Running Background Checks in a Post COVID World    

No matter how you run your business, its location, or the sector you work in, the pandemic has undeniably had an impact on your typical hiring cycle. As many populations and workforces remain in lockdown, almost every business is facing new and unexpected challenges. Here is more about them and about how COVID has changed the ways screening providers like Check People work.  

Greater Need for Skilled Hires Than Ever

The shift to remote work has led to a greater need to hire skilled employees, particularly in the IT sector. These experts are required to make sure employees are still able to work from home. Businesses face the prospect of having to choose between two mutually exclusive interests. On the one hand, they need to hire fast and in a cost-efficient manner. On the other, they need to manage risk.

The Main Challenge

The global lockdown has affected the extent to which companies can verify data provided by job applicants. Lockdown measures at the beginning led sources of data to either make essential employee checks a priority or to close down completely. Countries like India rely on criminal checks for essential employees, for example.

What’s worse, restrictions get stricter with each new wave of COVID-19, and we don’t know how many more there will be. Data sources may reopen but then close again. When they reopen, it will be with fewer staff members.

No Longer Possible to Verify at Source?

When you verify data, you prefer to do this at the source. Understandably, this becomes a challenge in a post-COVID world. Another factor to consider is logistics. People applying for jobs from home don’t always dispose of the tools needed to access important documents. For example, scanning documents to send to their potential hirer. The pandemic has resulted in many businesses’ sending non-essential employees on unpaid leave or even laying them off, especially administrative employees. This group finds the shift to remote work easiest. Data availability at sources is impacted with fewer employees in administrative roles. So is data retrieval time.

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Choosing a Qualified Screener is More Important Than Ever

It’s a background check service’s role to help companies rise to these challenges and to make services reconciling seemingly conflicting interests available. It can achieve this by monitoring data sources and cooperating with them actively to grasp how and when they can handle requests for data verification. They can clearly mark any impact due to COVID they’ve determined, enabling HR staff to run reports and decide whether to attempt verification once more when data sources become available again.

Last but not least, background check services can partner with companies to customize screening programs, taking the unique times into account.

Identify Alternative Checks via Risk Matrix

With data sources closed, standard risk mitigation procedures might be impossible to carry out. However, you would still want to identify risks in the recruitment and hiring process. Using a risk matrix can help determine threats that need mitigation against the backdrop of a more elaborate product suite.

One example would be adding global sanctions to a standard criminal history screening. This will help you with a proactive solution in case not all types of screening are available, mitigating potential risk if you need to make a quick hire, especially for a crucial role.

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Adjusting Standard Procedure

Verifying data at the source is still the best way to carry out verification, and that’s what almost every employer is used to doing. Now, the normal way sources work has either changed or they aren’t working at all. You may need to temporarily change your process to ensure availability or reduce turnaround time.

When verifying one’s job history, this is especially useful. The candidate can provide supporting documentation upfront, and you can complete this screening component quickly. When the source returns a reference or reopens, you may proceed to rework the check.

Criminal Background Check – How to Supplement

Today, governments all over the world are making criminal checks a priority for essential workers. Where these are legal, they build the core of the respective background check program. There’s no way the unavailability of sources won’t make an impact. Yet, supplementing them is perfectly doable.

You can include extra screenings, such as adverse media checks, good conduct checks, and global sanctions and enforcement. The pandemic hasn’t affected the validity and reliability of any of these. Since media employees are considered essential, you could start with an adverse media check to get current information about your applicant’s media presence.

In lieu of a criminal background check, you could opt for a sanctions check. This will show if they’re on any major watch lists.