to themselves.
  6. Describe your reporting capabilities. Do you offer a way to look at reports via business intelligence tools such as Microsoft Power BI? Not only should your software provider give you access to raw data in an Excel format, you should also ask if they provide templates to review that data in tools such as Power BI. Power BI allows users to view the in-depth data in an easy-to-view format complete with pie charts and graphs. You can review profit margin data, hit percentages, turnaround times, and more—globally or by client. When you have that weekly meeting with your CEO or board of directors, you can march in equipped with impressive reports on almost anything related to your screening business. It also makes client reviews a breeze.

For CRAs, changing background screening platform providers is an important business decision. Make sure you get the answers to the important questions when you are reviewing your options. For more information, call Accio Data or email us at

Camille Gamble worked as Vice President of Marketing and Support for startup Verified Person Inc., acquired by Sterling Talent Solutions in 2016. Her experience also includes leading the marketing efforts for startup criminal database provider, acquired by ChoicePoint in 2004. With her background at these screening companies she brings nearly 20 years of consumer reporting agency experience to Accio Data as a business developer.