Employers may find background screening more challenging this year as they attempt to comply with new laws restricting their access to candidates' personal information.

FREMONT, CA: The background check industry in 2022 was no exception to the adage "necessity is the mother of invention." The past year has seen a peak in the importance of identity verification in the modern screening process, along with other forms of screening, such as social media searches and post-hire screening. New technologies have changed these domains, which will continue to evolve and impact the sector's future in 2023.

Social Media Searches and Post-Employment Verification

Social media searches have become indispensable for human resources departments. Recent years have demonstrated the importance of hiring genuine employees who reflect their company's cultures and beliefs. In a climate of increased polarization, businesses are also on the alert for indicators of bias, extremism, and workplace misconduct that could create a hostile work environment or tarnish their brand. Social media searches can reveal positive and potentially problematic behaviors, allowing businesses to take the next step with the ideal brand ambassadors they seek.

Post-employment screening is a long-standing problem that has garnered increasing attention. Many organizations take a hands-off approach to screening their employees and volunteers beyond the initial background check. While it is true that some searches, such as employment and education verification, are unlikely to yield new information if repeated post-employment, others, such as criminal background checks, driver abstracts, and license and certification renewals, can benefit from periodic verification. In six months (or a year or five years), a lot can change, including the likelihood of fresh and relevant criminal records appearing on the background screening reports of some employees.

Identity Authentication

The concept of identity verification is not novel in Canada. Decades ago, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) made it a prerequisite for receiving a criminal record check, and physical identification verification was the only option for many years. A candidate must present two valid forms of identification in person before completing a criminal background check.

Electronic identity verification has gained prominence in recent years. This alternative to physical identity verification was brought to the Canadian market over a decade ago. It has since shown to be immensely useful for assessing remote workers and applicants in various contexts where face-to-face interviews are impractical, such as the gig economy or licensing and regulatory authorities.

Electronic identity verification ceased to be a luxury when faced with the latest pandemic and became a requirement. With social distancing mechanisms in place, it became impossible to require a candidate to authenticate their identification in person. As a result, the background screening sector utilized various new technologies to establish identity, including—facial recognition using biometric identifiers, live video chat ID checking, biographic data verification, verification of telecom and device communications, and ID document verification.