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The Magnificent Seven: The Coming Trends that Will Impact Background Screening

Authored By W.Barry Nixon, SHRM- CMP

As the publisher of The Background Buzz, the leading newsletter for the professional background screening industry, my monthly preparation involves reaching hundreds of articles and publications that deal with hiring, recruiting, talent management and acquisition, from business journals and blogs, to management publications.

I would like to focus on the “magnificent seven” key trends, but first I want to highlight some that I find to be inherently obvious. This includes the current binge of class action lawsuits for FCRA violations and the use of mobile devices in consumer marketing and selling.

Those that have been chosen for the top seven trends include good and bad news for firms involved in conducting background checks. Some track with the growth in the job market, which will cause an increase in the demand for background screening services and others that involve emerging technologies and their effect on the mature industry of background screening.

1. Ban-the-Box will become the Norm
With many states naming some form of variation of Ban-the-Box laws, it is only a matter of time until a national debate will ensue about the need for one overarching federal law for all employers.

2. Pre-hire Reference Assessment Tools to Rise
With technology making it easier for employees to work from just about anywhere, a recent study revealed that 53 million Americans now freelance – or 34% of the country’s workers. Background screening can be a challenge to perform on someone who is their own boss, but reference checking with a freelancers’ customers can assist, while also fueling the growth of online pre-hire reference assessment tools.

3. Fast Hiring Will Drive Changes in the Fundamental Way Background Checks are Performed
Capital magazine reported that it can take 42 days, on average, to hire someone. But with advances in connectivity, websites, accessibility and communication platforms, the hiring process can take as little as three days to complete.

4. High Turnover Trends Will Feed the Increase in Growth of Background Checks
Many employees who stayed in their current positions to ride out the recession now are ready to take the leap, leaving HR departments shaking their heads at the increase in turnover rates. Bad for employers, but great for background screening firms!

5. International Background Screening Will Continue to Grow
China is leading the way in international background screening, but more companies are entering the marketplace. Right out of the box, though, was a lawsuit filed by a rejected applicant about improper use of background checks and prison terms one firm’s violation of privacy laws. Background checks now are required to work at schools in India and will likely become the mainstream, stimulating growth in the background screening industry.

6. Big Data Will Change Everything
The focus on talent and hiring technology likely will soon emerge with the current hiring frenzy intensifying. Big data, coupled with the right technology, can provide new insights and predictive patterns into employees, leading to improved recruitment and talent acquisition decisions and a strain on the need for a background check.

7. Move over LinkedIn
It is my prediction that a new contender that will be FCRA compliant and will give traditional background screening companies a run for their money will compete with LinkedIn as the top B2B social media outlet used for job screening and pre-employment screening.

Post By Barry Nixon (262 Posts)

W. Barry Nixon is the COO, the leading background screening information portal and online worldwide directory of professional background screening firms and Suppliers to the background screening industry. He co-authored the landmark book, Background Screening & Investigations: Managing Hiring Risk from the HR and Security Perspective. He also is the publisher of award winning newsletters, The Background Buzz and The Global Background Screener, and the author of the Background Checks column in PI Magazine.

In addition, Barry is a past recipient of the elite ‘Top 25 Influential People in Security’ by Security Magazine and past Co-Chair, International Committee for the National Association for Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). He currently serves as a Global Ambassador for NAPBS.

You can contact Barry at 1-949-770-5264 or online at