Staying Ahead of the Evolving Changes in the Pre-employment Screening Space

Kellen Baker, Director of Recruiting Strategy, Ratner Companies

Kellen Baker, Director of Recruiting Strategy, Ratner Companies

What are the trends you’ve witnessed happening within the Pre-employment screening space?

One trend that I have witnessed is Assessment taking place even at the leader level with the assistance of various organizations and technologies. At Ratner, we are leveraging AI to better assess an applicant’s skill and competencies and build an accurate profile for them. Arming hiring managers and recruiters with information that will help them assess applicants even before for the first conversation takes place is one of the many benefits of using AI. We currently have assessments for leaders, mid-level manager, and executive that are useful to gauge one’s individual and cultural state. What we are looking at now is technology to put in place for the frontline employees. We have a large set of individuals at the company, and those associates currently go through a behavioral and technical interview, but we don’t really have assessments. We would love to be able to do better at seeing who is going to be a good fit for a particular position in order to increase the organization’s overall efficiency. This trend impacts the entire HR landscape greatly.

"The most important thing for any organization is speed and any technology that can help create a quick process where we don’t have to ask a lot of information from candidates is worthwhile"

Another noticeable trend is of cities and states placing more ordinances to protect a candidate’s privacy, which is making it increasingly difficult for employers to perform accurate background checks. This evolving trend has pushed organizations to look for solutions that would help them make a proper assessment and stay ahead of the changes in compliances or ordinances. A facet this trend greatly affects is the compensation structure for recruiters, who need to be able to command the price they deserve.

“Employers have shown increasing interest in screening candidates’ online presence. In 2019, more background-check providers will offer online and social media searches as part of their suite of products, but employers must ensure that these searches protect candidate privacy and don’t run afoul of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) or standards set by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).” How is this particular trend impacting the pre-employment screening space?

I don’t think online screening is crucially beneficial as you find a lot of unnecessary information on social sites which might be hard to segregate. From a compliance and regulations perspective, there are various privacy laws that we have seen in Europe and as well as in the U.S., which is why I personally don’t feel it is in our best interest to use it as a pre-screening qualification. Recruiters should tread that path carefully.

Nowadays most social media platforms encourage flamboyancy over accuracy. It is kind of like the 80s and 90s of HR where people were asked to provide reference to companies for more information as part of the evaluation process. However, rarely were all the references vetted or they were false positives, making the sources unreliable. This may be true for online screening as well. If a person is aware of the fact that his/her social media will be part of the screening process they may be cautious about the information they reveal, which would hinder organizations from making accurate decisions. Thus, rendering the entire process redundant while burning daylight.

What would be the single piece of advice that you could impart to a fellow or aspiring professional in your field?

I do think that we have a lot of access to information in this age of technology. The most important thing for any organization is speed, and any technology that can help create a quick process where we don’t have to ask a lot of information from candidates is worthwhile. We can effectively evaluate and get them as quickly on board as possible. Candidates have access to jobs all across the board, and with the world moving towards a mobile environment, every asset or application is available on their fingertips. A decade ago, an applicant would have to provide private details such security numbers, create a username and password, build a resume, attach it to a profile and send it across to organizations. And sorting through all that information was a manual process as well. The stressful and time-consuming process has been simplified over time but candidates now have control over the information they share with organizations. Additionally, the amount of time an applicant is willing to give to organizations for the evaluation process has decreased, enterprises need to adapt to innovations that they can leverage to gain the advantage they need to for hiring.

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