COVID-19 has impacted virtually every aspect of work and employment, and the pandemic has had a significant impact on recruiting. Employers that have not been forced to close their businesses due to stay-at-home orders have primarily gone online. Many businesses have had to downsize and layoff staff, leading to huge unemployment numbers. Because of this trend, many employers aren’t hiring. For those that are hiring—from grocery stores to e-commerce companies such as Amazon.com—the coronavirus pandemic has shifted their approach.
Coronavirus recruiting and hiring strategies have largely shifted toward remote and virtual practices, from text messages to phone calls to video interviews and online-based skills testing. With so many companies closing down their offices and workplaces, the in-person interview—with its handshake greetings and close-quarters contact between hiring managers and candidates—has temporarily vanished from the hiring process. Employers that are hiring right now are having to adapt their hiring practices so that they can be performed safely, responsibly, and in a socially-distant fashion.
One area in which COVID-19 could impact your company’s recruiting is employee background checks.
The companies that are hiring right now are largely doing so because they have experienced sudden, sharp increases in need. Grocery stores, takeout restaurants, and delivery services (such as Shipt and Postmates) have seen an increase in demand for their services, which has led to a need for more workers. Hospitals, particularly those in areas hit hardest by COVID-19, have been scrambling to bring more doctors and nurses into the fold.
These spikes in need have occurred quickly and have pushed employers to streamline and shorten the hiring process. There is an urge among some employers to cut out parts of the recruitment, hiring, and onboarding process that take a lot of time. Employee background checks may be an area in which employers consider making changes or cuts—especially since certain parts of the vetting process are taking longer due to the pandemic.
At backgroundchecks.com, we have not recorded delays in most of our checks. The checks that we run primarily operate through electronic databases, including driving record checks, state criminal history repository search, and any checks that utilize our own proprietary US OneSEARCH database. However, because of how COVID-19 has shuttered many businesses and offices across the county, other checks have been slower than normal—for instance, some county courts do not have digitized databases, which means that they require in-person processes to pull criminal records or civil histories. Since these courts are largely closed to the public, these checks have had to occur via phone, email, mail, or even fax—all slower than the standard process. Some education and employment verifications have been delayed as well due to colleges, universities, and employers closing.
Despite these delays, we urge employers to continue requiring thorough employee background checks as part of their coronavirus recruiting strategies. As unemployment rates rise, more people are going to be desperate for work, which could lead to an uptick in resume dishonesty. Running background checks is as crucial as ever to ensure that you are hiring the right person. Contact backgroundchecks.com if you have specific questions about how our services have been impacted by the coronavirus.