As states went into lockdown in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations sent employees to work from home (WFH). Though the number of people working from home may fall with the introduction of a vaccine, the trend toward more remote work arrangements isn’t likely to go away.

In the meantime, your background screening and hiring processes don’t necessarily have to take a back seat in this current WFH climate. With the support of screening technology and a committed background screening partner, you can continue to manage hiring risks and protect your workforce as you grow.

Essentials of the Remote Employee Background Check

According to the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), 42 percent of employees are working from home during the pandemic, almost twice the percentage of employees working on-site (26 percent). Though HR and talent acquisition teams (and candidates) are likely to be working from home, this doesn’t mean your organization can’t screen and hire candidates with ease.

No matter the location of hiring teams or candidates, your organization needs to hire efficiently and gain access to background data to help you make informed hiring decisions. This is particularly true in a regulated industry such as healthcare, in which the well-being of patients depends upon thorough background screening. In accordance with legal requirements, healthcare employers must avoid hiring or employing anyone with healthcare employment sanctions or exclusions.

Is your background screening program set up to help you conduct remote hiring  for favorable results? Take this interactive assessment to find out >>

Whether your organization is a hospital hiring nurses and clinical technicians or a manufacturer hiring skilled labor, you can’t relax your background screening standards just because there may be less face-to-face interaction with candidates. A relationship with a reputable screening provider who offers next-gen background screening technology helps you fill in the gaps of an in-office experience. Automation technology eliminates the need for a paper-based background screening process and allows you to complete core background check activities even when they’re remote. From any location, you can work with your screening provider to conduct the following core background check activities:

  • SSN trace — Verify each candidate’s identity and conduct relevant searches of all known names for a candidate.
  • Criminal history search — Search county, state, and national criminal record databases.
  • Sanction checks — Search national databases and lists and learn whether candidates possess employment sanctions or exclusions.
  • Employment and education verifications — Confirm candidate credentials and employment experiences.
  • License verifications — Verify candidate licenses are active and up to date.

Background Check Tips for Hiring Remote Employees

As your organization pursues its goals, chances are you may be hiring now or have plans to hire in the near future. You’re not alone. Despite a climate of uncertainty during the pandemic, hiring activity continues in many industries. The most recent jobs report shows private-sector organizations added 749,000 jobs

Wherever you hire, you need to maintain quality and efficiency in your background screening program. Take the following steps when hiring remote employees:

Leverage available technology

Background screening technology automates the background screening process so you can exchange information with candidates from any location. From disclosure and authorization documents to candidate demographic information, screening technology takes the paper out of prehire background screening.

Screening technology also allows you to monitor employment sanctions and exclusions for your healthcare workforce. Continuous exclusion monitoring is a completely digital solution designed to let you keep track of developments within your workforce no matter their work location.

Some of the other ways background screening technology supports your remote hiring process include the following:

  • Applicant tracking system (ATS) integrations allow you to pull candidate information directly from the ATS, helping you avoid double entry.
  • Simplified single and batch ordering processes allow you to request background checks in a matter of clicks.
  • Comprehensive dashboards provide an organized view of the status of background checks, so you can keep track of where candidates are in the process.

Comply with applicable laws

No matter the location of a new hire, you need to comply with applicable laws affecting hiring processes—for example, “ban the box” laws and salary history bans. Your background screening provider can offer resources and tools to help you stay abreast of new trends and legislation impacting your hiring activities. 

You can also take advantage of electronic I-9 services. These help you conduct employment eligibility verifications for all new hires without having to collect physical copies of passports, driver licenses, and other documents. Also, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have waived in-person requirements for review of new hire employment eligibility documents through at least Nov. 19, 2020.

Use paperless drug screening

A paperless drug screening solution provides candidates with instructions for choosing and visiting a testing lab in their area. Candidates select a preapproved testing site, and you’re notified when candidates have completed testing and results are ready for review. 

Paperless drug screening is equipped for mobile use, making it easy for candidates to complete their testing and keep the hiring process moving. Instead of dealing with paper forms or sending instructions over email, employees in any location can complete their drug screening using any device.

Apply multiple methods for employee verification

Telephone isn’t the only way to complete employment and education verifications. Because candidates (and their former employers) can be based anywhere, it’s essential to use a comprehensive verification process incorporating multiple contact methods—email, fax, phone, and integrations with third-party databases.

Using multiple verification methods not only gives employment and education verifiers more ways to respond to requests, but it also increases the chances of getting a reply and cuts back on inefficient phone tag. As a result, you get thorough verification information for candidates based anywhere.

Offer a seamless candidate experience with remote onboarding

The hiring and onboarding process go hand in hand, so it makes sense to deliver a seamless experience for candidates who will soon be your employees. Creating a positive candidate experience delivers benefits to candidates and your organization. According to IBM research, candidates who have a positive experience during the hiring process are 38 percent more likely to accept a job offer. They are also more likely to recommend the organization to others.

You can improve the candidate experience by streamlining the onboarding process. Using available integrations, you can pull information from your ATS and background check system into your onboarding platform. When you also allow employees to access key documents and learning resources online, you cut down on double entry and make for a more comprehensive remote onboarding experience.

Regularly review your program for improvements

With new advances in technology and changes in employment laws, remote work will continue to evolve. To keep your screening program in compliance and aligned with best practices for hiring remote employees, you’ll need the guidance and support of a trusted background screening provider. 

The right background screening partner continues to offer value even after you’ve become a customer. Through quarterly business reviews, your background screening provider can help you do the following:

  • Stay in compliance with new and existing regulations
  • Keep background screening practices consistent with internal policy
  • Identify cost-saving background screening products and services
  • Implement best practices
  • Leverage new technology and integrations

Quality Background Screening in a WFH World

When hiring remote employees, you need to conduct background check activities regardless of the location of candidates or talent acquisition staff. Your background screening partner can provide the commitment, technology, and processes to help you stay in compliance and hire talent efficiently.

To see if your current background screening program is designed to help you conduct remote hiring for optimal results, use our interactive assessment tool and see where your program stands.