If you were looking to replace your current background screening vender, what steps would you take to look for a replacement? I am looking for initial first steps, like referrals, Internet search, RFP or some other method.
From a simple project management perspective, the steps can be divided into 5 buckets: prepare, request, decide, implement, and review.
If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be to do your homework before engaging vendors in the discussion. It is really important to be clear about what you need, or you will find yourself comparing apples to oranges at the decision stage -- and sifting through a whole lot of options that may not be right for your company.
In terms of preparation, start with what you already know. In what way is your current vendor underperforming now? Do you need to expand the scope of your pre-employment screen, or make it simpler? Does your business have specific needs for data access or turnaround time? Is your budget an issue?
Build a list of services and service level agreements that are critical, important, and nice to have. If you need an idea to start your list, check this link out; I'm not endorsing any of the vendors there, only that the list of services is pretty comprehensive and well organized. It might also be an idea to check out SHRM for additional reading materials that are not vendor specific to ensure you've considered the appropriate level of risk mitigation for your company -- although with a current vendor in place, you may have already been down this path.
In the past I've found that the more clear my requirements, the better the vendor responses. I've also found that it is helpful to keep the RFP invitations limited (maybe 3-4 vendors?), as it simplifies the decision process while still allowing for healthy competition. To arrive at this list, you might expect to have a preliminary conversation with 8-12 vendors, identified through your research and referrals.
The last note I'd offer is that "request for proposal" can be as formal or informal as you need or want it to be -- but it will be so much easier on you if you provide structure for the response in your invitation. Tell the vendors your specific requirements in a way that lets you easily compare their responses; and be sure to let them know the deadline to submit a response, and your decision timeframe.
Contact me directly if I can help further. Cheers,