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The impact of digital technology on background screening

Nov 15, 2013 Quinn Thomas

Background screening continues to be a more popular topic of conversation among regulatory entities, consumer advocates, businesses and other parties. While many rules, such as those managed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), have been in place for decades, others continue to proliferate and change amid an increasingly digital business landscape.

Fleet Owner recently reported that social media has become a bigger pressure point in the background screening process, as many employers will turn to these digital channels to get a better perspective on applicants. However, while the technology is relatively new, businesses must still ensure that they are following the best practices of background checks when using social media.

Certain types of information discovered through these channels during the screening process might not be allowed to bear weight on a hiring decision. According to the news provider, digital technology is not an adequate means of discovering an applicant's background, as traditional measures will still need to be taken.

"Online search engines and social networks are amazing tools that have literally changed the world, but the laws regulating fairness in hiring practices have remained the same," Paul Beauchemin of marketing firm PI Profits Agency explained to the source. "Hiring managers must therefore tread lightly when using social media and search engines as portals to information on candidates, applicants and current employees. On the other hand, offline criminal background checks have a long history, and best practices surrounding them have undergone decades of refinement."

Recent studies have indicated that the vast majority of businesses will google an applicant's name before calling him or her in for an in-person interview. To avoid issues with the EEOC and other regulatory organizations, businesses will need to ensure that all practices, including those in the digital arena, are aligned with regulatory compliance statutes.