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Things Are Changing: Current Trends in Background Screening

Every year brings changes to how we hire, train, and manage our employees.  Often the changes are small, but the past two years have seen seismic shifts in how we live and work.  The pandemic forced many people to reevaluate the priorities in their lives.  Forced to stay home, whether they were working or not, people got a taste of what it's like to have a more flexible schedule, more time with their families, and more control over how and when they work, causing many to change professions or drop out of the workforce completely to return to school.  This "Great Resignation" hit some industries harder than others, creating widescale staffing shortages.  To attract job applicants, many businesses and some entire industries have changed how they pre-screen candidates or dropped background screenings completely.  

The "Anything Goes" Approach

While many industries have mandated background screening programs, there are companies that chose to implement pre-employment screenings on their own. The Pandemic and the subsequent staffing shortage caused many companies to waive or suspend background screening to speed up the onboarding processAt job fairs companies have been hiring applicants on the spot, increasing their risk of liability, and jeopardizing the quality and output of their products or services. Background Screening Programs have more options to choose from than a stringent policy or no policy at all. The team at WSS can work with you to adjust your screening program in a way that protects you, while giving you a wider applicant pool.


Criminal Pasts Don't Have to Be a Dealbreaker

With 64% of unemployed men in their 30s having criminal records, many businesses have made their review of criminal history more lenient or dropped it from their screening program all together.  Studies have shown that annual turnover is 12.2% lower in employees with criminal histories. Lower turnover can save you the cost and hassle of onboarding and training a new employee. If you have the flexibility to alter your background screening policy and think you may be missing out on good candidates, we can work with you to make sure your program gives you access to the best possible candidates, while continuing to filter out high-risk applicants.


Who's in the Driver's Seat

Some of these changes were made to swiftly fill vacant positions, but in some instances, background screenings were made more lenient or dropped all together, in response to societal pressure.  The so called, "Great Resignation" and the labor shortage it caused gave job applicants more power than they've had in the past.  The lack of viable candidates had already forced many businesses and industries to alter their usual hiring policies, the stronger bargaining power of the remaining applicant pool pushed some changes much further.  Industries that have required background screenings for decades are suddenly being criticized for how or why they choose to include background screening as part of their pre-employment process. While businesses must adapt to changing job markets, it's important to keep in mind the benefits of an appropriate Background Screening Program. Study after Study has shown businesses that include background screening in their onboarding process increase the quality of job applicants, reduce job turnover, and lower costs.


In business, as in life, adaption is key to survival.  It is, however, important to remember that one size does not fit all.  While businesses in industries that have mandated screening programs, have a clear guideline they must follow, businesses without screening regulations have the freedom to build a customized screening program to their own specifications.  While many screening services prepackage their services, making you choose the programs they design, Workplace Safety Screenings can work with you to build a program tailored to your business and industry, that will allow you to minimize risk and maximize your candidate pool. 


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