Five Screening Tips to Help You Hire During this Coronavirus Outbreak

Five Screening Tips to Help You Hire During this Coronavirus Outbreak

By Tricia O'Connor

Talent acquisition and retention has changed a lot in just a few short weeks because of the coronavirus outbreak. Many of these changes impact background screening. We’re doing our best to keep you informed about important recruiting, hiring, and human resources issues relating to COVID-19 which may affect how and why you screen. Just this week, we’ve shared these posts on our COVID-19 HR Resources page:

EBI is committed to helping you navigate hiring challenges. Here are five screening tips to help you make the most of this new temporary hiring environment.

1. Be Aware of Form I-9 and E-Verify Changes

The federal requirement to fill out and maintain Form I-9s for all new hires is still in effect. But there are a few changes to that requirement, as well as E-Verify, to make things a bit easier.

Form I-9 – Employers are required to physically inspect documents presented by a new hire to fill out section two of the Form I-9. Since most businesses are implementing a remote workforce, the government is temporarily suspending the “in person” requirement. Until the end of the national emergency, employers may inspect the documents over a video chat app like Zoom or Skype. Employers will be required to go back and verify documents in person as soon as the crisis ends.

E-Verify – Industries mandated to use E-Verify in addition to their Form I-9s are still required to create a case for each new hire within the first three business days. If they are delayed because of the coronavirus, there is a dropdown menu that allows you to choose “COVID-19” as the reason for the delay.

The Social Security Administration offices are closed to the public. This is an issue for employers who receive Tentative Nonconfirmations (TNCs). Normally employers have 8 working days. That is now suspended until the end of the crisis. If you have a new hire who is unable to get a Social Security Number because of the SSA closures, you will have to suspend the creation of the E-Verify case until they are able to obtain an SSN.

How EBI is responding to COVID-19: EBI’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Larry White, has an important message as we all navigate this health crisis together.

2. Courthouse Closures are Causing Delays

Courthouses across the country are delaying some hearings and holding others virtually. It’s essential to the background check process that researchers have access to check criminal records. Some courts have moved to electronic records, but many still must be searched in person.

EBI is aware of some court closures, and we’re regularly communicating with our clients about what we are doing during this unique time. Through EBI’s technology and partnerships, we have access to most of the information needed to complete a criminal background check. 

There may be instances where certain courts’ information is temporarily unavailable. If the court for a Public Records Search is closed, we will immediately alert you that search has not been performed. Once that information becomes available, we will notify you and await your instruction if you would like to reopen the search.

A criminal background check is a crucial piece in talent acquisition. EBI is committed to not letting the COVID-19 crisis disrupt this important task. EBI is operating at full capacity using a 100% US based, remote workforce in accordance with the highest security standards in the screening industry. We will advocate for your needs during this challenging time to ensure you’re hiring as safely as possible.

More Information: Interested in learning how to navigate employee background screening & drug testing during COVID-19? Join our webinar on April 9th at 2pm ET. Registration is open.

3. If You Can, Keep Hiring

Hiring is one of the biggest challenges businesses are facing. Despite the bleak news, there are still opportunities for both employers and job applicants to take advantage of. Businesses should continue to hire for essential positions or extended workforce positions to fill their needs. Be assured it’s still very possible to hire for certain positions even if you’ve had to lay off or furlough other workers. This crisis has forced some employers to ramp up hiring in certain areas (delivery services or IT) while trimming in non-essential areas (public relations and events).

You should also re-examine your screening provider. You need to make sure your existing screening partner can handle the surge, stay compliant, and maintain the accuracy and data security you need. EBI holds the ISO 9001 certification and ensures all EBI clients receive the same quality and benefits, even during the COVID-19 crisis.

ICYMI: Are you in a mad dash to onboard remote workers during the COVID-19 crisis? Here are some do’s and don’ts to make sure you’re hiring remote workers the right way. 

4. Don’t DIY Social Screening

With the need to fill jobs quickly, you may be tempted to skip some of the available background check solutions. This only makes sense if these specific checks don’t apply to the role you’re hiring for. For example, you may not need to perform an MVR check for positions that don’t require driving.

Social media often falls into this category. Many people feel it’s easier and cheaper to examine a candidate’s social media themselves. This is especially true for remote employees, where there is an unfounded stereotype they spend more time on social than in-office workers.

Conducting social media checks yourself is risky, cost-heavy, and filled with holes. You can unknowingly violate a variety of regulations. Here’s a video series on the pitfalls of DIY social screening featuring Philadelphia employment law expert Jonathan Segal and Screening News Network’s Jennifer Gladstone. Click here for Parts One and Two.

5. Follow Healthcare’s Lead – Innovate!

As with any crisis that creates a sense of urgency, there are a few people who see an opportunity to innovate. Here are how some healthcare businesses are responding to a sharp increase in worker demand and why these methods work:

  • Responding to an all-hands-on-deck call, athletic trainers at one Michigan hospital are now being deployed to perform COVID-19 tests. This cost-effective move re-purposed trained, licensed, and screened employees whose job functionality didn’t match patient demand to perform much-needed services. It also prevented layoffs, eliminated re-hire or new hire costs, and didn’t stress its already maxed-out human resources staff.
  • Some health insurance providers are allowing employees with medical training to volunteer at hospitals and some insurance companies are increasing physician availability through telemedicine platforms. This responsive move identified a specific problem – not enough volunteers or telemedicine doctors – and resolved it without a lot of red tape.
  • The President’s national emergency proclamation has eased background check restrictions on doctors who sign up to provide services through Medicaid. This compliant move helped hospitals hire fast by providing sweeping regulatory relief to onboard doctors in an emergency.

EBI Can Help

As always, we will continue regularly updating you on important hiring and screening news as this pandemic evolves. Updates on court closures or other delays will continue to be posted to our client dashboard. You can also join us on social media or subscribe to the EBI Screening News Network

When you need us, EBI is here. Get to know our team and speak with one of our experts.

About the Author

Tricia O'Connor

Tricia O'Connor

Writer. Digital marketer. Storyteller. An award-winning writer and editor, Tricia O'Connor is the Marketing Content Manager at EBI. Tricia worked as a broadcast and print journalist for nearly two decades writing and producing programming for high-profile networks like ESPN Radio, History Channel, and Hallmark Channel, as well as contributing editorial work to publications nationwide. Tricia joined the EBI marketing team in 2019 and is responsible for content strategy, development, and engagement. Tricia earned a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and is a proud undergraduate alumna of Wheaton College in Massachusetts.

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