How Technology is Transforming Background Checks


David Mudd

With a higher number of employers, financial institutions, landlords, and even the dating realm depending on background checks, it seems like information is constantly changing hands at a rapid rate. In fact, what used to be a long, tiresome process can now be completed almost instantaneously, thanks in part to artificial intelligence (AI) and complex algorithms. These website algorithms can take extensive datasets and transform them into unique and identifiable trends. Over time, these trends can begin to recognize patterns to search habits and learn as new information is shared and absorbed.

With websites like Check People, a popular background check website, the algorithm happens almost instantaneously. In addition, the predictive nature found with AI and algorithms allows users to input basic information about an individual and cross-references the results with highly probable references. This technology development means that any essential information is likely to provide current, factual findings without manually processing or cross-referencing anything.

This simplified process has taken background checks from weeks (typically three to four weeks) down to seconds. With access to complete and comprehensive records, the automation of pulling a person’s data is streamlined. Information is highly detailed and organized in a comprehensive report.

How Technology Has Streamlined Financial Records

One of the sections found within a background report is an individual’s financial records or credit reports. Before technology, this process involved completing applications as an individual or as an employer, mailing them off to the credit bureaus, and waiting for the file to be returned. As imagined, this often delayed employers, particularly in the financial sector. Alternatively, some employers would hire promising candidates on the condition of credit report findings. As a result, these companies would subject themselves to risk (assuming they knew nothing of the employee’s financial stability), potentially compromising client accounts until that returned.

With the implementation of technology, companies can better vet potential hires, confirm their financial accounts, and review files in what is practically real-time. Likewise, individuals can efficiently track and monitor their financial history, lowering the chance of identity theft or compromising their accounts. The security technology has brought to the financial and economic sector is notable.

How Technology Improved Police Checks

Prior to technology, any volunteer or employee wanting to work with the vulnerable population was required to go to the police station and complete the necessary documentation. The station would manually pull their records and send additional forms to the head office for further evaluation. Fingerprints, signatures, and forms of release were all mandated before finalizing their report. For many wanting to work with children or the elderly, this meant a delay from the time of request to the start of their employment.

Additionally, these documents were often completed annually or semi-annually to ensure that all staff and volunteers maintained an active status. As a result, those found to have criminal records would potentially be left at the company for months (or years), leaving a breach of security. After all, employers working with vulnerable members of society need to ensure their staff is free of criminal convictions.

With the implementation of technology, waiting periods for volunteering and employment are removed. Companies needing a comprehensive police check can do so through the platform without requiring waiting periods. Additionally, companies can receive continuous monitoring for all hires, should they pay for the service. Constant monitoring of staff lowers risks to clients, staff, and company liability, creating a safer working environment for all.

Removing Barriers to Employment Qualification Verification

There’s nothing worse than an employer sifting through countless applications, only to discover that one of their candidates has lied about their qualifications. Previously, employers were responsible for confirming credentials through post-secondary schools, past employment, and references. This verification process was not only time-consuming but costly as well. However, with the development of online background checks, employers can verify employment history, complete with any employment gaps. Likewise, technology has connected employers with post-secondary institutions, showcasing any degrees or certificates completed.

Development of Social Media Screening Process

With nearly 4.33 billion active social media accounts, now more than ever, employers are screening applicants for any potential conflicts of values, morals, or controversial beliefs. Through artificial intelligence and algorithms, technology can complete this process quickly and efficiently. This means you’ll be able to identify any social media profiles for applicants without having to spend time manually searching online.

If you’re trying to find employment, ordering a background check will offer valuable insight into what’s noticeable online. These tools can also be beneficial to monitor your online footprint and limit risks for identity theft (creating fake profiles to imitate another person). If you happen to discover profiles that aren’t you, reporting them to the social media network is an essential first step to shutting them down. Many users will create fake accounts to try and send out phishing requests (for money, download viruses, or establish an online presence).

Technology has improved background checks by virtually removing the time needed to receive the report. It has also changed the way employers access information, eliminating the time between interviewing and hiring, providing increased security to employers and staff, and reducing the risk profile of their team. Finally, technology has connected individuals to their personal information. Financial records, credit reporting, job history, and medical files are available and accessible within minutes.

With higher levels of information comes a higher level of responsibility and personal improvement. Technology is the connecting piece between personal accountability and real-time accessibility, it has bridged gaps in time and has made background checks easier to implement overall.