What Will the Future of Background Screening Look Like for Employers?

The last decade has brought an incredible amount of change to the world of employment. From how the gig economy solidified its place as a key driver of job creation to the pervasive and ongoing effects of a global pandemic, few things are the same as they were even a few years ago. Along the way, new trends have replaced old habits, and the impact of technology on the workplace has continued to grow. For employers, keeping your business agile and adaptable demands staying up to date on these trends.

The landscape surrounding recruitment, hiring, and employee background screening has changed significantly in recent years. Those changes continue today as attitudes and laws change on subjects such as drug testing, fair chance hiring, and the use of technology in these processes. Suppose your business doesn’t make an active effort to stay current. You could be stuck using an outdated and obsolete background check policy that doesn’t deliver the best quality results. The solution? Learn about these evolving trends to understand how to update and improve your policies for assured compliance and confident hiring.


The Recruiting, Hiring, & Vetting Trends of Tomorrow

There’s no surefire way to predict what the world of hiring and employment will look like ten, five, or even two years from now, but we can look at today’s trends to identify where employers may need to direct their attention.

  • Video interviews are becoming the norm

Did you know that more than half of employers use video technology to conduct job interviews today? With adoption accelerated by the pandemic and the rise of remote work, many employers find it is a convenient solution to a time-consuming part of the hiring process. Some conduct live interviews over software such as Zoom, while others require candidates to provide recorded video answers to pre-determined questions. 

At a time when many more states, counties, and cities have enacted ‘ban the box’ laws that require an interview before you can use a background check, this technology could be a boon. A pre-recorded interview might give you all the information you need to make a conditional offer, which will let you begin background checking. Even outside of Fair Chance jurisdictions, video interviewing is an important element of tomorrow’s hiring process. Using it in compliance with the law will be key.

  • Artificial intelligence in recruiting generates innovation and controversy

It’s hard to turn anywhere today without hearing about the impact of new artificial intelligence tools. This technology has already begun to reshape many industries, from AI tools that can generate text and images to those that drive content recommendations online. It’s coming to the world of employment, too. In some cases, it’s already here. As businesses strive to find the best candidates, many desire AI tools that can sift through resumes, parse cover letters, or even detect body language cues in a video interview–all to fill positions faster.

It would be an understatement to say these tools generate controversy. As much as employers want to speed up the hiring process, there are real and deep concerns about biases built in to AI models. For example, using an AI to evaluate background checks for suitability could expose a business to accusations of unfair and discriminatory hiring. Those who choose to integrate AI tools should do so carefully and with a clear policy toward preventing misuse.

  • Scrutiny of discrimination in hiring continues to increase

With the widespread proliferation of Fair Chance laws (and newer, similar legislation rolling out at the federal level), there is an increasing level of attention on whether employers do enough to combat discrimination in hiring. As mentioned, there are worries about AI tools that might exclude minorities, lower-income individuals, and those with less education. However, discrimination against those with a prior criminal record is again gaining attention in both employment and housing.

This pressure has led to the growth of businesses that specifically seek to hire felons alongside those that do not use background checks. Although not a good fit for many industries, this approach is gaining steam in cities across the United States as a way of providing stability, teaching skills, and helping individuals re-integrate into society. For those engaged in such work, there can be major benefits in a motivated workforce and an energized local community.

  • Drug testing is not so simple anymore

Drug testing is a common part of the hiring procedure that often occurs simultaneously with a background check. However, there is a growing trend among some employers to change how they approach this process. For some, it’s a legal requirement. In New York, it is now illegal to drug test job applicants for the presence of marijuana or to deny a job based on such a test. A few other states now have similar laws on the books.

With the increasing legalization of recreational marijuana and shifting cultural attitudes, more states may soon follow suit. Others have begun to bar employers from considering criminal records related to simple marijuana possession. Businesses will need to adapt their policies to these changes and reconsider what they see as disqualifying regarding drug use.

  • Background check policies move towards unity between employers and recruiting agencies

In recent years, there has been a growing reliance on third-party recruiters, temp agencies, and staffing companies to provide qualified candidates. Businesses don’t always have the time to wait for the right candidate to apply, so bringing them in from outside makes sense. However, there has often been a disparity in the vetting procedures between recruiters and employers. Some handle background checks before passing employees to companies, while others expect their clients to screen candidates for final suitability.

There is currently a movement towards a more unified approach as both sides recognize the value and importance of conducting due diligence. Avoiding negligent hiring lawsuits is a powerful motivator as high-profile stories have highlighted how lines blur between employers, recruiters, and those responsible for safety. Going forward, we can expect to see more third-party staffing providers adopting the same level of strict and comprehensive background checks used as the standard by many companies.


Staying Ahead of the Curve on Background Checks in a Changing World

It’s not hard to see that the employment landscape has changed and continues to change in big ways. From growing interest in AI to video interviews, changing drug laws, and more, employers need to stay engaged to remain on the cutting edge. However, one thing remains true: no matter how much times change or trends arise, a comprehensive approach to background checking will always be the core of every effective employment screening program.

Developing a thorough yet flexible approach to adapt when regulations change is essential for “future-proofing” the way you recruit and hire. By employing tools such as alias checks, multi-jurisdictional criminal background checks, and other record checks, you’ll always have the opportunity to gather critical information for your decision-making process. Add in verifications for education, past employment, or driving record checks, and you have all the pillars of an effective process—one that can stand the test of time and remain effective no matter the trends of tomorrow.

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