Millennials Could Dictate the Future of Employment Screening

As the reins change hands from Generation X to Millennials over the next 20 years, the work force will be replaced by tech savvy security managers looking for fast, convenient, and portable solutions to employee background checks. The future of preemployment screening is mobile availability, according to Marc Malloy, vice president of HireRight, Inc., the world’s largest background screening software company.

In the future, “the way background checks are ordered, how they’re studied, and how these reports are made, all of these things are going to be on an entirely different platform,” Maloy said in a presentation on the future of preemployment screening earlier today (June 9, 2011) during the monthly ASIS International Information Asset Protection Council and the Privacy and Personnel Information Management Council meeting.

Background information on potential employees is still received by fax or mail, Malloy said, but the demand for digital will only increase over time as managers of the future seek to lessen the time between hiring employees and having them start work.

He also addressed the topic of screening social media profiles of potential employees. Recent statistics show that with the help of Millennials, social media have replaced e-mail as the leading form of communication online; surprisingly, however, Malloy said the demand for social media searches on potential employees is low.

“We don’t believe social network screening is ready, from a maturity standpoint, for businesses to consider that in background screening, but we know they do it anyway,” he said. “[Employers] that do it are looking for drug, violence, or sexual references, “ he said.

There are legal considerations specific to social media, however.

Social media profiles can provide another look at a potential employee, but rejecting potential applicants or new employees because of content on a social media profile is still a gray area and opens a company up for discrimination lawsuits or other types of laws, such as claims of violations of privacy rights. (For more on this, see “How to Avoid Hiring Mishaps” by Lester S. Rosen, Security Management, May 2009.)

Maloy said he only knows of one company that searches social media sites as part of a preemployment background check.

That company is Social Intelligence. On its Web site, it refers to social media searches as a catch-22 situation. “If employers ‘Google’ job candidates, then employers are vulnerable to discrimination charges and job candidates are vulnerable to discrimination. If employers don’t Google job candidates, then employers are vulnerable to litigation due to negligent hire and job candidates are unrecognized for assets, achievements, and contributions,” they present on their homepage.

Social Intelligence said they protect both the employer and the employee by only searching for employer-defined objectionable material. They also provide a service that tracks the public online activity of existing employees. (Security Management has noted that experts warn against looking at social information placed behind a wall for authorized viewers only.)

Other companies are taking it slow. “We’re not super comfortable with it,” Maloy told those listening in to the conference call. “Once there’s one or two cases that set a precedent, then we’ll build a product.”


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