Top 10 Trends in Background Screening for 2012

Background checks have become commonplace in today’s security-conscious world. A survey from the Society for Human Resource Management revealed that approximately three out of four businesses conduct background checks on job applicants. Here are the top trends we are monitoring in this area:

1.     Criminal background checks of job applicants by employers coming under greater scrutiny by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
2.     Credit checks of job applicants by employers increasingly regulated by state laws. Seven states—California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, and Washington—currently have laws that limit the use of credit report checks by employers for employment purposes. Other states and the EEOC are considering further restrictions on credit reports by employers.
3.     Social media background screening of job applicants becoming more prevalent and more controversial. Employers face numerous landmines and pitfalls that can include privacy, discrimination, and accuracy issues. Legal developments will likely be an ongoing topic throughout 2012.
4.     Automation in employment background screening leads to both increased efficiency and increased risks.
5.     Increased emphasis by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) for background screening agencies to receive accreditation.
6.     Diploma mills offering fake degrees and false credentials likely to increase in tight job market. A 2011 report revealed a 48 percent increase worldwide in the number of fake diploma mills from the previous year.
7.     Employment screening lawsuits increase as attorneys and consumers become familiar with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act requirements regulating background checks.
8.     New E-Verify Laws create complex web of federal and state rules for employers.

9.   Offshoring personally identifiable information collected during background checks of job applicants and sending outside of the U.S. increases concern over privacy and identity theft.
10.  Self-background checks proactively conducted by job seekers helps verify accuracy of their public information.