News & Resources

New technology complicates background screening

Dec 05, 2013 Quinn Thomas

Organizations in virtually every industry have had to refine many internal practices in light of new technology, especially when it comes to electronic payments, debt collection and background screening. Decision-makers must ensure that all policies and training practices are aligned with regulatory compliance statutes, as well as precedence pertaining to technology utilization.

Jon Hyman, writing for Workforce Management, recently explained some of the complexities of background checks in the age of social media. Not only has the use of these websites to evaluate applicants become a possibility, it has also started to disrupt the entire process, especially as the legality of such research tactics has not been clearly established yet.

The author explained that one study from Carnegie Mellon University revealed several harrowing statistics, including the fact that 10 percent to 33 percent of U.S. employers referenced social media websites and were less likely to bring those from Muslim backgrounds than Christian applicants. This is one study that will likely get more attention as soon as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission chimes in.

According to Hyman, one potential path toward successful, ethical and lawful use of social media in the background screening process is to have employees who are outside the chain of hiring be in charge of researching the applicants through these channels. He asserted that this can then communicate the information to those involved directly in the hiring chain in such a way that does not violate regulatory compliance and ethical standards.

One thing is for certain, background screening will continue to become more intensely complicated in the coming years, as new legislation will likely pass, novel enforcement methods will need to be launched and businesses will have to adopt these changes. However, many organizations benefit from using a third-party background screening service provider, which will help minimize risk and maximize on-boarding efficiency.