Magazine Article | January 1, 2006

Ensure Quality Hiring With Web-Based Prescreening

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

This retailer improves the quality of pre-employment testing and cuts costs by consolidating its background checks and drug tests in one vendor.

Integrated Solutions For Retailers, January 2006

The quality and expertise of your associates can help separate you from competitors. The Gander Mountain Company, headquartered in St. Paul, MN, is a specialty retailer serving the needs of outdoor enthusiasts with products and services for hunting, fishing, camping, and boating. Gander Mountain offers outdoor equipment, technical apparel and footwear, as well as gunsmith, archery, ATV, and marine services. The company, which had sales of $642 million in 2004, employs 6,300 people. To maintain its quality of services, Gander Mountain sought to improve its pre-employment background checks and drug screening practices.

Gander Mountain previously used two vendors for its pre-employment screening; one provided background checks and the other offered drug screening. The company felt this was not a cost-effective arrangement. In addition, the turnaround time of the screenings was too long to accommodate the hiring needs at the company. Gander Mountain decided to seek a solution that would streamline the process and permit the data entry for the background checks to occur at each store location.

Sara Martin, Gander Mountain’s HR project manager and analyst, began researching alternative systems by visiting trade shows and seeking recommendations from other retailers. “We needed the solution to be user-friendly and accessible for all store locations and to provide quick turnaround on test results,” states Martin. After evaluating three vendors, Gander Mountain implemented the Edge Webscreen solution from Edge Information Management. This solution provides both background checks and drug screening through one vendor.

Improve Turnaround Time Of Test Results With One Vendor
The Edge Information solution allows Gander Mountain to create tailored background screening programs for each store department, as some departments have different requirements when hiring certain positions. For example, the hiring and background screening requirements are different for a cashier versus someone who sells firearms. The solution includes 17 background screening options, ranging from addressing minimal criteria such as name, address, and phone number to more complex criteria such as criminal and driving histories, credit history, workers’ compensation history, and Social Security and employment verification. Screening can include verification of education and professional licenses, including disciplinary action taken on the licensee. Asset searches and civil record searches can also be completed.

The Edge drug-screening program meets state and federal regulatory requirements for drug abuse testing. Services such as medical reviews and substance abuse training are available. With five partner laboratories nationwide, the drug test clinic network that Edge provides its services through is expansive enough to service all of Gander Mountain’s stores.

After conducting a pilot test of the application, the retailer completed a three-phase rollout to the entire store chain over a 12-week period. Edge Information Management assisted with the training via conference calls.

Most drug and background test results are available within 72 hours, surpassing Gander Mountain’s requirements for turnaround time. Edge Information’s system is accessible from all store locations via the Internet, so applicants can input their information, and authorized personnel can retrieve test results. “Having services through one vendor is more convenient and much more cost-effective for the company,” says Martin.