8 Background Check Trends Impacting HR

What is one trend you're seeing with background checks, and how is this impacting HR?

To help keep HR ahead of the trends, we asked industry leaders and practitioners this question for their insights. From the rise in continuous monitoring to Ban the Box and Fair Chance hiring laws, we’ve included some of the best answers in this article.

Here are the top background check trends impacting HR professionals:

  • A rise in continuous monitoring
  • Gauging What Matters -Work Experience
  • Careful Use Of Criminal Records
  • Candidate background checks lead to better quality hires
  • Background Checks have increased 3x since COVID-19
  • Social Media Background Checks
  • Freelancers Need Screenings, Too
  • Delays in background checks - start them early!

A rise in continuous monitoring

One screening trend we’ve seen since the start of the pandemic is the rise of continuous monitoring. In addition to the normal background check process, more and more companies are relying on continuous screening. This may be, in part, due to the massive shift to a remote work model, providing companies less visibility to the actions and conduct of their employees. Where permitted by law, it can provide immediate alerts of employee conduct, such as arrests, convictions, changes in motor vehicle records, accidents or misconduct, medical sanctions, license status, and much more that may have occurred after the initial pre-hire background check. This can help employers create a safer work environment and mitigate the risk of negligent retention.

Tim Dowd, CEO, Accurate Background

Gauging What Matters -- Work Experience

HR professionals are starting to create a better alignment of background check criteria to actual job requirements. The days of rigid drug screening, blanket criminal record knockouts and required education levels across the board are gone. HR is better equipped now to leverage work experience as a lead indicator of success and to mask out some factors that may lead to unconscious bias. These steps can help to remove long standing barriers to entry for many underrepresented groups and lead us toward more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces.

Shari Simpson, HR Program Manager, Paylocity

Careful Use Of Criminal Records

The automatic disqualification of applicants with a criminal record can be discriminatory under the EEOC guidance and violate Ban the Box and Fair Chance hiring laws. Some applicants need a second chance and may well be great employees.

Lester Rosen, Attorney, and CEO, Employment Screening Resources

Candidate background checks lead to better quality hires

Over half of the companies surveyed recently in HireRight’s 2021 Global Benchmark Report reported that their organizations are making plans to be more flexible in their approach to remote working. With the prevalence of remote workers, we see employers look beyond macro trends like the need to mitigate corporate risk and ensure compliance in the hiring process and focus on micro-trends like ongoing criminal records monitoring and social media screening. There is also growing recognition among employers that a better quality of hire and reduced risk of negligent hiring and retention claims are key benefits of thoroughly verifying a candidate’s background details before hiring.

Alonzo Martinez, Associate General Counsel, HireRight Background

Checks have increased 3x since COVID-19 

We have noticed that there are more background checks than ever before. In fact, the number is three times more than before COVID-19. As we see multiple checks in a row, I can conclude that these users are small business owners or human resource professionals, checking the background of their current and future employees. Because, in general, people run checks for one or two persons at most (at once).

Eden Cheng, Co-Founder, PeopleFinderFree

Social Media Background Checks

Criminal records are becoming a protected class. Companies are turning to other types of background checks to mitigate risk – namely, social media background checks. Traditional background screening methods including criminal checks, credit, employment verification, and drug screenings fail to address many of the risks posed by employees – especially as it relates to their online behavior which could have an outsized impact including damage to brand, culture, and employee safety.

Jaime Frankos, CMO, Ferretly International, LLC

Freelancers Need Screenings, Too

With the uptick in contract work as a result of COVID, one trend I am continuing to see is the increased propensity of screenings for part-time employees and freelancers. Indeed, as these employees have access to sensitive company information -- all the doing essential work for the company -- their past and current behavior can still be detrimental to the company. As such, HR representatives must create the necessary processes and protocols to ensure that background checks are an automated process for everyone's onboarding... not just that of full-time associates.

Lori Price, CEO, PixieLane

Delays in background checks - start them early!

Prior to COVID, background checks (including police checks) would in most cases be back within a week. Now we are experiencing significant delays, particularly in Police checks and qualification checks. Perhaps this is because Universities have made significant redundancies and don't have the resources that they had before. Now contracts are often having to be drawn up "subject to final checks" and these can take up to a month. My recommendation for HR professionals is to start the checks on the top three candidates as soon as they are identified. It might cost your organization a little extra, but having to wait a month and delaying a candidate's start date will affect productivity more!

Ineke McMahon, Director, Path to Promotion 


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