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Check out our nSider Hub for all of nTech's staffing-related resources.

Candidate screening, background checks, and reference verifications are all distinctive processes aimed at identifying the most suitable candidates. Staffing agencies can assist with various stages of the hiring process, drawing upon their wealth of experience and available tools.

In this edition of nSider, Kayla Raynor, Compensation and Compliance Lead at nTech Workforce, shares how a staffing agency can help with these crucial steps.


Why Is Candidate Screening Important? What Does It Involve?

According to Raynor, candidate screening and verifications are important tools used by Human Resources teams to “reduce the risk of hiring” by affirming quality and readiness "for the role that they’re looking to hire someone for.”

The candidate screening process typically “involves a recruiter or sometimes the hiring manager,” says Raynor. Whoever is taking the lead on verifications will review the candidates’ education, work experience, and skills to determine suitability, and at times Raynor says there are “skills assessments or tests that may be given to a candidate to gauge how well they perform tasks that are relevant to the role.”

When screening candidates, staffing agencies typically have more tools at their disposal, such as access to a broad network of job seekers, advanced applicant tracking systems, and industry-specific expertise, allowing them to efficiently match candidates with appropriate job opportunities.



How Can Background Checks Ensure a Reliable Workforce? 

When it comes to cultivating community and building winning teams, it is important to have a strong sense of safety in the workplace, which is where background checks can be especially important. According to Raynor, “Background checks are a proactive measure that employers can use to ensure the safety of their business and also their current employees.”

“The entire report should be viewed in detail,” says Raynor, “ to ensure the company is not passing on an employee who could be a good fit for the role.” 

This is because there are times when issues may have come up in a candidate’s past, but it was a one-time occurrence or completely unrelated to the position. So it is equally important to get feedback from the candidate to figure out specifics,” says Raynor, as well as considering the “job relevancy compared to the background check that comes back. An example would be if the violation is traffic-related, but driving is not an essential function of the role that they would be hired for.”


Can Reference Verifications Access a Candidate's Reliability and Performance? 

Reference verifications are when the staffing agency or hiring manager calls for professional references from past supervisors or colleagues. However, reference verifications are not always as reliable as one might hope.

“This topic has been debated for years,” says Raynor, adding, “I do not see much value in reference checks, simply given the amount of bias and unreliability of these assessments. Some studies have shown that reference checks tend to be one of the least reliable assessments by a pretty sizable margin when determining whether or not someone’s projected performance will be good or bad.”

Today, more managers are looking to cultivate community with hires, so they’re looking for culture, personality, and performance fits. This is why it can be helpful to switch up the traditional reference verification questions toward pre-planned questions that get to the heart of more salient information about personality and cultural fit.


What Role Does Compliance With EEOC Regulations Play in the Screening Process? 

The regulations of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) exist to make discrimination in the workplace illegal. According to Raynor, this means that “an organization would maintain equal accessibility and opportunity for the chance of employment based on merit.”

The role that EEOC regulations play in the screening process is, according to Raynor, “making sure that everything is fair and accessible across the board. One way to do that is by having a standardized screening process for the organization to ensure that hiring decisions are fair and equal.



How Can You Ensure Your Staffing Agency Is Committed to Improvement?

Sometimes, during the hiring process, clients may have specific requests for what they would like to learn from candidate screening. Background and reference checks can only provide so much information within the confines of the candidates’ rights to privacy; however, if the client is looking for specific information, staffing agencies can work to bring those details to the forefront of the assessment.

At the same time, Raynor notes that staffing agencies work to ensure that both client and candidate “information is safeguarded by using reputable service companies to complete background and drug screenings."

Additionally, reputable staffing agencies will "perform routine audits to ensure compliance and accuracy of processes already in place, but also keep up with trends and legal changes to proactively implement process improvements as needed," says Raynor. Staffing agencies should additionally conduct regular internal audits to verify consistent adherence to these guidelines, thus substantiating their quality assurances.

If your company is looking for assistance through the hiring process, or you’re interested in how we can help you build a winning team, reach out to nTech Workforce.