In a typical week, I spend a good part of my time conducting background investigations. So what’s different now that we’re all dealing with COVID-19?
Honestly? Not much.
Nearly every background investigation we conduct includes a criminal search. For locations where the process is automated (i.e. records are online), there is no change based on COVID-19. Records were readily available before, and they’re readily available now. That also includes federal record searches, national sex offender search, address searches, most driving records, and most education verification.
A number of jurisdictions have records that aren’t online. Before COVID-19, many of these requests were submitted by mail. That hasn’t changed.
We’ve seen a little change in employment verification. Basically, there are two ways to verify employment: through a third-party automated verification service (such as The Work Number, Truework, InVerify, and others) or directly through the employer (usually the HR department). Just like with automated criminal records, we have seen no change in automated employment verification.
Contacting employers is a little more difficult right now. Since many of us are working from home, it’s been a little more challenging to contact the correct individual. However, once we make contact, everyone seems to be responding quickly to requests for verification. The net result is that the total time to verify employment is about the same as it was before COVID-19.
These observations come from a limited set of fairly standard pre-employment background investigations. If we have to call a jurisdiction to get a record, we may not be able to reach anybody. And the same thing goes for employment – if we’re able to reach people they typically respond quickly. But for some places it’s just not going to happen right now.
So what does that mean for you? Well, if you’re still hiring, we’re still conducting background investigations. That part of the process shouldn’t slow you down.