4 Emerging Background Screening Trends and How to Address Them

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Employee background screening trends

In today’s employment environment, it is essential that human resources professionals monitor and address current trends that are impacting employment background screening. If organizations fail to address new background screening trends, they could find themselves exposed to risk or compliance concerns.

Among the most prominent trends that are currently impacting background screening are shifting E-Verify requirements, social media usage, evolving credit check regulations and an increase in the use of contingent workers.

Each of these trends presents a unique challenge that should be considered when developing or updating a background screening program. Discover the best practices to address each of these emerging trends below.

Trend: Changing E-Verify Legislation
Legislators at the state and federal levels are considering wider applications of the use of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) E-Verify system during hiring. For many organizations, E-Verify is used on a voluntary basis to check an individual’s identifying information and photograph against a DHS database to verify the right to work in the U.S., in addition to completion of the Form I-9.

Some states, such as Arizona and Louisiana, require that all employers use E-Verify, while a handful of other states only require federal or state contractors to use E-Verify. E-Verify legislation is pending in several states and the Legal Workforce Act of 2011, which would make the use of E-Verify mandatory nationwide, was introduced in the House of Representatives in June of 2011. Additionally, some local municipalities are enacting their own E-Verify requirements.

Best Practice: Be proactive and monitor developing state, federal and local legislation. Train key human resources personnel on the E-Verify system and requirements well in advance of it potentially becoming a mandatory requirement. Finally, investigate how an on-demand employment background screening provider can help you integrate E-Verify into your existing employment screening program.

Trend: The Growth of Social Media
With more than 800 million users, Facebook is the world’s largest social networking site. Individuals use this platform to share personal information about their education, prior work experience, family life, friends and hobbies. Employers are currently experimenting with how best to use Facebook and other social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn as part of the recruiting or hiring process.

Social media employee background check

Source: 2011 HireRight Employment Screening Benchmarking Report

Best Practice: According to the 2011 HireRight Employment Screening Benchmarking Report, more than half of those surveyed currently use social media or plan to use it for recruiting purposes. When it comes to background screening however, only 11 percent of those surveyed use social media and only 10 percent plan to start using it.

It is recommended that employers monitor privacy legislation or significant legal issues that arise regarding the use of social media during the pre-employment screening process.

Research how social media can either help or hurt your employment background screening program. There may be more risks than benefits associated with using social media during hiring.

If you do plan to make social media screening a part of your background screening policy, then involve your own legal team to mitigate potential risks.

Trend: Evolving Credit Check Laws
Organizations can benefit from the information found during a credit check, but organizations also need to mitigate the compliance and legal risks involved in using credit screening.

In many states, there are specific requirements for how organizations can use credit checks for employment purposes. At a federal level, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) outlines rules for organizations about how they conduct credit checks for employment purposes.

Best Practice: Consider your organization’s locations and check the state requirements in those locations. Review the FCRA’s requirements, including how an organization must notify an applicant, obtain the applicant’s consent and provide an opportunity for the applicant to review or challenge the results. Put a team in place to monitor pending legislation regarding credit checks at the state and federal levels. Then take a look at your current credit screening program and evaluate whether every step of your process meets all state and federal requirements.

Many organizations will also tailor their credit screening process so that only executive level applicants or applicants for financially sensitive positions are subject to credit screening. Finally, if your organization is currently involved in litigation regarding credit checks, then seek legal counsel prior to making any changes to your screening program.

Trend: The Widespread use of Contingent Workers
As organizations continue to rebound from the recession, many are turning to temporary workers in lieu of regular full-time employees to fulfill employment needs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of temporary employees in the workforce has increased by 29 percent since September 2009. During that same period, private jobs grew by less than 1 percent. The growing population of non-employees creates a need for temporary worker background screening policies.

Best Practice: Organizations should extend their background screening policies to apply across the organization to cover the gap between employees and contract workers. According to the HireRight Employment Screening Benchmarking Report, the top three areas checked by organizations are criminal history, identity and employment history.

For added security, organizations can add even more layers to their screening programs, such as sex offender searches, credit checks and drug testing. Organizations may also want to update their background screening programs so that they can monitor current employees and contract workers on a periodic basis and not just before hiring a worker.

Is your organization affected by the above changes in the hiring space? Is your background screening program built for adaptability and change?

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HireRight is a leading provider of on-demand employment background checks, drug and health screening, and electronic Form I-9 and E-Verify solutions that help employers automate, manage and control background screening and related programs.

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