Screening Your Contingent Workforce

Many HR executives hesitate from managing the contingent workforce because they fear contractors might be legally deemed permanent employees. Thankfully, HR professionals who would traditionally shy away from screening contractors are now taking a more responsible approach in managing this growing segment of the workforce. Historically, background checks did not include contingent staff, and even a few years ago that idea was considered a novel concept. Today, the tide is turning as more and more organizations indicate that they are making sure that contractors get screened. Checking a contingent

worker’s background is not the same as declaring them a regular employee; it’s a sign that employers are prudent in managing risk. What’s most important is that employers apply the same screening processes to temporary workers as they do for permanent employees. The chief pitfall for HR departments is when they hire contingent workers through an agency and assume that agency is performing a thorough background check. It’s not enough to assume the agency is conducting background checks, nor take its word that it is effectively screening individuals. The hiring world has changed drastically from a place where the contingent workforce could be ignored to where it needs to be actively managed. HR professionals’ concerns about the quality of background checks and preventing discrimination should be equally strong for contingent workers. HR professionals need to be judicious in how they manage contractors, but the benefits of acting decisively dramatically outweigh the risks of simply hoping for the best.

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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