2018 has just started and it is important to begin this new year by looking at some background screening trends that are going to be more prominent in this year. There have been lots of changes in the employment and recruiting industry in the last year. The legal rights to protect those who seek work, including those who are currently working or working independently as a consultant, seems to be on the rise. Thus, it is imperative for HR professionals to be mindful about the hiring and screening processes that prevents discrimination or negligent hiring.
Keeping these new legislations and developments in mind, we have highlighted some trends that are going to affect the background screening industry in the year 2018.
#1 More generation Y candidates in the workforce will make the background screening more applicant friendly
Year 2018 will see the younger generation of workers, i.e.; generation Y becoming the centre of attraction for background screening providers. Recruiters will have to think creatively to expand their reach; and access better talent through new platforms like social media, chat bots, texting, etc. This would have a great effect on the entire process of background screening. We will see the demand for digital in receiving background screening reports to only increase in the year 2018, thus reducing the time between hiring employees and making them start working.
The companies asking to conduct the background screening process will also have to get more sophisticated about the type of screening they use in the year 2018, otherwise they will be subject to the risk of being exposed to legal consequences. A prime example of this is social media screening, which provides a different dimension of the candidate. But, rejecting a candidate on the basis of the content on social media is still a gray area, which results in companies facing discrimination lawsuits or other types of laws such as violations of privacy rights.
Thus, the most important thing that background screening providers need to do in the year 2018 is to make Generation Y candidates aware that the privacy, security and confidentiality of their personal information will be protected; thereby creating an environment of trust.
#2 Background screening for on-demand workers will become more common
The gig economy in the USA has increased considerably in the recent past. Earlier, companies were conducting:
- Non-traditional methods to screen and select non-traditional workers
- Comprehensive background screening for full-time workers
- A less common background screening for part-timers
- Virtually non-existent background screening for contract employees
But in the year 2018, businesses will increasingly come to terms with the importance of conducting background screening for freelancers on their teams. With an ever-increasing growth of freelancer in the year 2018, employers will be prompted to conduct full-fledged background screening on contract workers. These checks can include anything from criminal history checks to education check. Hence, the background screening process will only get more comprehensive as the gig economy continues to grow.
#3 Questions pertaining to criminal history on job applications will perish
As of January 2018, 30 states and more than 150 cities and counties in the USA have passed “Ban the Box” laws that remove questions about criminal history from job applications. It delays such inquiries until later in the hiring process. The entire objective of these laws is to reduce employment discrimination against ex-criminal offenders. While most employers in the past have asked criminal history questions in job applications, this process will have to be curtailed in the year 2018.
It is only a matter of time before ban the box becomes a rule amongst countries rather than an exception. Hence, companies need to be careful in the year 2018; and avoid asking questions pertaining to criminal history on job applications. In the year 2018, expect background screening companies to curb their natural instincts of running criminal history check on candidates in states, cities and counties that have passed “Ban the Box” laws.
In case, an employer decides to deny the application of the applicant based on their conviction history in states where the ban has not been effective yet, they will have to do an individualized review of whether or not the criminal history of the candidate would have direct and adverse relationship to the specific job duties. It is thus, extremely important for background screening providers to consult federal, state and local laws when it comes to conducting criminal history check of the candidate before hiring them.
#4 Employers will continue to use social media for pre-employment screening
In the recent past, social media background screening have been found sketchy from an administrative standpoint based on misleading, out of context and based on assumptions. But one thing that cannot be ignored is the fact that social media screening 500% more common, than it was a decade ago. Since, there are no laws or EEOC/FRA guidelines that restrict or prohibit social media screening, this trend is only going to continue in the year 2018.
You can expect employers to use new ways of using social media screening in the new year. It can be through third-party businesses requesting reports to exclude information that can create unintentional bias or discrimination. You will also see more and more companies asking their HR representative or employees to not get involved with the screening process while conducting social media check during pre-employment in the year 2018.
#5 Background screening firms need to be careful about data breach activities and security of information in the new year
Since background screening providers deal with sensitive information of candidates, it is important for them to ensure complete data security and protection from data breaches. Recently there was a case where a massive data breach incident was reported in the year 2017. The company in question was credit reporting agency Equifax where roughly 143 million Americans’ data was breached.
Taking this into consideration, it becomes important for background screening providers to provide comprehensive data security and protection from data breach in the year 2018. We will see more and more background screening providers undergoing stringent audit checks to ensure that they comply with the high standards of AICPA in the new year. This would ensure that the privacy, security and confidentiality of candidate information is protected, while conducting background screening in the year 2018.
#6 Prohibition on the use of salary history questions as a part of pre-employment process
As a part of pay equity movement, many states and cities of the USA have passed the legislation on prohibiting employers from asking salary history questions as a part of the pre-employment process. This restriction is going to have its effects on the background screening process in the new year.
We will see background screening providers to be mindful about ignoring the salary history check in the jurisdictions that restrict the use of salary history questions. More and more states and cities of the USA will continue to support this prohibition in the year 2018. So, in the future, if the background screening is done through reporting agencies, the companies will ask them to exclude any salary history information.
#7 E-Verify System will come close to being mandatory for all the USA employees in the year 2018
Legal Workforce Act in the USA hopes to make E-Verify “mandatory and permanent” requirement for the USA employees. This has been done to ensure that the employees hired are legally eligible to work in the country. In the year 2018, we will see more and more background screening providers screen the work eligibility of the candidates in a nondiscriminatory manner through e-verify system.
This is the right time of the year for you to look into the new developments and new legislations related background screening policies and make informed decisions about your own policies. The trends mentioned above can help you in formulating your background screening policies in this year. And most likely you will not be alone in this as more and more employers are set to follow these trends in the coming months.
Lourdes Fernandes is the Business Head at cFIRST and takes care of Business Planning, Business Development, Operations and HR. She is an industry veteran with almost 20 years of experience in service industries and a demonstrated history of driving business and operations in the BGV industry.