How Can Companies Appropriately Screen New Remote Workers?

By Michael Klazema on 6/18/2020

Even as some regions begin to lift their lockdowns to jump-start the economy, the COVID-19 pandemic has ensured that typical social conventions will return far more slowly. From maintaining appropriate distancing to wearing masks, daily life looks different for many, and so does the workday. 

Working from home, or WFH, is no longer just a way to reduce office overhead and provide scheduling flexibility for valued employees. Tens of thousands of businesses received a crash course in maintaining a remote workforce as lockdowns swept the nation, and more than a few have found that the new procedures offer some distinct advantages. 

While there are many reasons for a business to consider hiring more people engaged in remote work, the process and the pandemic create unique challenges. What can a company do to bypass hiring roadblocks?

Establish Clear Screening Guidelines for All Staff

Whether you're bringing aboard temp staff to fill in gaps created by a surge in demand or patching up previous layoffs, vetting must be fair and equitable. Don't overlook the importance of screening temporary workers. Avoid falling into the trap of thinking, "they'll only be here for a short time." Any amount of time is enough for a bad actor to damage a company or its reputation. Consistency is the key to fair hiring. 

Keep It Legal

Do not forget that vetting temporary workers with background checks is no different than hiring a full-time staffer. The same rules and procedure apply, such as the FCRA, the Civil Rights Act, and any local "ban the box" laws that may be in force. Review these regulations and check them against your existing or proposed hiring procedures. 

Even if you do not conduct in-person interviews, fulfilling the obligations of ban the box regulations requires direct discussion with your candidates. Consider transitioning interviews with video conferencing software where possible to minimize contact. 

Use Screening Tools Designed for the Digital Age

Quality information leads to clear outcomes in your vetting procedures. Though some employers worry that COVID-19 may make background checking harder, disruptions to digital criminal data systems are not widespread. Finding a partner that delivers high-value information at a speed appropriate for reducing time-to-hire is essential, as is selecting tools that provide your business with enough information to make a smart choice.

With the average person moving more frequently and living in multiple places over his or her career, keeping track of criminal records isn't easy. With tools such as the US OneSEARCH by, however, all the data appears in one report that is easy to read and as complete as possible. Using resources such as these and embracing the benefits of remote work will give your business a stronger footing for success.

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