From essential workers providing support to supply chains and caregivers at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, businesses everywhere are experiencing disruptions due to the global reach of the pandemic.

Yet, as some industries experience a temporary slow-down in hiring, others are ramping up their efforts to bring in new talent.

In fact, a substantial number of firms still need to identify talent and likewise, onboard workers— something that may prove more critical now than ever.

And even for organizations that perhaps are going through a lull in hiring, the COVID-19 pandemic has unearthed shifts to remote work and may extend new risks that employment background screening providers’ probably didn’t have to consider in the past.

How Mandated Closures are Impacting Employment Background Checks 

Amid the prevalent shelter-in-place regulations in effect globally, most people have to remain at home. This means that background check companies may also have to provide for workers’ who might not be physically visible.

Inherently, the COVID-19 pandemic is definitely altering the way employers normally approach employment background checks. And as such, these disruptions have impacted recruitment policies, interview procedures, and background check processes, among other normal hiring activities.

This is because employers and recruiting firms may not be in a position to meet potential candidates in person before hiring them, and this situation underscores the need for a thorough background check.

Employment Background Screening is Important Even in Times of COVID-19

Employers have a legal obligation to ascertain that their prospective workers don’t pose concerns to the organization or its customers. Subsequently, these firms usually leverage background check companies to conduct criminal, civil, and public records research and thus curb incidents of negligent hiring that may result in their liability for the worker’s bad acts.

For these reasons, background screening is an important facet of the hiring process that also facilitates retention assessments. It grants background check companies the ability to reasonably predict an employee’s future action based partly on their past behavior.

Current Status of Background Screening

Without a doubt, the COVID-19 crisis is affecting each segment of employment screening differently. 

Let’s take a look…

(i) Public record searches—review of criminal/civil records

According to a PBSA report, a substantial proportion of courts in the U.S. have an “open” listing—failing to depict any signs of imminent deviation from the court’s standard processes or effecting public records search requests.

On the flip side, only a small percentage of courts indicate having “limited resources” at their disposal, while a negligible number of the courts report having closed their operations.

It’s the role of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to regulate, in part, the routine by which employers make requisitions for background checks relating to potential and existing employees.

Likewise, the same process guides background check vendors, acting as consumer reporting agencies, to help fulfill the requests.

Primarily, the FCRA places the onus on the employment screening companies to ensure the reported information is complete plus up-to-date. However, in case the court is closed, or for some reason, the clerks are unavailable what next? In that instance, any verification can’t be made, even where courts have automated systems.

Nonetheless, any information collected through automated or online means still requires validation from the courts. Else, where the clerks may not be working, it’s reasonable to project the courts’ repositories will also not be updated.

Here, background check companies will generally desist from reporting information acquired from courts that don’t have staff members to answer questions.

(ii) Verification’s—confirming employment background and education qualifications

Many large employers will make use of automated processes to conduct employment verification’s. Provided that the employers present their employment records timely to the repositories, and these record storage facilities remain operative, then most employment verification’s may continue to be unaffected by COVID-19 closures.

All the same, small and mid-sized employers that apply legacy methods for employment may be unavailable for verification. In such situations, employment prospects can provide their impending employers with proof of their previous work history.

Perhaps , educational institutions have been hit the hardest by this pandemic. This is because just like employment, most large or prominent institutions providing higher education degrees employ automated means for degree verification.

Yet for relatively smaller institutions or bodies offering lower degrees, the verification process is generally unavailable. Conversely, because transcripts and diplomas are highly prone to falsification, it may be challenging to authenticate them due to school closure.

How We Can Help

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic altering the standard approach to employment background screening, retail background check companies can still leverage our 25 years of knowledge and relationships around criminal, civil, and public records research.

File Finders, established in 1995, is a leading court and official records research company.  While we offer nationwide criminal and civil research services through a national network of professional court researchers, our specialty is conducting in person court record research and document retrieval at criminal, civil, family court and the official records office in San Diego, CA.  Our services are customizable and scalable which means we are an excellent research partner for clients of every size. We also welcome pre-screened criminal case research clientele. We use proprietary technology and conventional hands on research to achieve both the highest level of accuracy and the most expeditious turnaround times in the industry. Our transparent research and result reporting style combined with our prompt, responsive and proactive customer service allows for unparalleled client satisfaction; that will exceed your expectations in information quality, reporting integrity, customer support, turnaround time and price.  

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