How to conduct background checks and pre-employment requirements during the Covid-19 pandemic
With Covid-19 still in full swing, the world continues to grapple with the challenges of work life in the new normal. The process is especially difficult for employers. The hiring process, for example, has become more complicated or time-consuming for many companies due to the effect and restrictions of COVID-19. These extra measures may cause missed opportunities in attracting and keeping the best talents in their organization.
Still, there are solutions and measures that can make the HR workflow more manageable for both hirers and jobseekers. These should be able to cover pre-employment requirements and asking important background check questions during the screening. Here are some tips for employers who are looking to optimize their hiring and background check process amid the ongoing pandemic.
Create a list of essential pre-employment requirements and alternatives.
Given the current situation, it will often be challenging, if not impossible, for many jobseekers to put together all the usual pre-employment requirements in one go. Here are some tips in streamlining pre-employment paperwork;
Consider scaling down the requirements or documents to the most essential ones, and as required by the positions you are hiring for.
Allow candidates to submit not-so-crucial paperwork (transcripts, and the like) as soon as they are able to. Remind them occasionally that you will be asking for these documents or records once they are needed in the future.
Note down the pre-employment requirements that can be filled up remotely and submitted online.
Provide recommendations or alternatives for requirements that are difficult to submit.
Since many offices and institutions are on a reduced workforce, expect that the release of the usual employment requirements will be delayed. Many jobseekers may not be able to book appointments in NBI clearance branches right away. Fresh graduates may not have their Transcript of Records until the coming months. Some jobseekers may also be wary about being exposed to Covid-19 while lining up to get their documents processed.
To make things easier for you and the candidates, provide them with some alternative or temporary options for their pre-employment requirements. Some examples of alternatives:
If you really require an NBI clearance but they are not able to set an earlier appointment in their NBI clearance branch of choice, you may instead ask them for a Police clearance in their area. While its coverage is not as extensive as the NBI clearance, this option uses the National Police Clearance System which consolidates all records from different cities in a single database. As with NBI clearance payment and registration, jobseekers can also file their appointments online.
Instead of official transcripts for fresh grads, temporarily request for digital copies of their report cards. Most universities already employ an online system for releasing grades.
Medical tests are difficult to come around these days. Instead of the usual comprehensive medical checkup, opt for a simpler oral-fluid collection that can be done at home.
Work around delays instead of stopping background checks and screening.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), companies have a few options if they want to push through with their usual hiring process.
Prioritizing certain types of screening. "Some companies are looking at what is most important to them and may decide to eliminate certain types of background checks," employment attorney Pamela Devata shared with SHRM. She also added that foregoing screening altogether may lead to negligent hiring lawsuits and other problems for your organization.
For companies in industries required to do drug tests, medical certificates, or Covid-19 tests on prospective employees, employers can partner with an accredited clinic that can conduct the necessary tests. Waiting for the results may slightly delay the employment, but at least you will be ensuring safe working conditions for everyone in your organization.
A workaround for attaining a Transcript of Records is to contact the universities directly to verify if the jobseeker is indeed a graduate of their institution.
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to test the new normal systems we have put in place, hirers must remain on their toes. It is important to reinforce your recruitment workflow with reliable solutions and resources that are adapted to the challenges we face today.
Use Talent Search to find the right candidate for the right job. Visit the Jobs and Resources hub for more expert advice on navigating the challenges of hiring and managing talent during these difficult times.
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