How to conduct effective background screening during a pandemic


LexisNexis GM Rudi Kruger says adaptability is key to navigating the job market in this environment.

The job market is perceived to be extremely bleak right now as the nation comes to terms with the impact of Covid-19 on the economy. Entire industries have been greatly impacted by the loss of revenue and retaining employment within these tough times is not going to be easy. Other industries, outside of non-essential goods and services are experiencing great losses or poor growth, which means they too will have fewer job opportunities. 

However, while great losses are occurring for some, there are industries and businesses that are experiencing growth – resulting in the rapid demand for manpower and expertise. This demand will surely heighten as the economy begins to reopen and the many needs around our new way of life become more prevalent. This, coupled with the incoming influx of job seekers will keep recruiters very busy over the coming period.   

With more applicants and fewer jobs, recruiters and employers need to ensure they hire the right people for the job. Remote working is also a key consideration going forward, which must be factored in when selecting hires. It is for these reasons that effective background screening matters now, more than ever. 

But when the way we have traditionally done everything has been so greatly challenged, how has background screening been affected? 

Background screening can still be achieved as effectively as before, with just a few minor tweaks. 

Communication: Digital communication is the new norm; therefore, the use of electronic consent forms, electronic signatures and soft copy documentation is advised, with solutions that have been developed in line with signature legislation, ensuring that employment contracts remain well-organised and up to date. 

Verifications: Screening can still be done as it used to be, but with greater assistance of digital screening tools, which are vital when verifying candidate identity, qualifications, credit and fraud listings, among others. Consent remains a legal requirement and can be obtained using online solutions. 

Background screening solutions offer ease of access to all the relevant databases – including the Financial Services Board debarment register, the FAIS Comprehensive Search, Consumer Goods Council records, South African Police Services records, Credit Bureau reports, South African Fraud Prevention Services, Professional and directorship membership reports.

Shared Fingerprint Databases are also great tools which give recruiters access to fingerprints that were previously captured and often require only the name and ID number of the candidate for verification, provided that consent is obtained prior. 

While recruiters can prepare for what is to come with what is already known, the fact that things are changing rapidly means that adaptability is key for any industry attempting to navigate the job market going forward.  So as the economy evolves, so too will the way we recruit and screen. Ensure your teams and the tools you make use of are prepared to ride the wave as well.  

For more guidance around using technology to support your background screening programme, visit:

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