Top Background Screening Industry Trends of 2018

Looking ahead in 2019 we’d like to sum up 2018 with top Background Screening Industry Trends we watched. Regulation and Compliance Continue to Change; the American workforce is experiencing a transformation, the rise of technology provoke growing concern for privacy and data protection…Below are just some global tendencies to keep your eye on in 2019:

Ban the Box

Ban-the-box legislation is growing in cities and states throughout the country. This refers to laws that make it illegal to include a checkbox on an application that inquires about criminal history. The reason for this movement is to ensure candidates have a fair chance at employment, as a checkbox can cause unnecessary discrimination early on in the hiring process. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) offers a great resource for ban-the-box laws by state or municipality. It’s important to be aware of current laws as well as any being considered by local governments regarding how and when during the interview process you can inquire about criminal history. Additionally, this includes the knowledge about when to run an employment background check. [1]

Smart Technology for Background Screening Mobile is Key

New technology is continuously being developed to improve the candidate and HR professional’s experience. There will be a larger focus on developing mobile responsive portals and apps to enhance the candidate application and background screening experience. Mobile isn’t just about the device. It is about being immediate and always-on and the hiring process should be too. A mobile-responsive candidate portal enables a seamless, efficient candidate background screening experience no matter what mobile devices your candidates use. [2]

Growth of Artificial Intelligence Technology

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its wide-ranging capabilities will have a growing impact on the HR industry. New tools and programs will help HR professionals and teams with the hiring process, including background checks, employee performance management, rewards/recognition and ultimately company culture.  According to, “Artificial intelligence is transforming the background check process – making it faster, more accurate, and more efficient.” AI will help HR professionals target the relevant data insights they need to make the best hiring decisions for their companies quickly and efficiently. AI can also be helpful with global screening procedures by having the ability to quickly and easily process records in many languages from around the globe. [3]

HRIS Integration

Overall, there will continue to be flexible integrations between background screening platforms and ATS systems. This is a big win for both employers who can eliminate a number of manual processes while streamlining their hiring workflows and for candidates who won’t have the burden of duplicate data entry. On the backend, integrations allow the background screening results to flow seamlessly to an employer’s HRIS system.[4]

Research providers as compliance partners

CRAs are increasingly requiring their research providers to keep up technically as well as from a compliance knowledge perspective. We will continue to see an increase in the types of due diligence a CRA directs toward its public records research providers. Examples include knowing the details of the providers’ quality assurance program; their error rates and error rate trends; how they demonstrate subject matter expertise; and their knowledge of different jurisdictions with respect to research methodologies and availability of data.[5]

The On-Demand or Gig Economy

The US economy has changed dramatically over the last 50 years from stable employment in large organizations to an increased reliance on temporary or contracted labor (with an emphasis on service and tech industry jobs). While the manufacturing world has shrunk, the On-Demand workforce (or gig economy) has grown. Freelancers are relying on websites and apps like Handy, LinkedIn, Uber, Lyft and TaskRabbit to connect them with paying jobs. According to Forbes, “Talent sourcing practices need to build speed and agility in order to quickly identify work/projects in need of attention, source employees with the required skills, and staff project teams that can quickly perform the necessary task.” As new business models develop and evolve, we will see background screening technology adapt to serve on-demand services and sharing economy platform models. [6]

Candidate Experience

As competition for high performing talent continues to increase, employers recognize that they have to step up their candidate experience and provide a consistent, simple and personalized experience for their applicants. Streamlining technology is at the forefront of this priority. Companies are looking for technology to elevate and differentiate the candidate experience from the abyss of other potential employers. This helps with the goal of onboarding hires quickly before they can go to another company, and not to mention, boosts company brand and reputation.

The candidate’s experience during the hiring process is a make-it or break-it situation. Employers identify that being transparent as well as efficient reflects well on your company culture while also implying care and appreciation for new employees. Candidate experience is the first piece in the puzzle of a new career, which subsequently affects retention and engagement rates, as well as referrals. [7]

The 180 degree turn of data reporting

It used to be that CRAs would ask the research provider to supply everything available from the information source. Today, that approach of “over-reporting” is so potentially dangerous to the end user, CRA, and provider, that the new standard in the industry is to request from the provider less than the maximum depth and breadth of information available from the information source.

This trend toward erring on the side of “under-reporting” as opposed to “over–reporting” has its potential up- and down-sides. On the positive side, under-reporting can allow someone who might otherwise be excluded from certain opportunities based on a past criminal record, to receive a fairer chance at some opportunities. On the other hand, if a CRA is limiting what it’s reporting due to fear of defending itself in litigation rather than reporting the maximum depth and breadth of information legally reportable, the end user and CRA could suffer legal and brand-related problems when someone gets the wrong job and causes harm. It’s a catch 22 situation for employers and CRAs that will continue to be difficult to navigate.[8]