Disrupt or be disrupted

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The employment screening industry is at an existential fulcrum – either disrupt or be disrupted.

The traditional rules are being challenged, patience is no longer a virtue and the new language of ‘tech speak’ creates a dynamic which requires fast learning and out of the box thinking from industry leaders. The days of providing an employment screening service driven by experienced colleagues, underpinned by a proprietary IT platform for recording and reporting screening results are numbered. Our customers – HR/Resourcing heads and their applicants – have higher experiential expectations than ever before in the execution of their onboarding processes as the competition to attract the best talent heats up. 

The race to keep pace with technology change in 2019 and beyond is our biggest challenge – and our greatest opportunity. Contracts will continue to be awarded based on a screening vendor’s technology capability in offering candidates – and clients – the best possible onboarding experience. The industry is seeking memorable and intuitive ‘day one’ journeys for candidates, which serve to anchor employee loyalty from the start and frame rewarding careers. Speed will be key, with automated screening processing integral to fast, compliant results. Pure play technology entrants will continue to emerge, promising ‘press of the button’ employment screening results, which inevitably only surface a fraction of the full spectrum of potential risks which, in our view, can only be achieved by combining world class technology with an interrogative human mind. 

The job seeker or employee will become subject matter experts in the domain of their personal data security.  Applicants will expect to self-serve during the screening process; they will want to view their results and re-purpose these for other life activities. Moreover, they will only expect to be screened once, not continuously with each new employment or engagement, as is the case today. GDPR has opened the door to individuals porting their screening data, particularly employment references and qualification check results.  This disruption is highly attractive to the contractor screening market, where protracted screening activities delay onboarding and earning capability. 

With some screening-related system developments potentially out of date only months after launch, integrations with niche technology partners and data suppliers will underpin future success. IT development roadmap-sharing with trusted partners, and agility in setting up commercial partnership agreements will drive fast growth, supported by internal system integration teams who will feed from product development experts scouring the international market for new technology enabled offerings. Those screening businesses who can bolt on multiple new checks via integrations and go quickly to market will be those who survive 2019 and beyond. 

Finally, social media checks will continue to grow in importance in our industry, although there will be increased governance around how social media is accessed, interpretation of results and at what point these can be used.  Clients will deploy these checks regularly with identified risks in mind for applicants and employees as a major safeguard against reputational damage.  Associated social media services will continue to emerge as additional offerings, which will address social media profile cleansing for individuals who may require their profiles to be ‘tidied up’ in preparation for responsible employment or other activities.