Hiring and Background Screening Trends: What Lies Ahead?

Posted: October 26, 2020

Hiring and Background Screening Trends: What Lies Ahead?

Our team recently dove into finding the recent hiring and background screening trends, along with what lies ahead as businesses continue to deal with the COVID pandemic.

What Trends are We Seeing Right Now?

Thankfully, we have passed the initial “panic stage” that occurred during the onset of the pandemic when businesses were rapidly sending their employees home. Unfortunately, though, it seems like COVID-19 might continue to impact things for at least the next six-to-nine months.

Here are a few of the trends that we are seeing in the employment and background screening sector. Some of these trends may be short lived while others may be here to stay.

  • Business activity is ticking up – Business seems to be picking back up for many of our clients and companies in our industry. Several of our team members recently attended the virtual Professional Background Screeners Association conference, the main conference for our industry, and almost everyone reported that business has been ticking up for them.
  • Hiring activity is increasing – Businesses are starting to hire more and they have a great pool of candidates to choose from. Many great people were furloughed during the height of the pandemic and we are hearing from our clients that the talent pool is large right now, but it is still very competitive to hire the best talent, which means that it is more important than ever to have a streamlined hiring process in place, so you don’t lose out on the top candidates.
  • Reviewing hiring processes – We’ve been hearing that many of our clients have taken the time to really look at their hiring process and make them more efficient. It’s easy to see why the companies that are able to find ways to become more efficient during this time will come out of the pandemic stronger than they were before. In good times, it’s easy to get to get lazy and complacent but it’s during the hard times that you really got to take a look at everything you do – every process, every department and find ways to streamline things. If your background check process is cumbersome, chances are the applicant might not follow through with you.
  • ATS Integrations – Our team has been doing well with ATS integrations since companies are looking for ways to streamline the hiring process.
  • Looking for ways to increase efficiency – Since HR professionals are tasked with more things than ever, they are looking for ways to increase efficiency in all areas, including payroll, benefits and background screening. Many of our clients have gotten rid of antiquated processes during this time.
  • Paper forms are going away – Paper forms are going away with remote working. HR professionals don’t want to e-mail PDF files – they are in need of digital, mobile solutions.
  • Remote working – One major trend we are seeing right now is that companies are still dealing with having their workforces in a remote environment. We’ve heard from many companies that they do not plan to go back into their actual office setting, building, or warehouse until at least 2021.

Dealing with the Challenges of Remote Working

Remote working is most likely a short-term deal for many companies, although it does have the potential to be a long term or even a permanent solution. Many companies are getting used to it and it’s working really well. And, keep in mind, office buildings are a big overhead expense that companies could choose to avoid at this time of budget trimming.

Random Drug and Alcohol Testing

If remote working remains a long-term trend, it does present some challenges. In our last podcast, we discussed how drug test positivity rates have been skyrocketing during the pandemic. Many HR professionals have probably had reasonable suspicion training, which involves observing a person’s behavior, being able to smell alcohol and seeing if an employee is stumbling around or slurring. Unfortunately, if your employees are working remotely, you can’t see them, so there’s a good chance that they could be doing something that you don’t know about.

What are some ways to possibly resolve these concerns? We recommend possibly implementing a random drug testing program for your remote employees. While most of your employees are likely to follow your drug and alcohol policies, meaning they aren’t going to be drinking while they’re supposed to at work, if they know that they could be randomly selected at any moment for a random drug test, more employees will follow your policies. While most companies don’t need strict policy like the DOT has for drivers, having a random drug panel test and alcohol testing in place lets your employees know that they would be subject to testing at any given moment.

It is important to keep in mind that it is important to let your employees know of policy changes. It is a good time to start working on updated policies since many companies roll out updated employee handbooks at the start of the year. This gives you a couple of months to get a random drug program in place.

Ongoing Criminal Monitoring

If you are concerned about not knowing what is going on with your employees while they are working remotely, we also recommend an Ongoing Criminal Monitoring program. What your employees do outside of work can be detrimental to the work they are doing while they are on the clock, affecting your brand, your company, or your other employees. Ongoing Criminal Monitoring on a monthly basis, a quarterly, bi yearly, or a once a year basis can help mitigate risks.

Looking Ahead

As we look ahead to the coming months, it important to keep in mind that we are in an election year, meaning that there is much potential for legislative updates, regardless of who is elected in November. It is important to check with your CRA to make sure they have the proper processes in place to notify you of any changes that will affect your ability to stay compliant.