Global Screening Needs a Champion


Global Screening Needs a Champion

When something is understood and nurtured, it has a better chance of growing. So many people I talk to have a global screening program, but no one “owns” it. It’s plugged into the regular screening process. It lacks a champion.

When I try to coach these companies on global screening, there isn’t anyone to work with. “Oh,” they say, “we don’t have enough volume, and everyone hates working the global searches”. Of course, I’m passionate about global screening, and I do understand that not everyone loves it as much as I do. When I started in global screening, the Global Department was the last place anyone wanted to work. I felt the same. But we built a department that became the place where staff asked to be transferred to. And it started by having dedicated teams who loved (or learned to love) the product line. If there is any way to find that soul who will embrace global screening, try to do so. Find a champion or grow one.

Why do you need a champion?

Background searches that are run outside of your home country often require different information than you are used to gathering. You need someone to keep up with this. A system needs to be created to collect this information and a process needs to be developed to get this information to your global vendor(s). Clients will have questions about global searches; someone needs to know or know how to find the answer.

With some 240 countries in the world, understanding requirements and placing orders is very difficult to do, even for large screening companies. Not only is there a lot of information to manage, but it changes constantly. It can be next to impossible to keep up with all of this and still be profitable.

If you have joined any of my presentations for NAPBS, you may have heard my partners and I talk about the key countries. Most of your global screening work will be from 10 or less countries. There are some countries you may never do a background search in. Your champion does not need to be an expert in 240 countries. They should have a good understanding of the searches in the most commonly requested countries. Ten countries; maybe 5. That’s manageable. They need to find out what is and isn’t available from your vendor and get a list of the ordering requirements and any special forms required for these searches. They need to understand, even if only at a high level, where the information comes from and what the results look like. They need to understand how to communicate with the vendor and how to move all the extra data and forms to get the order placed and keep the data safe. They need to understand the language of global. What is a Certificate? What is a Subject Access Request? Then, the champion can be the coach for the rest of the team.

I know of several screeners who outsource all of their out-of-country searches to a single, global supplier. The temptation may be to skip the champion since everything is outsourced. Don’t do it. You are still the face of global screening to your client. You still need to understand those 5 or 10 countries. It may be a little easier since you can work with your single vendor to understand it. But you still need a champion.

What are the advantages of having a champion?

In my journey in the screening world, I have learned that when you have one or more people who are designated as the experts in an area, that area will thrive. The champions will learn the details of the product and become the “go-to” people for answers. Having someone to go to is a lot easier than trying to find someone who can get you an answer. And it’s a special role for the experts. They get to differentiate themselves and have an opportunity to shine. Whatever country you are in, I’m sure you have this in your company right now. If you are in the U.S., you probably have someone who knows a lot about the U.S. criminal records systems. Or maybe your company is in India, and you have people who know verifications inside and out. Imagine what it would be like if you didn’t have that knowledge at your fingertips. It would be pretty tough to support your clients or even make a decent sales call.

Usually the companies lacking global screening champions are smaller companies, but I’ve seen this in larger screening companies also. As a screening company’s client base grows, it will be inevitable they will need to provide screening services outside of their home country. The more sophisticated their client base becomes, the more challenging the global screening work will become. Having people on board, even in a small company, who have specialized knowledge in global screening can even save you time.

Having a champion, or a few champions, also helps your vendors know who to work with. Most of the vendors in our industry have a strong desire to see their clients succeed. They like knowing who to go to and who to help. As a service provider to the industry, I love when I can help a person, or a team, grow this part of their business. But I need a person or a team to work with.

Take a look at which of your departments deals with the highest volume or is the most profitable. How did it get there? Likely, the champions of that department dug into the product and became experts in it. The more you learned, the better you served your clients and the more clients you got. Global screening will work the same way. It just needs a little love.


Kerstin Bagus – Director, Global Initiatives

Kerstin Bagus supports ClearStar’s Global Screening Program as its Director of Global Initiatives. She has more than 30 years of background screening industry experience, working for a variety of firms, large and small. Kerstin is one of the few individuals in the industry who is privacy-certified through the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) for Canada, the EU, and the U.S.

Kerstin is a passionate participant in the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA, formerly NAPBS) and is a current member of the Board, in addition to participating on several committees. She also participates on IFDAT’s Legal Committee, with a primary focus on global data privacy.

At ClearStar, we are committed to your success. An important part of your employment screening program involves compliance with various laws and regulations, which is why we are providing information regarding screening requirements in certain countries, region, etc. While we are happy to provide you with this information, it is your responsibility to comply with applicable laws and to understand how such information pertains to your employment screening program. The foregoing information is not offered as legal advice but is instead offered for informational purposes. ClearStar is not a law firm and does not offer legal advice and this communication does not form an attorney client relationship. The foregoing information is therefore not intended as a substitute for the legal advice of a lawyer knowledgeable of the user’s individual circumstances or to provide legal advice. ClearStar makes no assurances regarding the accuracy, completeness, or utility of the information contained in this publication. Legislative, regulatory and case law developments regularly impact on general research and this area is evolving rapidly. ClearStar expressly disclaim any warranties or responsibility or damages associated with or arising out of the information provided herein.


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