Screening and Onboarding: The Yin and Yang of Hiring

Posted Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 by Debbie Lamb, Sterling Talent Solutions

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Before working at Sterling Talent Solutions, I had no knowledge about background screening and the steps that took place after I received my offer letter. I, like many people, had no idea about the importance of having the background consent form signed or filling out the Form I-9 form electronically and how that would make the transition to my first day on the job go smoothly. By working at Sterling, I have come to realize that background screening and onboarding are both very important aspects of the hiring process. Effectively and positively moving a candidate from the job offer to the first day is a major component of a good candidate experience. Having the right procedures in place will reduce inefficiency for Human Resources, the hiring manager and most importantly, the new hire.

The Yin of Hiring

The Yin of hiring, or pre-employment screening, involves online and offline research, personal contact and significant manual processing. The employment background screening industry is finding new and better ways to automate, but it’s still very reliant on people and the service they deliver. Organizations will typically select an employment screening provider based on the combination of service, turnaround time, accuracy and cost. Screening is often perceived as a necessary evil, a hurdle to overcome as quickly as possible, with very little thought going into the overarching hiring process and how it should be structured to administer screening in a more efficient and consistent way.

The Yang of Hiring

The Yang of hiring, or onboarding, is a software-driven experience, where process design, employment branding, forms automation and socialization come into play. It’s all about ease of use, workflow compliance and the new hire’s time to productivity. It is where HR understandably spends more of their time, as they work diligently to bring on top talent quickly and efficiently. HR departments need to set-up new employees for success and a long and productive career with their organization.

Working Together: The Yin and Yang of Hiring

Let’s take a look at the relationship between screening and onboarding from a candidate’s perspective. Screening and onboarding interactions are his or her first contact with the new employer and their company culture. Where recruiting is quite often a sales and marketing exercise, with a primary focus on attracting and closing top talent, the hiring process at most companies is where reality sets in. It is very complex, administrative in nature and can either be cobbled together through an array of point solutions or optimized under a single technology and service platform. A single platform has workflows that are considerate of the entire process from offer letter approval and issuance to background screening authorizations and disputes to employment eligibility verification. A combined platform brings a single candidate experience with zero redundant data entry and faster time to engagement and productivity.

The Offer Letter

The first step in the hiring process is the offer letter. Most companies issue an offer contingent upon a successful background screen and/or drug test. Background screening requires a Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) disclosure, a signed authorization and often some personal information that may not have been collected during the recruiting process (date of birth, SSN, etc.). A smart hiring process should be convenient and mobile-friendly allowing for a greater likelihood that the offer would be accepted. Then this would be followed immediately by the electronic disclosure and authorizations necessary to begin the background screening process. The background screening process might be quick and easy for the HR professional. However, it can be far more onerous for the candidate and filled with administration, logistics (think drug testing), phone calls, faxes, emails and multiple log-ins.


Once the offer is signed and screening is complete, the company is presumably ready to move forward with the onboarding process involving many components including new hire forms, workspace and IT requisitions and employment eligibility verification. A candidate should expect to fill out the Form I-9 in the same system and at the same time as the W4, state tax forms and the rest of the company new hire forms. While there are endless HR technology solutions for discrete pieces of the hiring process, each marking a box on a piecemeal hiring checklist, a comprehensive approach to process design and technology selection is needed to create a positive and differentiated hiring experience.

A New Hire’s Perspective

Take a close look at your organization’s hiring process from the perspective of your new hire. Count the number of interactions you require of him or her. How many separate logins, emails and notifications are required from the minute you send the offer letter until the new hire is fully productive and enrolled in benefits, payroll and your other corporate systems? Look for bottlenecks where the hiring process comes to a screeching halt while you wait for the candidate, an employee, or a point solution vendor to respond. Then imagine what a smart hiring process could bring, reducing the number of interactions, the amount of data entry and the bottlenecks, while allowing the process to flow seamlessly and in accordance with your pre-defined corporate policies.

Screening and onboarding go together because, for the candidate, they are linked. HR needs a hiring process that is the perfect marriage of service and technology, of stellar human interactions and flawless technology experiences, to differentiate themselves as an employer. To find out more about the importance of the onboarding process, download our eBook, Your Complete Guide to Onboarding from Decision to Day One.

This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.