COVID-19 Update: Despite court closures in many areas, Sterling is still able to complete criminal checks with minimal disruption thanks to our proprietary end-to-end automation that allows us to access court information. For additional info on how Sterling is handling the COVID-19 situation, please visit our COVID-19 page.

January 3rd, 2017 | Debbie Lamb, Sterling Talent Solutions

What Could 2017 Bring to the Background Screening Industry?

Child with scope and avator hat

It has been quite the year at Sterling! We started off 2016 as SterlingBackcheck and ended the year as Sterling after a successful merger with TalentWise in the beginning of the year. We acquired RISQ Group and Verified Person and grew to 20 offices in 9 countries with over 3,900 employees. Sterling is now trusted by over 50,000 clients worldwide, including 25% of the Fortune 100, screening 12 million candidates annually with more than 80 million searches.

The Hot Topics for Employment Background Screening

At the end of each year, everyone puts out recaps reflecting on the past year’s accomplishments, but we wanted to take a look into our crystal ball to see what 2017 holds for our industry. Below are just a few background screening trends to keep your eye on for the this year:

Candidate Experience

How many people have sent resumes or applied to job listings and never heard a word from the hiring company? It happens all the time and could leave a negative impression of the company in a job applicants mind. It’s crucial for employers to keep candidates informed of their status and progress throughout the hiring process. Transparency should be the focus for recruiters to human resources departments to hiring managers.

According to a webinar given by Monster, the candidate experience is all about the interactions between job seekers and the people behind the brand and how the candidate perceived they are being treated throughout the hiring cycle. Regardless of the size of the company, the ability to attract and recruit top talent depends on the ability to manage their hiring process. The interaction with a company’s brand, its people and technology is a personal experience for every individual and a bad hiring experience could reflect negatively on the business. In 2017 and going forward, it will be very important to weave candidate experience into all levels of hiring, but especially during the background screening process. Make sure the candidate knows and understands why you are conducting a background check, what information you are looking for and what might give you pause for concern. Take time to outline the background screening process, how long it typically takes and explain what information they will need to provide and why that information is needed.

A background check is often the last step in the hiring process, so it can be a scary exercise for candidates whether they have something to hide or not. It’s so important for employers to recognize these concerns and to ensure that all of the great efforts they’ve put into recruiting their prospective employees carries forward through the completion of the background check.

Regulation and Compliance Updates

There is no doubt that any election and new administration creates uncertainty over what rules/laws will be created or repealed and how those rules/laws will be enforced by our bureaucracy and our courts. We think it’s fair to say that our most recent election cycle has stirred more uncertainty than many can remember, so 2017 is guaranteed to hold many answers for all of us.

It’s important to point out that compliance will always play a major role in the background screening industry. There will always be new regulations created and voted on in every level of government: local, state and federal. Employers need to be kept informed of what information they need to provide for background checks and hiring forms.

New Technology

New technology is continuously being developed to improve the candidate and HR professional’s experience. There will be a larger focus on developing mobile apps to enhance the candidate application and background screening experience. Mobile isn’t just about the device. It is about being immediate and always-on and the hiring process should be too. 

On a grander scheme for background screening technology, integration with ATS systems will continue to expand. So too, will the capabilities and flexibility of the integrations. This is a big win for both employers who can eliminate a number of manual processes while streamlining their hiring workflows and for candidates who won’t have the burden of duplicate data entry. On the backend, integrations allow the background screening results to flow seamlessly to an employer’s HRIS system. We also foresee the expansion of technologies that allow for portable background checks whereby the candidate and not the employer orders and pays for the background check. The candidate then owns the results and can share it with other companies and organizations. This is a great solution for volunteers and freelance workers who are part of the new gig economy.

Commitment to the Future

The future of the human capital management industry is exciting and every changing. As the employee background screening industry continues to become more saturated, Sterling is focused on strengthening our core business, while expanding our product, automating manual processes and continually innovating our technology, product, client experience and global offerings.

Keep an eye out on our blog this year, regularly bringing you the latest information for all your background screening and onboarding needs.

This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.