What a Background Check Means in the Digital Age

We are living in the heart of the Information Age. This means different things to different people. One unfortunate side effect, in the eyes and minds of many, is the end of privacy as it’s been known before. One way that privacy is becoming more and more obscure is in the employment screening or background check process. Potential employers are checking credit reports, running criminal background checks, and even digging through social media posts.

A 2010 survey conducted by the SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management) discovered that 47 percent of businesses order credit reports as a normal part of the employee pre-screening process. This is a practice that the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is beginning to take note of. The state of Oregon has already banned this practice and more states are sure to follow.

Some companies have even taken to asking for Facebook passwords as part of the pre-screening process. Have we gone too far? Is there a line in the sand between relevant intelligence gathering and pre-employment screening and gathering too much information? Some politicians believe there needs to be a line in the sand. Many states are proposing legislation at this precise moment that will curtail any intrusive screening processes that may include asking for social media passwords, conducting credit checks or criminal background checks, and using information obtained through forceful “friending” in social media circles in the hiring process. (See SNOPA)

Does it seem like a little bit too much to keep up with? For the average business owner, that’s exactly what it is. Even larger businesses that have HR staff members available to handle the hiring process have more important things to worry with than simply keeping up with swiftly changing laws and employment screening or background checking processes.

The problem is that laws are changing at the speed of technology. It’s almost impossible to keep up with how quickly laws are adapting to catch up with the latest trends in employment screening practice. As a business, it should be your job to focus on the business you do while leaving things like the employment screening process and the conducting of background checks to people who are qualified to perform them quickly and accurately.

Don’t get caught up on the wrong side of changing policies. It can cost your business a lot more than you bargained for. Instead, keep up to date with the latest employment screening tools and technologies in your state. Turn to local professionals to help you find perspective employees that are a good match for the business you run and the corporate image you work hard to project. In the end, you’ll be glad you did.

Need highly skilled, pre-screened candidates? Get in touch with Venteon today!

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