As the CEO of one of the world’s largest background screening companies, I spend most days talking with senior executives about hiring challenges. Background screening is often the final – but crucial – stage in the hiring process so there’s never a shortage of ideas to discuss as HR leaders strive to build strong talent pools within their organizations. Here are four areas of interest I hear most often, which represent the key trends you should consider as you’re working on building the best team.
What’s In A Tweet? Social Media Screening
While there are concerns about how to effectively – and legally – leverage a candidate’s social profile during the hiring process, it can offer useful, and sometimes shocking insights about someone you’re considering adding to your team.
For good reason, many hiring managers look for the following social media red flags:
- Excessive use of profanity
- Offensive displays of gestures, weapons, etc.
- Displays of racism or other discriminatory tendencies
- Sexually explicit material
- Unlawful activity
- Negative comments about former employer or manager
It’s not all negative, of course. Social profiles can boost your positive impression of a candidate and many hiring managers look for evidence of charitable activities, educational awards, industry or professional recognition, and so on. Of course, you should consult with a lawyer when using social media as part of the hiring process.
Asking about a Criminal Record is All About Timing
Known widely as “ban the box,” this regulatory trend is making it increasingly unlawful to ask if a candidate has been convicted of a crime on a job application. Many states, counties and even cities have passed laws banning this “check box” and more jurisdictions are lining up to join the ban in coming months. While each “ban the box” regulation is different, the idea is the same– give everyone, including convicted criminals, a fair and equal opportunity for employment.
So what should you do to keep your company’s job application “within the legal box”?
- If you only hire locally, make sure you know the law in your town and state
- Keep an eye on the issue as it may change in the not too distant future
- If you hire in multiple locations, the best way to remain compliant is to remove the question from your employment application altogether
- You should also consult legal counsel to fully understand your risks and obligations
To be clear, removing the question from your application does not mean that you cannot or should not uncover a possible criminal background. It’s all about when you ask the question. Once you’ve conducted an interview or made a contingent job offer, you can ask the question and run a comprehensive background check.
Fill the Gaps with Temps
In the not too distant past, hiring managers focused most of their time recruiting permanent employees. Increasingly, companies are now filling staffing gaps with temporary workers. According to a 2014 study by Randstad, two-thirds of employers actively used contingent workers while a 2015 CareerBuilder study revealed that 56% of employers plan to increase their hiring of temporary workers.
So why consider contingent workers? Many companies find it more convenient and less expensive than hiring permanent employees. Overhead costs such as providing a workspace or health benefits tend to be lower. And in most cases, you only have to pay for the work you receive without the risk of a long-term commitment. Of course, there are downsides to relying too heavily on temporary staffing, including reduced productivity, higher training costs and a lackluster or even negative corporate culture. Still, this trend shows every sign of continuing and experts predict that upwards of 16% of the workforce could be comprised of temporary workers in the coming years.
Speed Up the Background Check
It’s more than frustrating to get to the end of a lengthy recruiting process only to have the fruits of your labor slowed by a delayed background check. According to our Background Screening Trends & Best Practices Report 2015, over half of employers say that their biggest hiring challenge is the time it takes to complete a background check. So what can you do, if anything, to speed things up?
- Select the Right Provider: Basing your decision exclusively on cost without considering quality and turnaround time is a recipe for disappointment. If the cheapest provider is also the slowest or least accurate, how much does that cost the company in the long run?
- Make a List, Check it Twice: Have a checklist on hand and review it before sending an order to your screening company to make sure all necessary candidate information is there and correct.
- Opt for Online: An online ordering process or integration with your applicant tracking system can significantly reduce background check delays. In many cases, an online process also enhances the candidate experience by making it faster and easier to enter their data.