Well, not so fast, my friend, as Lee Corso likes to say. A new survey results report from EmployeeScreenIQ, Employment Screening Practices & Trends: The Era of Heightened Care and Diligence, brings up some important issues and is interesting on several fronts.
First, from a regulatory perspective, it would seem that employers aren’t paying a lot of attention to the relatively new EEOC guidance on criminal background checks that was released in April 2012. According to the survey, of the almost 70% of respondents who said that their organizations have reviewed the EEOC guidance, only a little more than half of them have not made changes to their screening policies as a result. More interesting, though, is the 32% of respondents who either weren’t familiar with or haven’t reviewed the guidance. Huh.
Second, more than half the respondents report that only 15% or less of job candidates distort their resumes to the extent that they aren’t hired. This is surprising given the perception that distorting resume claims is the best way to be disqualified from employment opportunities. Surprisingly, these survey results may reflect that employers see resume distortion as a minor factor in the screening process. Huh.
Third, and most interesting to me, is the impact of the legal uncertainty for using social media as a source of background screening information. This uncertainty appears to have scared the you-know-what out of employers. Huh.
Actually, I’m not sure I believe the data here. Or rather, the survey questions may not have been posed to the right people.
Really? Only 36% of employers always or sometimes check social networking sites for background information? Huh. Here’s what I think is happening. Those corporate folks responsible for filling out surveys like this – in the recruiting function – know the legal quicksand that is forming around the use of social media for employment screening and are clear that their formal guidelines restrict the use of Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, blogs, etc. in this way. This doesn’t mean that hiring managers aren’t doing it anyway. In fact, I think it’s a fair bet that although many employers are specific in excluding social networking sites for candidate background screening, as reported in this report, hiring managers do it anyway. All. The. Time.
That’s why the next survey question’s answers seem highly suspect to me.
Don’t have time? Right. Not relevant? Please.
I guarantee that hiring managers make the time because they think checking out “social” behavior is extremely relevant.
This report brings up some great questions for recruiters and hiring managers and shows the need, I think, for greater communication between these two groups. Staying on top of EEOC guidance is, of course, a critical part of HR’s regulatory and risk mitigation obligations. Evaluating the impact of resume distortion is part of the recruiters’ responsibility. And staying current on the evolving legal decisions in the employment/social media space is a critical new high impact area of contribution for the HR and recruiting functions.
One might not think that the arcane world of background screening would present such an interesting opportunity for HR pros. Think again.