September 11 – 13, 800+ background screeners gathered in Denver, Colorado, for the Annual Professional Background Screening Association Conference (PBSA). As always, it offered informative educational sessions, deep discussions about the industry, and amazing networking opportunities. However, what stood out from previous years was not only the consolidation of vendors present, but also the shift into more progressive pre-employment background screening trends.
The industry is becoming more developed as better technology, stricter regulations, more litigation, and greater pressure to hit tight timelines with the utmost accuracy continue to have urgent claims on companies’ attention and efforts. Against this background, data vendors and screeners alike need to evolve to stay relevant in this ever changing space.
For those who weren’t able to attend the 2022 PBSA Annual Conference, we’ll take a look at some of the hottest topics in background screening to make sure you don’t miss a beat. For those who were there, let us know if you had different takeaways from the event. We always enjoy a great conversation about what’s happening in the background screening industry.
1. Compliance remains a central focus.
Remaining compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) continues to be front and center at PBSA. What once was considered sufficient for pre-employment background screening companies to be compliant is no longer the case. A criminal database search now should be followed up by an automated county search or court runner, along with the use of additional personal identifiable information for better matching.
Conversations about litigation in the background screening space also continued to run rampant, particularly when discussing tenant screening and the explicit needs to follow the FCRA. Ensure you’re familiar with the FCRA and its core use cases to help guide your foundational principles and minimize your litigation risk.
2. Data quality is king.
In a conference full of pre-employment background screening companies, background screening partners, and data vendors, it’s no doubt that data quality would come up. After all, quality data is necessary for pre-employment background screening companies to ensure they provide coverage, completeness, and accuracy – three things that are critical pieces to “assure maximum possible accuracy,” as called for by the FCRA.
So how do you find the right people-data provider for quality pre-employment background checks? There are eight criteria we recommend you look for to ensure you’re getting quality data and a data partner you can trust with your business:
- Easy access to a user-friendly search experience.
- Ability to run flexible searches and customize search options.
- Use of advanced technology and modern search techniques.
- Access to extensive coverage with source transparency.
- Return reliable information based on a testing period.
- Provide fast turnaround for searches.
- Run cost-effective searches.
- Offer a dedicated customer support and success team.
3. Source transparency is a necessity.
With litigation and competition increasing, your background data vendors are coming into the spotlight. Not only is quality data invaluable to pre-employment background screeners, but transparency into where that data comes from and what it includes and excludes plays into staying compliant.
Some of the common questions you should be able to answer about your people data vendors are:
- What sources does your data provider offer?
- How are they pulling that data? Are they sending court runners to the court? Are they collecting it directly from court websites? Do they have relationships with the courts?
- What information and personally identifiable information (PII) will you be receiving from each jurisdiction? Is it enough to meet your needs?
Knowing more about your data vendors, their coverage, and data practices helps build confidence in the data you’re using, and that’s critical for comprehensive pre-employment background checks.
4. Continuous monitoring is no longer optional.
Similarly, a one-time background screening for employment used to be sufficient, but more and more companies are moving towards the need for continuous background screening. This allows them to stay up to date on with someone’s new involvements with the justice system and minimize their workforce risk by conducting ongoing monitoring searches at a pre-set cadence.
Someone who may have come back as cleared at the beginning of his or her tenure at a company may face new arrests, violence or fraud charges, or driving under the influence; and it could impact the business. In fact, workplace violence is on the rise, and 1 in 7 people don’t feel safe at work. This is moving companies to act and set better screening processes in place, such as continuous criminal monitoring.
Not only does ongoing background monitoring provide an additional safety net for companies and employees, but for early adopter pre-employment background check companies, it also allows them to gain a competitive advantage by providing more value in their offerings.
5. Fair hiring practices are trickling down to pre-employment checks.
As scrutiny of equal employment opportunities and fair hiring practices continue to grow, background screeners have to play their role by managing their own biases during pre-employment background checks. One of the best ways to do this is to use automated data with filters set to pull only relevant information.
Human nature makes it hard to ignore data once you’ve seen it – whether you want to admit it or not. Using automation, you are not seeing any additional irrelevant data and can more easily limit biases than when doing manual data checks.
What’s next in pre-employment background screening?
Thanks for a great PBSA. While we always value our time at PBSA conferences to connect with customers and continue our learning, it’s not our only outlet. At Tessera, we pride ourselves on staying up to date on pre-employment background screening trends year round to better serve consumer reporting agencies and their customers.
Want to learn how Tessera can help you stay up to date with these background screening trends? Reach out to us. We’re always here to partner with you for better pre-employment background screenings.