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In his article ‘Trends in Background Checks for 2014’ for Talent Management magazine, Attorney Lester Rosen, Founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), thinks “employers and human resources professionals can expect to see the tension between the need to hire safely and the legal protections afforded applicants played out in a number of areas” in the coming year and offers ten screening trends “critical to both keeping the workplace safe and avoiding legal entanglements.” The article is available at

Rosen writes: “Given the litigation climate and potential employer liability for workers’ actions, including lawsuits for negligent hiring, employers need to be more careful than ever in choosing employees. Just one bad hire can set off a legal and financial firestorm if the person is dangerous, unfit, unqualified or dishonest and a background check would have raised a red flag. At the same time, employers also need to recognize that applicants have substantial legal protections and the whole area is subject to ever-increasing litigation, regulation and legislation.”

Here are the top ten trends in background checks Rosen believes employers may see in the coming year:

  • 1. Ban the box will continue to pick up momentum. The “ban the box” movement is quickly heading toward becoming a national standard and will be a hot issue for employers in 2014. The approach eliminates any questions about past criminal conduct in the initial job application to help get ex-offenders in the workforce.
  • 2. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance on criminal records will become a core concern for HR. The new guidance on the use of criminal records in hiring decisions has the potential to affect the hiring processes of every U.S. employer.
  • 3. The use of commercial criminal databases and cheap do-it-yourself websites will diminish as employers face more risk. Part of the drive behind the EEOC guidance was a concern about the accuracy of criminal records. Just one inaccuracy can cost someone a job and lead to litigation.
  • 4. Lawsuits for failing to conduct proper checks or failing to do them correctly will become more prevalent. Given the need for employers to exercise due diligence in hiring and at the same time comply with the complex legal environment regulating hiring, employers can expect to see an increase in legal actions in 2014.
  • 5. The use of accredited screening firms will pick up steam. The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) has introduced an accreditation program for best practices for screening firms that are confirmed by an on-site independent auditor.
  • 6. Offshoring and ID theft will emerge as important factors for employers. With increased media focus on identity theft, employers are under increased pressure to protect the personal identifiable information (PII) of job applicants when it comes to background checks.
  • 7. Social network searches will diminish as a tool for background checks, but will grow for purposes of recruiting and sourcing. A number of states have passed or are considering laws that prohibit an employer from requiring an applicant to hand over a social network password.
  • 8. Credit reports will continue to be in disfavor and may disappear from the hiring landscape. Some states have placed significant limits on the use of consumer credit reports in background checking and news reports have questioned their use for employment.
  • 9. More employers will include international background check options in their hiring processes. With more than 190 political entities in the world, employers cannot assume that screening internationally is the same as domestic U.S. processes.
  • 10. Technology and integration with applicant tracking systems will decrease the time and effort needed for background checks. In 2014, employers can expect to see more robust systems where applicants do the data entry or employers simply click a button in their applicant tracking systems and they are done. New technology is also speeding up turnaround time.

Rosen is the author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual,’ a comprehensive guide to background checks, and helped found the NAPBS, the nonprofit voice of the screening industry. He founded Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) is 1997 in the San Francisco, CA-area and the firm is accredited by the NAPBS. For more information about background checks, visit

Talent Management magazine – a trademark of MediaTec Publishing Inc – is a leading and trusted voice in the Human Resources (HR) industry that reaches an audience of HR and business decision-makers focused on complete human capital management to help them create and maintain high-performing workforces. To subscribe to Talent Management magazine for free, visit

About Employment Screening Resources® (ESR):

LesRosenPhoto_Aug2012_SmallWhiteBorderFounded by safe hiring expert Attorney Les Rosen in the San Francisco, CA-area in 1997, Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority®’– provides accurate and actionable information that empowers employers to make informed hiring decisions for the benefit of their organizations, employees, and the public. CEO Rosen literally wrote the book on background checks with “The Safe Hiring Manual” and ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by a small percent of screening firms. Employers choosing ESR know they have selected an agency meeting the highest industry standards. To learn more about ESR, visit, call toll free 888.999.4474, or email [email protected].