5 Background Screening Trends to Watch For

December 9, 2019

Aimie Finck is the Assistant Backgrounds Manager in the Per Mar Security Investigative Services Department. She has worked for Dan Conroy, Director of Investigations, for over 10 years. Not only has she learned a lot, but she is fully engaged in her work. Aimie most enjoys developing new product opportunities as well as researching compliance. Check out her list of background screening trends below!


1. Evolving Drug Testing Drug test results form

Even if you’re in a state that hasn’t changed its recreational marijuana use laws, you’re likely near a state that has. Therefore, you need to start considering how it impacts your internal drug screening policies. We may see a transition from single-method to multiple-method drug testing. For example, rather than solely using urine tests, some companies may implement oral fluid testing.


The results for urine drug screening can take up to a month whereas results from the oral fluid testing only take one week. It’s still not a perfect system but might help identify employees who come to work under the influence.

NOTE: Oral fluid testing is being used for DOT government employees already and the difference in turnaround time is enough for Per Mar, located in a border state, to consider either switching to or adding the new method.


2. The Removal of Marijuana Panels from Drug Tests

Due to recreational marijuana laws being potentially prejudicial, we might see a shift in companies that test for it. Employers may consider removing marijuana panels from their employee drug screening in states, and their bordering states, where it’s now legal.


Employees will be hyper-aware of their rights and there is an exorbitant amount of gray area here. This means employers will have to be overly cautious and essentially perfect in any execution of these laws. Outsourcing to an expert is ideal in these cases!


3. Background Checks Beyond W-2 Employees

The gig economy is booming and independent contractors are on the rise, so we expect to see a trend in pre-employment screening for more than just the W-2 employees in 2020. Case in point, we have a client that hires a lot of independent contractors for their IT work and they’ve decided to screen them all, as we have a separate protocol for it. More and more employers have highly sensitive, confidential areas, like schools or hospitals. That is who we predict will be looking to screen contractors. Even right down to builders or tradesmen, such as electricians, plumbers, roofers, etc. Be on the lookout for a big uptick here!


4. Background Screening Compliance

This is becoming more complex. It’s very specific in some areas, to the point of being nearly impossible to execute or is too time-consuming to justify doing in-house. The new, strict rules and regulations change the landscape of how compliance is handled, making it necessary to have compliance management in places where it wasn’t necessary before.

Compliance management means needing more assistance in company regulations and applicant distribution. One civil rights group making things more complex is based on an American campaign in which every state would create its own ‘Ban the Box’ law, and it’s getting down to the nitty-gritty. The campaign was designed so that employers have to remove the criminal record box from their applications and are prevented from requesting a background check until a laundry list of criteria has been met first. For example, having met and interviewed the candidate in person and, in some cases, offered him/her a job. Once the proposed criteria are met, an employer can then ask for a background check, which varies by state.


5. Automation

As compliance becomes more and more complex, employers will be looking to improve onboarding. With a growing number of applicant forms, automation will become a necessity. Per Mar offers a background check login, which makes the entire onboarding process electronic, signatures and all. This is exceptionally helpful when it comes to compliance disclosures, which are based on jurisdictions; an employee’s home address, the employer’s address, etc. Letting the computer “hand” applicants and new hires the right forms significantly simplifies everything for the recruiter or hiring manager!


Let us know where your company stands on these trends and others you’re seeing. As always, if you have any questions, we’re here to help. Contact Aimie at (563) 468-6723 or AFinck@permarsecurity.com for more information!