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May 14, 2020

Alternate Screening Solutions Employers Should Probably be Using

thumbnail_banner_AlternativeScreeningProducts_blogIn the wake of COVID-19 employers are striving to keep their businesses open and profitable. Doing this means that there is still hiring that must be done.

A difficult and unwelcome consequence of the pandemic is that certain background screening products that were once mainstays of an organization’s hiring plan may be unavailable or slower than usual to return. If you are hiring, you may need to consider some alternate screening methods to your background screening process.

Problem! Drug Testing Sites Are Closed

Depending on your location, drug testing sites may have temporarily closed. Reasons for this include the city where they are located are on lock down, multiple staff have contracted the virus, or they decided to close to minimize the risk of infection. Whatever the reason, this can force your candidates to travel further to get drug tested or be unable to get tested at all.

Alternate solution: While some industries (particularly DOT) require certain off-site tests, there are drug screening solutions that your organization can use at your office or job site.

Two of the most common ones are:

  • On-site urine testing. Test for drugs in an applicant’s system by asking them to submit to an on-site drug test. These tests screen with either 5 or 10 panels, depending on your preference, and return in just a few minutes.
  • On-site saliva testing. Screen an applicant, or current employee, by asking them to swab the inside of their cheek. These tests supply both 5 and 10 panel testing and are simply and quick to administer.

In addition to drug testing obstacles, employers may be forced to deal with the next issue, depending on where they are located and the areas where they are hiring.

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Problem! County Courts Are Closed

Some states have closed county courthouses, and this can hinder getting county criminal records checks completed on job applicants. This is especially significant when the records are coming from smaller areas. Many larger cities offer online records searches, but small or rural towns don’t. This means someone must physically go into the courthouse and retrieve the record. Obviously, if courts are closed, this is impossible.

Alternate solution: Fortunately, there are a couple of options that helps HR and hiring managers screen potential employees for past criminal behavior.

  • State searches. Certain states compile an all-county database of criminal records which can be accessed electronically. In these cases, you can order a state search even if the county courts you need are closed. However, some states have regulations that prohibit them from collecting county data this way, so the availability of using this solution depends on the states you are conducted hiring and screening.
  • Database searches. If you aren’t already, a national criminal database search can help fill that gaps that closed courts have left. With a database search, you essentially cast a net over the U.S. and receive information from counties and states that may not have been originally targeted to search. While these are not complete (think of it as we stated above, a net) these searches may show you criminal activity you wouldn’t have found with a different search.

Problem! It May Be More Difficult to Get Info

With some courts, companies, and schools still being closed, it may be harder or impossible to get thorough intel on a candidate’s criminal history, employment records, and education verification.

Alternate solution: Employers wanting recent, relevant information on job applicants may choose to look to social media profiles for insight.

When it comes to social media screening, it’s not a smart best practice to start checking the candidate out without a proper plan in place (you may see things like a person’s religion, disability, or other protected piece of data). However, third party screener can look into his or her social media presence. How a person presents themselves online can tell you a great deal about their attitudes and behaviors. For example, comments that include racism or sexism, and posts about violent or illegal behaviors can shed light on candidates who could cause problems for your company. Social media screening can pinpoint these tendencies BEFORE they damage your company.

As our economy moves slowly toward normal, employers must keep their fingers on the pulse of their background screening processes. Being ready to revise and edit how it’s accomplished will keep information flowing and continues to assist in hiring the best, most qualified people for the job.

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