Background Check Expert Explains How COVID-19 Affected Background Checks

Criminal Background Check

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

“At a time when workers are in demand and seemingly in short supply, the background check process has been creating a bottleneck in the workforce supply chain,” according to an article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, because “COVID-19, and the resulting health and safety restrictions, slowed down much of that process.”

One of the background check experts interviewed for the article, Attorney Lester Rosen, the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of leading global background check firm Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), explained how and why the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic affected background checks on job applicants.

“When COVID hit, we got double hammered,” said Rosen – the author of “The Safe Hiring Manual” who founded ESR in Northern California in 1997 – in the article entitled “Delays in background checks for new hires could be creating another hurdle for employers” written by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Lauren Rosenblatt.

“First, the logistical hit. Courts were closed. Businesses were closed. Then, the financial hit. Just like any industry, companies running background checks had to deal with a pandemic that suddenly changed the dynamic and availability of work. When hiring stopped, so did business for companies running the checks,” Rosen said.

“Paycheck Protection Program loans helped background firms stay afloat, the recovery started to occur, and courts began to reopen and people went back to work,” Rosen said. “But fast forward to delta, and now the problem is like any, like a lot of other industries, the background screening industry is having to hire like crazy.”

The background screening industry is “tiptoeing toward change,” Rosen said. “The problem with background screening is, it’s a lot more complex than people think. Even if you speed up one part of the process, it doesn’t help until the entire report is done. A background check can only go as fast as its slowest element.”

Rosen was the chairperson of the steering committee that founded the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) in 2003 and served as its first co-chair. In 2019, he received the PBSA Lifetime Achievement Award that recognizes an individual’s contributions that advanced excellence in the screening profession.

COVID-19 is a deadly respiratory illness that spreads from person to person. As of October 12, 2021, there are approximately 238 million global cases and 4.8 million global deaths, while the United States leads the world with approximately 44 million cases and 714,000 deaths, according to research from Johns Hopkins University.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – which was ranked the #1 background check firm by HRO Today in 2020 – offers a free white paper about “Due Diligence and Background Checks in the Age of Coronavirus” and posts blogs on how COVID-19 has impacted employers. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.

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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