We all know employment screening is take-away business. Gone are the days of marketing the idea of screening. You now need to convince HR professionals to choose your consumer reporting agency over their current vendor. And when soliciting prospects, you can almost guarantee one of the questions you will be asked is, “What is your average turnaround time?”

That is a tricky question since there are so many variables that can affect TAT, such as number of components in a search, types of criminal searches, geographic area, etc. The best thing you can do is to choose court and data vendors who can deliver as quickly as possible, and when there are delays, learn how to communicate with your clients to manage their expectations.

Communication is key. So often you can smooth things over with your client if you just communicate with them. Here are some ways to do that.

  1. Be aware of environmental changes in certain areas of the country that can affect courthouse searches and relay those issues via email or an announcement on your software platform’s dashboard. Just because it is sunny and 72 degrees where you are, does not mean it is everywhere. Weather can cause closings and cause back-ups all over the country. So, stay on top of hurricanes, natural disasters, snowstorms, etc. Let your client know there may be delays in these areas.
  2. Study the data. So, you have been a background screening company for years, that means you have gathered some pretty good data on county courthouse turnaround times during your tenure. Consider choosing a screening platform that will show your client a heat map of counties across the country with average TAT in days. Your client may be hiring someone who has lived in a rural area where courthouse searches are a manual process and can take days to retrieve. Showing them a map of the country so they can see that specific county is notorious for long turnaround times can save a call to your support team.
  3. In addition to county criminal searches there are ways to communicate TAT on all types of screening products, from CDL employment to motor vehicle reports to education verifications. These component TATs, for example, can be shown on Accio Data’s software client dashboard as an average in days. But also make sure you let your clients know to click for the minimum and maximum times, because outliers can skew the average.
  4. Sometimes the hold up is not at the county level at all but lies with the review process. Make sure you explain to clients that sometimes there may be so much information on a person’s background report that reviewing it for accuracy can take a bit longer. This review process is for the benefit of all parties involved. Showing an expunged record from a database hit, for example, without fully verifying that hit at the county level can lead to a lawsuit, or even worse, a class action lawsuit. Communicating this process up front with new clients can help ease the pain later.

There are currently more jobs open than people to fill them. Your HR clients are competing for top talent, and that means turnaround time is crucial. Stay on top of your game with a good communication strategy when it comes to the process. Your clients will appreciate the effort.

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 Rapsheets.com, 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.