The 2018 SHRM conference is in the books and an epic one it was, especially for background screeners.  I wanted to write about a few things I noticed, a few things I’m hearing, and most importantly, what it all means for background screeners.  What this won’t be is a recap of the conference, my good friend Bruce Berg does that so eloquently on his website.  The rumor mill was certainly in full force, much of it can be taken with a grain of salt but in some cases where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

A few notable screeners were not in attendance this year, some of them never exhibit at SHRM, which I think is a big mistake.  Notables not in attendance: Checkr, Asurint, Intellicorp, Cisive, and  GlobalHR Research.  Not sure why some of these firms choose not to exhibit now or in the past, but I can say with some certainty that it’s a mistake.  Not only are your competitors there, but your clients are there too…..talking to your competitors.  A few firms decided to scale back their presence this year which always gets the rumor mill running, personally I think that’s always a big “who cares!”  Being there is important, having the biggest booth is not.  Size doesn’t matter in this case, your presence does and your ability to close leads does.  Generally, every screening company walks out with the same prospects so the size of your booth means less than your ability to follow up, market and sell your product .

Having said that, some screeners really hit a home run with their booth this year.  EBI always impresses with a large booth and a huge presence within it.  Accurate Background had a great booth, as did First Advantage.  Sterling Talent Solutions scaled down a bit this year, but their booth was very professional, clean and crisp.  They did a great job promoting their new small business offering, I’m excited to see this product launch.  InfoMart was fun as always.  I always love their approach and the fact that their founder, the Queen of Screen, Tammy Cohen is always present and accounted for in the booth.  HireRight/GIS and Career Builder (Formerly Aurico) had a nice presence with knowledgeable people working it with subject matter experts on hand to answer questions.

There was lots of talk about the HireRight/GIS merger. Not only its impact on clients, but a lot of uncertainty with their employees.  I talked to a lot of sales people who had no idea where they would fit in or if they would even have jobs in six months.  Lots of speculation about upcoming acquisitions as well, who will the new combined company attempt to acquire next?  It is widely speculated that First Advantage’s Private Equity firm, Symphony Technology Group will be selling off the company in coming months.  I’ve been hearing this for a while now, but it now appears that it will happen soon, possibly at a discount.  I’ve even heard that there will be an auction at the end of the summer if they can’t find a deal soon.  Keep a lookout for smaller acquisitions out of GlobalHR Research and PeopleFacts in the coming months.

What does this all mean for us background screeners?  Be ready!  Acquisitions and consolidation by the big players can present opportunity for the smaller firms, but if you don’t have the technology, marketing and operations to support it you will just sit on the sidelines while everyone else takes advantage of it.  Do you need good sales people…. go after those who may not be happy with their current situation.   Be ready to step up because these opportunities only present themselves so often.

The next SHRM conference is in Vegas June 23rd – June 26th 2019.  Looking forward to seeing old friends and new ones once again on the tradeshow floor.  By then the screening universe will be different as it is always changing.  If you are looking for someone to help guide you through that journey hit me up, I’m happy to help as I provide many different services through my consulting company, Morris Group Consulting.  Check us out and feel free to shoot me an email with any questions!  Until then, I’m looking forward to my next post and hope you enjoyed this one as much as I enjoyed writing it!