Data driven background screening in the 21st Century

Digital transformation is changing the way people and industries engage. Access to information has become easily attainable and platforms have evolved to allow for remote services on-demand. So, what does this mean for the background screening industry? Should professional vetting companies utilise this online data because it is now easier to access, and is background screening still meeting its purpose on these platforms?

Digital transformation is changing the way people and industries engage. Access to information has become easily attainable and platforms have evolved to allow for remote services on-demand.So, what does this mean for the background screening industry? Should professional vetting companies utilise this online data because it is now easier to access,and is background screening still meeting its purpose on these platforms?

 

With social media platforms making personal information available at a click of a button, it is difficult for employers to ‘play blind’ to the reality of what is available for public scrutiny. “While it may be hard for an employer to ignore character traits of an employee based on what the employee has posted or been tagged in on social media, it is very important that the employer considers that such screening is compliant, and consent based,” says Michelle Baron-Williamson, CEO of Managed Integrity Evaluation(MIE).

 

“We have all read stories about people losing their jobs because an employer discovered something incriminating on their social media pages. However, new regulatory legislature such as the Protection of Personal Information (POPI), are set to guide what personal information is directly relevant to companies when they make hiring decisions, especially as private information becomes more exposed in the public sphere,” adds Baron-Williamson. “It has been said that compliance will impact technology, processes and the manner in which employers process personal information. As much as technology is providing for easy access to information, as well as convenience and agility,it is still essential that these technologies cater for accuracy and mitigate the risks that come with cyber fraud that can exist on digital platforms.

 

New technology

As industries make a rapid shift from traditional methods to digital platforms for their own internal processes, the transition is also impacting the background screening arena. “In recent times, background screening vendors have updated their tools and solutions in an effort to create a seamless candidate and employer experience. Some of the very visible evolutions have been online applications and verifications that provide candidates with progress status in real-time,” elaborates Baron-Williamson.“While this is great for user experience, authentication technologies are still important to ensure you are dealing with the right person. Solutions that are merged with biometric verification, such as fingerprint and iris identification,are classic examples of narrowing risks and ensuring accountability.”

 

Background screening remains an essential practice in the hiring process - which is why it is important to maintain compliance and keep up-to-date with the changing legislation that regulates data. The erupting digital environment is also set to advance in the nuance and sophistication needed to tackle these types of issues, as they arise in the digital world.

 

“It is possible to embrace new technology without losing credibility for background screening. Digital adoption needs to be centered on security for accuracy– which is the very essence of background screening,”concludes Barron-Williams.


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