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ATS Background Check Integration (Benefits & Best Practices)

Integrating a background check into your ATS platform can improve efficiency and accuracy

J.R. Johnivan
Business and HR Tech Journalist
Contributing Experts
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An applicant tracking system may include candidate background checks natively or via third-party integration. This can reduce hiring costs, improve turnaround time, and introduce greater consistency into your hiring pipeline.

Maximizing the benefits of ATS background check integration requires a clear understanding of the end goals, prudent development of policies relating to screening outcomes, and good communication with stakeholders throughout.

Depending on the ATS software you select, background check integration may have a certain number of checks included per month, or you may have to pay a fee for each one you request via the platform in addition to your normal subscription costs.

Let’s zoom in on ATS background check integration to see how exactly this can help you vet a potential hire’s credentials and streamline your hiring funnel.

ATS Software With Background Check Integration

Greenhouse   Greenhouse is one of the most versatile ATS platforms available. It has over 30 ATS integrations to choose from.
 BambooHR  BambooHR is a full-scale ATS at an affordable price. It offers a handful of background check integrations.
 Hireology  Hireology’s screening process features built-in background and drug screening functionality.
 Lever  Lever’s ATS integration works with one of the industry’s most well-known background-checking services, Checkr. This automates the pre-employment screening process.
 Zoho Recruit  A popular and highly affordable ATS. Zoho Recruit integrates with Checkr to perform fast, accurate screenings.
 Paycom  Paycom’s proprietary background screening can verify education and candidate experience. It also performs drug testing, sex offender screening, and national criminal screening.
 Workable  Workable integrates with Checkr to investigate criminal records, academic histories, credit reports, and more.
 LinkedIn Talent Hub A product of one of the most well-known and prolific brands, the LinkedIn Talent Hub lets you connect with your preferred background check provider or service. 

In This Article

Benefits of Integrating Background Checks Into Your ATS

The main benefits of integrating background checks into your ATS for comprehensive candidate vetting are cost and time savings improved hiring consistency, and the freeing up of internal resources.

Saving on Recruitment and Hiring Costs

Outsourcing various stages of your hiring funnel (such as candidate background screening) to a dedicated agency is costly for your bottom line and cost-to-hire metric. Even if it increases ATS pricing, integrating background checks can save you a considerable amount of money over time.

A Quick Turnaround Time

While an in-house or outsourced background check process may take weeks to come to fruition, an automated ATS background check is fast. With results generally reported within three to five days, your hiring team can decide whether they want to proceed with a candidate fairly quickly or pivot if it seems the prime candidate does not live up to their resume. This is crucial when you consider that reducing time to fill has the greatest impact of any factor on ATS ROI.

Consistency in Your Hiring Pipeline

It’s difficult to make sense of screening results that come from different companies. Using one company (via your ATS vendor or their 3rd party ATS background check provider) for all of your needs helps achieve and maintain consistency across the board.

In short, integrating your background check process into your applicant tracking system improves your organization’s bottom line and makes for an overall optimized workflow in your vetting process. This is a natural step in running a comprehensive hiring pipeline via your ATS.

Freeing up Resources

Running a myriad of social media screening and validation checks on multiple candidates can be time-consuming for your human resources staff. Free up these resources and assign them to other responsibilities by running an efficient and automated ATS background check process. It will vet your candidate’s qualifications, past employment, and criminal record status just as well as any other process can.

Bar chart showing the most common lies candidates tell on their resumes.

Comprehensive Candidate Vetting

Generally speaking, an ATS background check should perform a full investigation into the applicant’s history. This typically includes:

Academic Success

Approximately a third of American job seekers lie on their applications or resumes. Nearly half (44%) of people who admitted this said that they specifically lied about their education. The problem is compounded by the fact that some employers don’t take the time to verify academic credentials whatsoever.

For a background check specialist, the process of vetting high school and tertiary education is no more difficult than verifying a candidate’s criminal history. The same is true for a background check feature in an ATS. Integrating an ATS background check that includes academic verification makes the process as easy as clicking a button. 

Common elements that are verified by modern background screening providers include:

  • Names of high schools, colleges, and other institutions of higher learning
  • Attendance dates
  • Specific degrees and diplomas received

Most academic background checks don’t cover professional licenses outside of academia. In cases like this, professional license verification is typically used. However, there is no limit on how far back an academic background check can go. Other forms of background verification, like criminal history and employment background checks, are usually limited.

Professional License Verification

Besides academic history, you may need to verify other credentials a candidate specified on their resume including certifications, training seminars, and accreditations. In most cases, the processes of verifying a candidate’s education and professional licensure are independent of one another.

Depending on the candidate and their credentials, this could result in tracking down phone numbers or email addresses, initiating communication, and following up as necessary. Most modern ATS platforms that have access to the candidate’s personal information will automatically handle this process for you.

Employment History and Experience

Modern ATS background checks look at prior work experience and can verify employment by sending out automated prompts.

Much like academic background checks, there are no limits regarding how far back you can look into a candidate’s employment history. Depending on the length of time since their past jobs, however, some supervisors and managers might be impossible to connect with.

Criminal History

While employers are only allowed to ask about any prior felony convictions, misdemeanor charges may still appear on ATS background checks. Certain states, like Hawaii, only allow reports on misdemeanors that have occurred within the past five years.

Other states have their own exceptions. If your organization does business in a variety of locations, it can be difficult for your HR team to track these nuances on their own. Again, a good ATS will do the work for them.

Additional Background Checks

While we’ve already covered the most common types of background checks used for employment screening, there are some others used, too:

  • Motor vehicle record (MVR) reports
  • Social media screening
  • Credit score

These are generally used in niche scenarios involving highly specialized jobs. However, they are becoming increasingly common recruiting practices.

Bar chart showing the most common reasons job seekers gave for lying on their resumes.

Best Practices for ATS Background Check Integration

Ensuring good communication with stakeholders, having a clear understanding of the end goals, generating a realistic appraisal of costs, and developing bulletproof policies on screening outcomes are all best practices for implementing ATS background check integration.

Communicate With Stakeholders

Try to involve as many staff members as possible when it comes down to deciding on a specific ATS vendor or background check provider. Some stakeholders might have experience with one platform or another, and they might prefer one ATS over another. This applies whether your company is large enough to warrant preparing an ATS RFP, at a stage where a free ATS makes more sense, or anywhere in between.

Understand the Outcome You Want

It’s impossible to communicate with stakeholders if you don’t have an idea of what you want to achieve with your ATS background check integration. What benefits will it yield in comparison to the process you currently use? If your reason for implementation is a more thorough background check, justify why this is beneficial to the organization.

Understanding which internal processes will benefit from ATS integrations and which will not is a great starting point. Are you trying to meet new hiring budget constraints? Or are you trying to attract better talent from the start?

Understand How the Integration Works

Some ATS platforms use their own, built-in or proprietary systems to perform background screenings. Others use third-party services to fill the gaps. 

Before you sign off on either option, understand what the setup requires. Will you be able to install your ATS without having to configure complex add-ons? Will you have to download multiple apps to get the functionality needed? Knowing this information will help you sell your idea to stakeholders and give you a clear path when moving forward with the integration.

Consider the Costs

Some expenses you want to bear in mind are:

An increase in subscription tier: If your ATS vendor works on a subscription-based or software-as-a-service (SaaS) payment structure, you’re likely paying a monthly or annual fee to use it based on a tiered subscription fee. If ATS background check integration will put you in the next tier, you may end up paying for a more expensive subscription.

IT support to hook up the integration with your existing ATS: Setting up an integration can be especially tricky if it runs via an API or needs customs coding to work. Ask your vendor about what they offer before contracting the integration out to a professional. Bear in mind that a custom integration may need continuous work as the vendors on either side of the integration update their software.

A subscription fee payable to a third-party provider: If you’re paying an additional fee on your ATS SaaS subscription, there should be no extra costs associated with access to the background check provider, but make sure.

An ad-hoc fee per background check. Depending on the pricing model of your service, you may pay a monthly flat fee via your ATS vendor or directly to the background check provider, as well as a fee for each check that you run. For example, after a month in which you ran five background checks, you may be invoiced for the standard fee plus five background check fees.

Get the Candidate’s Permission

Just because a process is automated or outsourced doesn’t mean it can be taken lightly. Before running a background check on a candidate, make sure they are aware and get their consent in writing. You can automate this process via our ATS workflow.

Have a Clear Policy on Background Screening Outcomes

If a background screening comes back with some red flags, what will that mean for the candidate? Decide on what constitutes an immediate “no”.

If you decide to run background checks on existing employees, consult a legal advisor on what steps you can take if the check does unveil an inconsistency with their reported credentials. Decide beforehand on protocols that do not constitute adverse action or wrongful termination.

Consider Accessibility

Do you work with a team or remote employees who often rely on their smartphones for day-to-day business needs? Some ATS platforms are only available for certain operating systems or devices, so make sure you’re considering options that are easily accessible to your team.

Close up of tablet being used tofill out an online job application form

Final Thoughts on ATS Background Check Integration

With so many options available today, it can be difficult to find ATS background check integration that’s perfect for you and your organization.

Many ATS platforms offer free trials, letting you test drive the software before committing to a purchase. Ultimately, it’s important to find the solution that offers the perfect balance of features, affordability, and automation so that you can strengthen your talent acquisition process and make the best possible hiring decisions.

J.R. Johnivan
Business and HR Tech Journalist
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Combining a lifelong love of technology and the written word, J.R. is constantly balancing traditional arts with next-gen breakthroughs and advancements. With 30-plus years of experience working with computers and IT of all kinds, including over a decade of reviewing HR software, he caters to audiences all around the globe from his quaint home in West Michigan.

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