Screening Trends and Predictions for 2016

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Making predictions about interesting screening trends for the next year is one of my most fun year-end activities, just marginally less exciting than the plethora of holiday festivities and family gatherings that are about to be unleashed.

With a customer base of tens of thousands of organizations, we at HireRight like to think that we have a fairly keen sense for the trends that are happening in recruiting generally, and background screening in particular.

In 2016, we believe a number of existing screening trends will continue to accelerate:

  • Candidate experience extends into screening: The candidate experience has become increasingly more important as the economy improves and employees have greater job choices. We see no change in this trend. In fact, more and more, our customers and prospective customers are asking HireRight what they can do to extend their candidate experience initiatives into the background verification program as well.
  • Mobile: The mobile experience is an integral part of the candidate experience. Therefore, employers must also consider whether they are offering a mobile-friendly user experience across the full spectrum of the candidate lifecycle. This includes ensuring that candidates can initiate, complete and submit their background screen entirely on their mobile device, without ever having to log in to a desktop version. Given that approximately half of the workforce is now composed of digital millennials, offering a screening experience that is not mobile-first is no longer acceptable.
  • Regulations: it is more important than ever for employers to be well versed in employment and labor law. As they relate to the background screening process in particular, these laws are becoming increasingly more complex, with ongoing trends such as “Ban the Box” and EEOC enforcement activities related to employers’ hiring criteria. . As the regulatory environment continues to evolve, it can be challenging for the talent acquisition department to keep pace. [As a matter of fact, changes in regulations and compliance occur so regularly that I am working on a separate blog post on the topic.]
  • Ongoing screening: Most companies have historically not re-screened their employees unless obligated by industry-specific regulations (such as healthcare, finance, etc.) However, we have observed increasingly more press about post-employment screening, and in fact, employers are inquiring about it as well. Based on this trend, we may see a greater emphasis on ongoing screening in coming years as employers strive to create a more secure and safe work environment.
  • Contingent labor force screening: The contingent workforce (temps, contractors, vendors, etc.) represents a potential gap in workforce screening. Traditionally, this was of particular concern for industries that experience high seasonal employment, including construction, entertainment, retail and tax preparation services. However, in recent years we have seen rapid growth of freelancers and contractors, also known as the 1099-economy. Given this transformation of the workforce, which affects 53 million workers (representing more than one out of three workers in the US), employers must take contingent labor screening more seriously.
  • Globalization of screening: Screening is becoming an increasingly worldwide phenomenon. Not only do employers have to consider the international component of their labor force (16% of the US workforce is foreign-born, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics), but multi-national companies are also implementing screening programs at their overseas locations. This was once almost exclusively the purview of large employers, but we’re now seeing this more frequently among mid-sized business as well.
  • Employing marijuana users? Society must come to terms with the reality that marijuana use today often includes medicinal purposes. Accordingly, Human Resources professionals are challenged to think about defining screening and drug use policies in light of rapidly changing marijuana regulations across the country. Even if your state does not allow marijuana use, there is a possibility that this could be an area of concern. Consider South Dakota, for instance. It does not permit the use of marijuana, but it borders Minnesota, which will allow it in 2016. In addition, it is home to several Native American reservations that sell and permit the use of marijuana. This poses a conundrum for employers who live near the SD-Minnesota border or near a reservation. Employees are confused and policy books are not always clear or current with rapidly changing legislation. Thus, we predict that when it comes to drug testing, employers will be reassessing their screening policies in 2016.
  • Simplification of HR Tech: We believe there will be continued focus on integration of HR technologies. For most employers, even small and mid-sized businesses, it makes business sense to leverage integration of frontend Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) with screening and backend core HR management systems. This has been an ongoing trend for a number of years and it shows no signs of abating.

As HR and recruiting professionals, what trends are you seeing in background screening?

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Abdul Rastagar

I lead the Product Marketing team at HireRight. I am a customer advocate, digital and future enthusiast, technologist, and all around curious guy.

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