6 Background Screening Trends to Watch in 2019

By Wholesale Screening Solutions |


Background screening companies and employers are watching their worlds evolve and transform with the rise of technology, the growing concern for privacy and data protection, and the increasingly complex regulatory environment. As we look ahead to what 2019 will bring, there are some key trends we see driving the background screening industry and impacting wholesale data providers, CRAs, employers, and applicants alike.

Here are 6 trends we’re watching:

1. Removal of PII from court records

An important unfolding trend involves jurisdictions removing personally identifiable information (PII) from the public index in an effort to protect the privacy or identity of individuals. This trend has unfortunate and even dangerous side effects, as without PII in the records, it makes it harder for public records researchers to provide accurate search results. As a result, what was intended to be a positive step to protect individuals, can actually come back to harm them, as the accuracy of a public record search result is adversely impacted. The lack of certain key personal identifiers means common names can easily be confused and employers run the risk of an applicant being unfairly excluded or judged.

Removal of PII is something every CRA and employer should understand, watch, and actively address.

Learn more here: https://www.wholesalescreening.com/blog/protecting-pii/

2. Class-related claims against CRAs

The threat of class-related claims against Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) remains an active concern in the background screening industry. Employers have been subject to violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) that have resulted in millions of dollars in class action settlements in recent years. And it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier. Despite going all the way to and through the Supreme Court, the Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins case may have actually created more confusion than clarity regarding the validity of certain federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) claims. Since then, courts have fallen on both sides of Spokeo, with some finding a narrow definition of actual harm and others still interpreting mere technical violations of the FCRA as actual harm. The point is, CRAs and employers need to be careful that their background screening processes are buttoned up and in compliance with FCRA rules.

Learn how your public records research provider can help or hinder your compliance efforts: https://www.wholesalescreening.com/blog/public-records-research-compliance/

3. Vendors and CRAs building their technology

Employers/end users are adopting technology to automate and streamline all aspects of human resources management, in particular, compliance. Employers will continue to leverage experience, compliance knowledge, and technical skill to create innovative software solutions, in collaboration with their public record research providers, that more effectively address long-term systemic industry-wide compliance challenges.

Which leads us to the next trend….

4. Research providers as compliance partners

CRAs are increasingly requiring their research providers to keep up technically as well as from a compliance knowledge perspective. We will continue to see an increase in the types of due diligence a CRA directs toward its public records research providers. Examples include knowing the details of the providers’ quality assurance program; their error rates and error rate trends; how they demonstrate subject matter expertise; and their knowledge of different jurisdictions with respect to research methodologies and availability of data.

Learn more here: https://www.wholesalescreening.com/blog/compliance-quality-legal/

5. The 180 degree turn of data reporting

It used to be that CRAs would ask the research provider to supply everything available from the information source. Today, that approach of “over-reporting” is so potentially dangerous to the end user, CRA, and provider, that the new standard in the industry is to request from the provider less than the maximum depth and breadth of information available from the information source.

This trend toward erring on the side of “under-reporting” as opposed to “over–reporting” has its potential up- and down-sides. On the positive side, under-reporting can allow someone who might otherwise be excluded from certain opportunities based on a past criminal record, to receive a fairer chance at some opportunities. On the other hand, if a CRA is limiting what it’s reporting due to fear of defending itself in litigation rather than reporting the maximum depth and breadth of information legally reportable, the end user and CRA could suffer legal and brand-related problems when someone gets the wrong job and causes harm. It’s a catch 22 situation for employers and CRAs that will continue to be difficult to navigate.

Learn more about this trend: https://www.wholesalescreening.com/blog/compliance-quality-legal/

6. Push back against the commoditization of the industry

Here at Wholesale Screening Solutions, we see research providers who position their services with low cost as their only selling point. This low-cost approach seems great for business, until something bad happens. In cases that involve a class-action lawsuit, a catastrophic error, a regulatory fine, it really does matter who you’re using as a supplier. Does your criminal record research provider have defensible, well-documented processes? Do they really understand what’s going on in each jurisdiction they provide research in? Often, start-ups or lowest-price suppliers just don’t have the business acumen to meet the increasingly complex requirements of CRAs and end users. When it comes to protecting customers, brands, and profits in today’s complex world, we see more and more CRAs and end users recognizing that low price should be one of many decision criteria in the selection of a wholesale data provider.

Learn more here: https://www.wholesalescreening.com/blog/background-checks-commodity/

Are you prepared for 2019? Do you have the right wholesale research provider at your side? We invite you to strike up a conversation with us, or start by requesting a free trial of our public records or verifications services.

Wholesale Screening Solutions
About Wholesale Screening Solutions
Wholesale Screening Solutions is the go-to source of vital data for employment screening, tenant screening, and risk mitigation service providers nationwide. Combining innovative technology and deep human insight, Wholesale Screening delivers unique value to enable better, more efficient decision making and greater compliance.