COVID-19 Employee Background Screening Challenges

March 2020 is the month that the world of Human Resources will never forget.  The month our HR world was thrown into chaos by a random pandemic none of us knew was coming or prepared to deal with.  The already overworked and understaffed HR departments of the nation were now forced to make some quick and serious decisions for employee safety, while ensuring business continuation.   The 6 weeks it took to organize fifty, seventy-five and/or one hundred percent of your workforce into remote workers created many other problems for business continuity.  Human Resource Departments who conduct employee background screening across the nation were asking themselves the following questions:

  • How do we interview candidates and hire using a remote workforce?
  • How do we get applicants signature on forms?
  • How do we verify a candidate’s criminal background?
  • How do we background check these candidates?

And we were all wondering, are we truly set up for a digital age?

Times like these are when you find out which background screening vendors are truly prepared and will partner with you to make the individual changes you need quickly, offering easy alternatives for your specific hiring needs.  And if you’ve worked in HR in multiple industries, you know how individual employee background screening needs to be.

We are in an incredible digital age and a quick phone call to your background screening partner can relieve many issues you may be running into.  You may have found the opportunity to evolve into new hiring and screening practices adding safety standards that in reality, have improved your screening process.

Covid-19 orders allowed the technology available to you to provide improved hiring and improved screening processes.  With the shelter in place orders and more than half your staff working remotely, technology allowed us to communicate in new and simple ways.  Using text and emailed documents for signatures, e-passports for physicals and drug screening appointments and digital on-boarding and background screening forms.  All of these allowed the entire process to be completed without ever having personal contact with the applicant.

This era is an opportunity to leverage your screening partners to utilize every available feature on their software platform, making your life easier.  Once organizations started turning on some of these triggers and found out the enormity of features and the ease of use of technology with their HRIS and Screening platforms, the hiring world actually became a much simpler process while you were hiring from your spare bedroom.

Every piece of the hiring and screening process can be done digitally, through the technology available to you.  If you have a HRIS system, applicants apply and schedule remote interviews using Zoom.  Once a hire decision is made, emails are sent from the background screening platform and the applicant must digitally sign disclosures and releases.  That applicant can then log back into the screening platform to check the progress of their own background check and immediately dispute any discrepancies found.  This makes adverse action much quicker, shaving off days on any open position that needs to be filled quickly.  If adverse action is decided, it is literally a click of a button to send out a letter from your screening platform.

As we continue to work remotely during these challenging times, embrace the change of processes using technology.  You may just find your life is easier and with more free time than you had handling paper and in person meetings.

If you are unhappy with your current background screening vendor or have questions regarding your employee background screening processes, please call MBI Worldwide at 866-ASK-4-MBI.
“Good Screening is SMART Business”

A veteran employment background screening and risk management professional, Brian D. Chapman is CEO at MBI Worldwide, a global employment background screening company.  Chapman received a degree in Criminal Justice from John A. Logan College and has over twenty-two years of experience in the employment background check industry.  He is an expert witness in employment background checks and compliance, past Chair for the PBSA BSCC council, is a member of the CEO Council of Tampa Bay and a University of Tampa Board of Fellows. Brian has also been twice awarded HR Superstar by HRO Today Magazine.  For speaking inquiries, please email

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