Jim Heeney is the Vice President and head of Australia and New Zealand at First Advantage, a leading global background check company. Jim was recently interviewed, and the article appeared in the online feed posted by HRD (Human Resources Director) Australia in early October 2021.
In this article Jim made the comment that embedding background medical checks within applicant tracking systems in order to streamline the onboarding process (experience of the candidates) is something that has everyone’s best interests at heart.
Integrated screening is part of holistic approach
He also said that background checks themselves, if not conducted properly, can create their own problems. It is not only a matter of protecting organisations from risky hires, but it also about fairness, consensual, transparency, compliance and timing. He also stated that having screening integrated is part of a holistic approach that results in the streamlining of the onboarding process and takes into account the needs of everybody involved.
As professionals in the HR and People & Culture space understand, the hiring and onboarding process is complicated. There are a lot of people with different priorities and a confluence of events that have to occur simultaneously over a short period of time.
Painless as possible for candidates
From a candidate perspective all that they ever want is a process that is painless as possible - in terms of time it takes, providing the require information, the ID’S and uploads, the time spent at facilities, and time it impedes on time off.
Smooth processes for HR personnel
For HR personnel, with so much going on during the onboarding process, having essential checks such as medical assessments completed at the right stage of the process helps everything flow smoothly. It is a case that if a particular criterion is a deal breaker, then this needs to happen earlier on so that other high-priority aspects of the onboarding process can take precedence over the rest of the process.
When medical assessments are a high priority
Jim Heeney observes the example of when a medical assessment is a high priority. A client might need to get 100 people to site for a particular project. They need to be both medically (and physically) fit to perform the work. There is a lot of time sensitivity, but for the HR personnel there is an entire process to manage in order to get a 360-degree viewpoint. Having one system for medicals and another for background checks becomes stressful and creates huge challenges.
This is where having a process such as PREMFA enables those in recruitment to integrate as part of their overall platform, and depending on a client’s risk tolerance, empowers the customers giving them additional control of the overall recruitment process. It results in cost and time savings compared with the current traditional system that is currently used out there by the majority.
As with any type of screening Jim Heeney “emphasises that this should be done in an open, fair balanced and consistent way – and with the candidate’s full knowledge.”
“You must always be transparent with the candidate around what the checks are, how they operated what information is required and how this information will be used,” he said.
Of course the candidate’s consequent is critical in this process.
Making decisions about candidates
When it comes to the various challenges in this recruitment processes, sometimes it’s not simply about the systems but also how recruitment personnel are making decisions about candidates. With the medical and functional assessments this would start with a well document job profile incorporating information about the position combined with information about the physicality of the position.