Timeliness of Service and Cost Will Remain Challenges Employers Face with Background Screening Providers in 2020

ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends
ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The 2019 Employers Background Screening Survey ranked ‘Timeliness of Service’ and ‘Cost’ as the top challenges that employers face with their background screening providers and these factors will remain challenges for employers and background screeners in 2020, according to the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2020 compiled by leading global background check firm Employment Screening Resources® (ESR).

The survey conducted by PreEmploymentDirectory.com for the eleventh year in a row asked Human Resource (HR) professionals several questions including what were the leading challenges experienced with background screening providers that they wanted to be corrected or changed. Consistent with results from the last several years, ‘Timeliness of Service’ and ‘Cost’ were ranked as the top two challenges with background screening.

The survey found the “focus on timeliness is likely due to the continuing talent shortage and the need for speed in the hiring process to get the best candidates.” It also suggested that “background screening providers should continue to focus on creating efficient processes using technology solutions to enable them to quickly process background checks and to reduce overall cost of operations to manage cost pressures in the marketplace.”

However, background screening providers must also ensure the accuracy of their results along with timeliness of service and cost. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) – a federal law that regulates background checks for employment purposes in the United States – requires background screening providers to “follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of the information” contained in a background check.

In September of 2019, the Executive Director of the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) – a non-profit trade group representing the background screening industry – stated in an opinion piece that the “accuracy and timeliness of any background check is dependent on access to personal identifiers like complete date of birth” in public records such as those on PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records).

Melissa Sorenson explained in her opinion piece titled “Identifiers in Public Records Help Put Americans to Work Faster” that “employers use background checks to help them find the ideal candidate, and speed is essential.” However, “DOBs are systemically unavailable in the federal record keeping system known as PACER, and an increasing number of state and local courts are also redacting this information.”

The lack of access to DOBs in PACER “makes it extraordinarily difficult for professional background screeners” since PACER is a vital source for “conducting criminal record checks and including identifiers is immensely important. At the state and local level, redacting these identifiers is often justified by citing privacy concerns, but there are tremendous, unintended consequences,” Sorenson explained.

Attorney Lester Rosen, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), agreed with Sorenson. “While the screening industry supports strong privacy measures, the disadvantages of removing DOBs from PACER should not be overlooked. Getting qualified applicants hired quickly is critical to a firm’s economic success, and making it harder to search court records is to no one’s advantage,” said Rosen.

Since 2008, Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) has selected influential and emerging background check trends that have impacted the background screening industry. Each trend for 2020 will be announced via the ESR News Blog and listed on the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” web page that is available at www.esrcheck.com/Tools-Resources/ESR-Top-Ten-Background-Check-Trends/.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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