SHRM 2007 Annual Conference

SHRM 2007 Annual Conference

Attendance was up again this year, to a record 15,000 attendees and another 7000 or so exhibitors, staff and others. Note: there are over 225,000 SHRM members. The number of pre-employment screening companies exhibiting was up about 10 to 55. It really seemed that there were more background checking companies than any other category.

Some even had booths right next to the other or across the row. Regardless, the exhibiters I spoke with were very excited about the quantity and quality of the leads. Of course, as we know so well, these are only “leads” and must be worked to turn into Accounts. The point is, people are looking for something better and those exhibiting have a good shot at knowing who those companies are.

NAPBS had a booth again this year, talking about the value to the end user in using a NAPBS member as a quality background screener and giving out a special SHRM edition of the slick NAPBS Journal.

Hottest Topic

The hot topic again this year for background screening companies was The Complete Recruiting Suite, either by building this as part of the software or by integrating with others (or both!). That is, integrating the background check orders and the results with an end user’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS) or Human Resource Information System (HRIS or HRMS).

Several background companies already have an ATS built into their system so their clients can seamlessly enter all the applicants into the ATS and when they want a background check done on a selected applicant, with a click of a button, the data flows into the background check ordering system. Other background companies are either in the process of building their own or partnering with ATS software companies to accomplish this. Several companies are now taking the next step, which is to bring in (by building or partnering with existing suppliers) the pieces in front of the ATS, including:

  • On-line application (including the legal compliance issues with this)
  • Resume submission and tools for managing
  • Tools for searching resume banks
  • On-line answering by applicants of questions to filter out non-qualified candidates
  • Skills testing
  • Assessment testing

All these pieces add value to, and lock a customer into, the background checking company. Of course, it’s alsocool when these “after the background check” pieces are part of the process:

  • Adverse Action notice automation
  • Data flow of hired employees intothe payroll system
  • Reports of when someone with an adverse background check is not on payroll, as in, didsomeone make a hiring mistake?
  • Verification of SSN with SSA
  • TJTC
  • Form I-9 compliance service
  • Ongoing periodic background checks
  • Employment verification module

This is happening now. If you are not yet in this mode, you are a couple of years behind the times already.Get busy.

Computerized agents doing criminal searches. Last year everyone talked about this. Now it is kept kindof quiet. Even Verified Person didn’t mention it to me. But you can bet it is being done, where possible.And why not?

I Want a New Supplier

These words still flow from the HR people. Why do you think 55 of your competitors were there looking for prospects?  Why can’t you hold onto your existing customers? What is driving them to seek a “better way”? Doyou need some honest introspection and client feedback mechanism?

Other Goodies

I continue to get asked about background-checking companies that might be for sale. Our industry is still a seller’s market [call us to discuss].

  • There continues to be a great demand for experienced sales and sales management personnel.
  • Everyone seems to be trying to expand and improve their sales force.

Someone suggested Berg Consulting Group start a training school for industry salespeople.Anyone want to work with us on this?

  • Is your computer operating system strong enough? Are you spending hundreds of thousands ofdollars on programmers re-inventing the wheel?
  • Products to add to your offerings:

o    I-9 verifications


o    ID theft protection.

o    ATS

o    HR-XML certification

  • Don’t forget about posting your job opening on
  • Don’t forget you can now post your job opening anonymously and we will screen the resumes for you [call me].
  • Don’t forget you can post your resume anonymously on Anonymous means you can choose to not use your name to show you skills and experience, but without revealing where you worked. If the hiring company wants to contact you, they do it through the web site and you can choose to, or not to, respond to that employer.

Every company I spoke with said times are still good for our industry, with sales up 15-100%. They feel the market will continue to expand and they can continue to take business away from those providers not giving good customer service. Remember, during these “good times” look to invest your money and management efforts in five areas: sales and marketing, better customer service, driving your costs down, improving your turnaround time and technology.

Now that you feel good about your growth, consider the continuing drive to recruitment outsourcing. For example, I ran into a great guy I knew from 10 years ago when he had a smaller staffing outsourcing company that he grew and sold to a public company in 1998. In 2003 he started his new RPO (RecruitmentProcess Outsourcing) company and they had a huge presence at SHRM. I think he told me he already had 388employees and would have 1000 by the end of the year. If he can grow that much, how is your growth? Are you doubling or tripling each year?

And, thanks to for a great party, to John Long for lunch and to the Vegas tables for not taking too much of my money.

And, lastly, since it is impossible to get to every booth we wanted, and to meet with everyone we wanted, I apologize if we missed you.