WGU Improves Background Screening and the Candidate Experience

October 16, 2018 Mary Lorenz

Western Governors University is an institution known for providing quality education that delivers results. Founded in 1997 with a mission to give more Americans access to a college education, WGU pioneered the competency-based education model to revolutionize the way students learn and work toward a degree.

For WGU, background checks are vital to the hiring process. Hiring someone with false credentials or criminal records does not just affect existing employees, but students as well. In short, the school’s reputation is on the line with every new hire.

A Cumbersome Process

Because WGU holds itself to a higher standard when it comes to providing best-in-class online education, they expect the same with their employment screening provider. A few years ago, however, the employment screening process was less than ideal.

Much of the work had to be done manually, eating up hours of the talent acquisition team’s time, and leaving room for human errors. As soon as an offer was accepted, for instance, the hiring team would have to go into their vendor’s system and manually select which items to order, a process Graeme Sprague, WGU’s manager of Talent Acquisition, describes as “cumbersome,” particularly when different roles required different background screenings.

“It was all a la carte,” Sprague says of the ordering process. “We had to go into the system, select different items, make sure everything looked correct, and then send them out.” From then on, the status of each candidate was a guessing game, unless Sprague and his team logged into the system themselves to track down the information they needed. “We didn’t get any notifications about the status of our candidates. We had to go in ourselves on a daily basis.” Sprague recalls, adding, “It was a little disorganized and hard to sift through the noise.”

On top of everything else, the turnaround time for getting results was often as much as five or six business days, creating more frustration for both candidates and the hiring team.

Time for a Change     

Frustrated with the slow process, inaccuracy of reporting and an increased desire for partnership in the background check space, Sprague agreed to see a demo of CareerBuilder Employment Screening (CBES). After seeing a demo of CBES, Sprague was impressed with the apparent ease and convenience. Instead of manually selecting which items to choose, the team at WGU could create customized packages. No longer would they have to go into the system to check on order updates – all status updates were automatically sent to their.

Particularly helpful was CareerBuilder’s Compass solution, which helped Sprague and his team quickly identify which verifications were complete. “That could save around 30 seconds per check, but it adds up to a couple of hours a month saved,” Sprague says.

In addition to saving time ordering reports and tracking verifications, Sprague saw his turnaround time go down significant – from six days on average to three days. Not only does this give his team more time to follow up and gather additional information needed, Sprague says it also saves his team the stress of “having to scramble at the last minute and possibly delay candidates’ start dates.”

Yet another huge time saver was the ability to integrate CBES’ system with WGU’s own applicant tracking system. Whereas before using CBES, candidates would often have to enter their personal information sometimes up to three times in a row. Now, candidates merely have to confirm the information that is already saved in WGU’s system, which not only saves candidates time and frustration, it helps maintain their excitement during the onboarding process. “We’ve had a TON of positive feedback from our candidates, thanks to the CBES product,” Sprague says. “Our candidates really appreciate how easy and seamless the process is.”

In addition to saving time and improving the candidate experience, Sprague also noticed a significant improvement in the level of accuracy and reliability of the reporting. “In the past we’ve had difficulties with information we received…and were left having to unravel this mess,” Sprague says. “That hasn’t happened with CareerBuilder.”

Superior Service and Savings

With CBES, the team at WGU got a level of service and quality they did not know existed in an employment screening provider. One of the biggest ways in which CareerBuilder stood out from other vendors was the level of customer service offered. “I don’t think I’ve ever waited on hold when calling customer service for CareerBuilder. Someone has always been there to talk to and quickly diagnose and solve the issue,” Sprague says.

CareerBuilder was also sensitive to the fact that change management can be hard, and worked to ensure a seamless transition by providing thorough training to help Sprague’s team get comfortable with the system. “It felt like they were really invested in our success,” Sprague says.

Not only did CareerBuilder help WGU save time and frustration for both its talent acquisition team and its candidates, the school was able to save significantly on costs – money it could reinvest in the staff, its students, and the well-being of the school.

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