Pre Employment Checks and their importance in the New Normal
The early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic were marked by considerable delays in planning, preparation and strategy management for recruiting and talent management, especially background screening tests which are mandatory for industrial positions depending on the products developed and researched. Medical industries were also unable to conduct health screening checks and ascertain health status of screened candidates to reduce further health risks due to remote working procedures implemented worldwide to prevent the spread of the pandemic. The drastic measures implemented by governments worldwide to quarantine facilities from preventing the infection from spreading. Now, as prolonged lockdowns have kept the community spread at bay, we have adjusted ourselves to the new normal. HR workflows have been changed or modified for conducting the process workflows remotely, like conducting remote documentation checks, health checks and orientation for qualified candidates and new hires.
In the post-Covid scenario, organizations and HR professionals aim to provide a seamless approach to ease and speed up service and process completion for recruitment, all the while maintaining strict protocols. As the Covid-19 pandemic has taken a drastic toll on communities and the global economy, organizations have had to face the urge to move to new business and process workflows to help themselves stay afloat while focusing on their HR to make room for new hiring processes and work setups and remote background screening.
Virtual / remote working has become the prevalent norm, and this has increased the risk of storing sensitive data and other related classified information. Companies worldwide have started operating remotely, under a business continuity plan, to safeguard and protect the workforce and clients from physical contact. Therefore, this has raised the grave concern of proper employment screening and background verification procedures, now more than ever.
Most of the organizations have propped up data security measures within their physical and virtual setups, like creating and implementing virtual private networks (VPN) for ensuring data security and standardized service delivery. Employees are also provided with individual laptops / desktop computers for official use from a remote location. The IT departments in organizations have been propped up to continuously monitor and, in case of any security or legal breaches, notify the HR. They should also work in conjunction to ensure that only the tools provided by the organizations are used by the employees. Also, social distancing measures must be enforced for employees who come to work at the office.
Automated Employment Screening
Employee background screening is generally outsourced by recruiting organizations so that their HR can invest more on strategic matters and business objectives. Employment screening is aimed at pooling in only the trustworthy and bona fide candidates who have a great professional record and display a solid and resolute character without any negative records. Possession of valid government IDs by the candidate(s) is also assessed in the background verification check.
However, the pandemic and imposed lockdowns have created a lot of difficulties for the background screening and verification industry as workforce has been drastically reduced in size, due to post-covid layoffs, with increased workloads and tighter completion deadlines. A solution to their problem is the application of automated tools and policies to complete employment screening services at a much faster pace. This practice has made cybervetting the current norm for screening candidate documents and ensuring data privacy. Organizations are conducting regular sessions on data privacy and protection of sensitive information by having members of the IT and HR teams train employees while working from home.
Dedicated portals are put in place beforehand to ensure that dissemination of knowledge regarding use of proper corporate practices is tasked responsibly and communicated well. Another important application in this regard is that of robotic process automation (RPA) to speed up and automate HR processes and workflows, while allowing the HR to work on strategic business matters.
It is imperative that the organizational management choose a viable and trustworthy source in carrying out background verification and screening checks. In post-covid times, due to the disruption of existing systems and practices, it becomes a first and foremost priority to place emphasis on hiring individuals with integrity, character and a keen sense of responsibility and on serving clients with utmost deliverance and value whilst protecting sensitive and private data.
Background Checks in the New Normal
- Drug tests
Drug tests are one of the background screening checks that have recently seen a wide acceptance from organizations in light of the new normal. In this regard, a virtual drug test can be performed wherein the process of placing a simple mouth swab inside a prospective candidate’s mouth is recorded, with the swab being shipped off to the drug test company for results. This process is done in presence of the HR team for better scrutiny. This virtual test is generally enough to ascertain the candidate’s viability except for some special situations when the candidate is asked to physically visit a drug test lab.
- Remote onboarding
The process of remote onboarding allows newly hired employees to get acquainted with their new organization, its rules, policies, new colleagues and more. Everything is carried out remotely on a video conference.
- Health screening tests
Recently, along with various other background checks, organizations have started used covid-19 health apps to ascertain the possibility of a candidate being safe and free from any infection so he / she be permitted to visit the office facility / premises and / or go on an official visit.
- Social media checks
Social media checks are being incorporated into background screening tests for candidates as they can give an insight into the candidate’s behaviour and character.
The “new normal” situation shall remain most likely for some time, with new practices and policies being implemented and accepted on a very wide level. The adoption of advanced technologies and new methods to affect and improve work practices, with the incorporation of a comprehensive background check methodology, can go a long way in improving workplace issues.