Pre-Employment Background Checks: Top Trends for 2012

Developments in pre-employment background checks

Pre-hire screening process should be updated on a regular basis to keep up with EEOC and FCRA regulations, so you certainly do not want to “set and forget” pre-employment background check processes. In addition, states and cities also regulate the conduct of pre-employment background checks.

Pre-Employment Background Check

Tracking pre-hire screening news and making adjustments to your methodology is essential to protecting your business. Here are some of the expected developments pertaining to pre-hire screening for 2012:

1. The Automation of Pre-employment Background Checks

Before the advent of automated pre-hire screening, private investigators were employed for this task. The Pinkerton National Detective Agency was one of the first companies to conduct pre-hire screening investigations, which often included familiar techniques such shadowing persons of interest.

In this day and age, this practice is no longer common. Instead, many companies are turning to automated investigation “apps” and other quick fixes. While this has increased the efficiency of pre-employment background screenings, there is a tendency for more inaccuracies and inconsistencies in this type of pre-hire screening report.

For this reason, it is best to avoid easy solutions such as automated web searches and popular pay-per-search websites. Instead, why not team up with a pre-hire screening expert with a documented record of providing high-quality pre-employment background checks?

2. Social Media analysis in Pre-hire Screening is Becoming More Popular

It has become popular for businesses to check applicants’ social media profiles when conducting a pre-employment background check

Social Networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter can contain oodles of information about a potential new hire. If a company fails to check out information that is available publicly online, they run the risk being accused of negligent hiring practices.

However, the debate around social media screening has also become more heated as some companies are even asking for the use of login information to social media profiles. As a result, states such as Maryland are in the process of writing laws to limit these kinds of pre-employment background screenings, and more states are expected to restrict the use of social media in pre-hire screening in 2012.

3. States Continue to Pass Laws Limiting Credit Reporting in Pre-employment Background Checks

A survey conducted in 2012 by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) found that 13% of businesses check the credit score for future employees, and 47% of businesses order credit reporting when conducting pre-employment background screening processes. In recent months, this is receiving more attention from the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), while states like Oregon have already banned the practice.

At least 31 cities and 6 states restrict the use of credit histories in pre-employment background checks. Look for those numbers to rise in 2012.

4. Increased EEOC Scrutiny of Criminal Background Checks by the EEOC

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was formed as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Its main job is to enforce workplace anti-discrimination laws. Recently, the EEOC has been critical of companies that reject candidates based on criminal background checks. The agency has conducted public meetings to consider if the use of conviction and arrest records in pre-employment background checks constitutes discrimination.

In 2012 and beyond it seems that we will see more scrutiny of pre-hire screening procedures. Don’t put your business in jeopardy by ignoring this issue and the changes that are surely coming.

Visit our website to read more about the upcoming pre-employment background check developments and trends for 2012., a trusted background check company, provides accurate and affordable screening services and more information regarding pre-hire screening trends to small and large companies all over the US.

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

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