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Temporary Worker Background Checks

Posted by Jeff Pelliccio on Jun 19, 2017 9:00:00 AM

In ICS insights

For many centuries, employers had to rely on personal references to determine a potential employee’s character.  As records became digitized and easily searchable, it became common for employers to demand background checks on new hires.  While most background checks are relegated only to criminal history, a growing number of companies are looking to include credit history and personal matters in their background checks.  For the most part, however, these background checks have been reserved for full-time employees.  As companies start relying on an increasing number of freelance and temporary employees, there has been an increase in the number of companies requesting background checks for these employees.

A recent study from HireRight showed that nearly 86% of employers are screening their temporary, contract, and freelance employees.  This is a huge increase over the 2012 figure of 45%. , but the reasons behind this increase are not fully understood. Here are some explanations:

Increased Job Responsibilities

One of the most commonly cited reasons given by employers who are asking for these background checks is that their continent workforce is given more access to company systems than they have been in the past.  Historically, companies have relied on contract workers for distinct projects and/or job functions.  Tasks such as filling orders, stocking shelves, or answering the phones did not give employees access to critical systems, so background checks were viewed as unnecessary.  
Today, a growing number of companies are using temporary workers to perform highly skilled work, which can mean they need access to company bank accounts, personnel records, and other proprietary information.  A potential data breach or theft can have devastating consequences for a company.  Therefore, background checks for employees with access to sensitive departments of the company are increasingly required to got through extensive background checks.

Drug Screening

While a growing number of states have started to decriminalize drugs such as marijuana, nearly 80% of companies indicated that they had no plans to change their drug policies.  For companies that deal with heavy machinery and/or complex operations, these drugs pose a threat to safety, regardless of the employment status of the person using them.  Furthermore, most insurance policies carried by these companies require that every person working in particular areas have a clear drug screen test.  Drug screens have now become an almost standard part of the hiring process.

Public Record Searches

Searching public records, including social media profiles and other online databases, was almost unheard of for all but the highest level employees a few years ago, but today it’s becoming much more common.  An informal survey of employers has indicated that people are lying on their resumes and job applications more than they were five years ago, and nearly 85% of employers have caught a candidate in a lie about his or her background or experience.

As this part of a background check has become more accessible to employers, more companies and organizations are looking into the backgrounds of their temporary and freelance workforces. This is giving them the ability to weed out a large number of potential candidates and eliminate potential employees who don’t really have the background or skills needed to do the job.

Of course, the biggest potential problem with these background checks is the amount of time it takes to perform them.  While running a criminal or credit check can take just a few seconds, the  increased screening required of an extensive background check can take hours.  Fortunately, skilled staffing firms are able to perform these checks so that their clients only get a pool of candidates that are qualified for the positions they need to fill.

If your organization is looking to fill positions, but you’re not sure how extensive their background check needs to be, or if you just need assistance in carrying out a background check, contact the staffing professionals at ICS.  They have years of experience helping their clients navigate the hiring and background check process.
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