The need for employers to overhaul and update their hiring strategies has come into sharp focus with the publication of two recent reports and the upcoming changes in data protection regulation:-
- One study found that while the number of background checks being carried out on prospective hires have increased, they are often seen as a nod to compliance rather than an integral part of a streamlined, successful process.
- The CIPD reports on further research from CV Library which found that one in five employees are leaving their jobs either during or at the end of their probationary period. The main reasons given for early departures were the job not meeting expectations (43%) and new hires finding a better job (23%). This reinforces the findings of a report published by Korn Ferry in April which found that up to one in four new hires left their jobs in the first six months.
The two reports suggest a disconnect in candidate screening and selection and a tendency for employers to treat recruitment as what has been described as a ‘tick box’ exercise’. This approach is exacerbated by the fact that nearly a quarter of candidates aren’t asked to provide references by employers and of those that do, only one in four are followed up. To complicate matters further, nearly half of candidates admit to providing inaccurate information on CVs and hiring teams often rely on online searches for 'background checks'.
This practice will have to change as new rules relating to data protection come into force next year.
The impact of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
Employers relying on social media searches to screen candidates must introduce more effective hiring practices to avoid breaking the law pending the introduction of the GDPR which comes into force on 25 May 2018.
Two of the principal areas it will affect HR are:-
- In its obligations to provide information to its employees and applicants about how their personal data is processed.
- New requirements around record keeping in order to demonstrate compliance with the GDPR.
While it is not an illegal practice, early guidelines suggest that employers screening candidates or existing employees via social media should have a legal justification to do so or risk breaking the law. For example, if a job seeker’s application is rejected based on their social media activity, there may be an argument for discrimination in that decision making process. Reviewing social media accounts will also inevitably be influenced by the unconscious bias of people carrying out the background checks.
Prioritising safety and employer brand over ‘compliance’
Part of the problem is overcoming HR’s perception of the reasons for background checks. In the US, background checks are almost universal, according to HR.com, driven by the need to keep employers and customers safe and protect a company’s reputation, rather than viewing them as a ‘compliance’ exercise. 96% of employers carry out at least one or more background checks on permanent hires and two thirds screen their part-time employees too.
The Supreme Court’s ruling of ‘vicarious liability’ against supermarket chain Morrison’s last year demonstrates the potential impact relating to safety. But as we highlighted in an earlier article, navigating the fine line between discrimination and due diligence in background screening is not straightforward, so how does HR successfully and safely bridge that screening gap?
Bridging the screening gap
One of the major problems highlighted by the initial survey is the lack of investment in current recruitment processes which often fail to respond to the demands of candidate driven jobs market. To avoid potential liability, improve candidate screening and reduce the levels of early departures, support your hiring process with recruitment software which offers the following:-
- Integrated background checks such as DBS and mandatory credit agency checks through your recruitment software. HR can then focus on the critical period between job offer acceptance and start date to ensure that your new employee doesn’t renege on their job offer.
- Pre-hire assessments, such as situational judgement tests (SJTs), video interviews, personality assessments or psychometric tests adapted to your company criteria and specific requirements of your job posts to ensure a better culture fit.
- Reduced bias. From social media searches to making snap judgements on meeting a candidate, unconscious bias affects recruitment decisions, contributing to failed hires and early departures in your organisation. Remove unnecessary screening filters in your applicant tracking software and introduce the use of anonymised CVs to ensure the candidates you meet are the most suited to your vacancy and company culture. As a final step, support your candidate selection with the data in your HR analytics.
For more information on the GDPR, please see the ICO website (Information Commissioner’s Office) here.
Bridge the gaps in your screening process with Advorto’s Marketplace, the UK’s largest single online marketplace for recruitment services. All services are easily integrated through our applicant tracking software.
Contact us today to find out how.
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