As awareness of the value of pre-employment background screenings grows and as more and more details of our lives become readily available online, it is becoming easier and more commonplace for employers to screen candidates before onboarding new hires. What does the future hold for background checks?
Increased Scrutiny of Social Media
Social media screening is a hazy, gray area, but that doesn’t stop employers from perusing a candidate’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds anyway. In fact, in a 2020 recruiting survey done by The Manifest, 90% of small business employers said social media evaluation is an important part of the hiring process and 79% stated they had denied someone a job because of inappropriate social media content. So, while the laws struggle to catch up with current trends, you can nevertheless expect to see social media screenings to gain in importance and popularity.
Greater Caution When It Comes to Criminal Background Checks
One of the big reasons companies choose to screen employees is to check for evidence of a criminal history. Hiring someone with a history of fraud or violence can spell trouble down the line including theft, fraud, or even workplace violence. The daunting nature of the potential financial losses from this type of behavior coupled with the rise of quick and reliable online screening tools means hiring managers are regularly turning to criminal background checks in order to protect their businesses.
That said, discrimination is a real issue and the negative impact of criminal background checks on employment and housing is becoming more apparent. Since there is minimal oversight of the data the criminal justice system provides to private screening companies, screening reports are often incomplete or peppered with errors. It’s also common for employers and landlords to be uncertain of how to make sense of the information provided in a criminal report and that many simply deny employment or tenancy if they see any hint of a criminal record.
As a result, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued warnings against using criminal history data for hiring decisions. It seems reasonable to expect that the future holds more oversight for data relating to criminal history and greater guidance on how to use that information for hiring decisions.
More Emphasis on Continuous Screening
A pre-employment background check gives a view of past behavior, but monitoring current behavior also provides protection for businesses of all sizes. Continuous screening allows employers to monitor drivers to make certain they continue to maintain safe driving records and to peruse social media to ascertain whether employees, especially high-ranking ones, are good ambassadors for the brand. Relying on a single snapshot of past behavior will give way to routine, continuous screening.
Regardless of what the future holds, the modern workplace will continue to rely on employment screenings to improve their hiring process and protect their business and reputation.
Pearl M. Kasirye is a writer at Pearl Lemon Placements, editor, and researcher who spends most of her time reading. When she isn’t reading or working, she can be found sitting on her balcony writing her own novels or traveling.