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Hiring Challenges During Times of COVID 19

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May 12, 2020 Return to News & Events

Hiring Challenges During Times of COVID 19

Without question COVID 19 has brought forth devastating new realities. Beyond social distancing and flattening the curve, millions have been put out of work via layoff and furlough. Some companies have closed permanently and still others are teetering on the brink. However, individuals working in so-called essential positions are still working, either on the front line or at home.

Despite so many layoffs positions are still available and need to be filled. Many of these positions are with at-risk populations and, subsequently, should still require a vigorous pre-employment background check conducted by a well-qualified third-party background screening agency, such as But employment screening may be challenging.

From SHRM post on April 7, 2020:

Employment background screening has been disrupted as employers adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. In some cases, screenings have been put on hold because courthouses and schools are closed, blocking access to records. In addition, uncertainty about deteriorating business conditions has caused some employers to pull back on hiring. (1)

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of, states: “Despite challenges, at-risk populations need to be protected. Caregivers, technicians, helpers, and related roles need to be thoroughly vetted in order to protect at-risk individuals. But, admittedly, screening can be a challenge in a lockdown environment.”

Many of the workers that managed county court records have been furloughed or work remotely. And with Courts shut down in many parts of the country record maintenance becomes difficult. Current electronic records may not be the most accurate and court researchers do not have access to hand pulled records.

Again, from SHRM post on April 7, 2020:

Completing screens today has hit a few roadblocks, as well. "The fact that there are court closures and people are working remotely has become a huge challenge for everyone involved in screening employees," said Pamela Devata, a partner in the Chicago office of Seyfarth Shaw.

Court closures, while intended to protect public safety, present a practical problem. "Some of the few industries actively hiring during this time are industries working directly with vulnerable persons—industries like health care, transportation, and food or grocery delivery—where background checks are a critical safety step in the hiring process," said Melissa Sorenson, executive director for the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA). (2)

One example of the challenges with pre-employment background screening during COVID 19 occurred with a woman in Oakland, CA.

From San Jose’s Mercury News on April 8, 2020:

Whitney Merchant had been looking for a new job since she left AC Transit late last year. Despite the bleak economic conditions caused by COVID-19, she finally landed a position with a major health care company on their coronavirus communications team.

But Merchant hasn’t been able to start work because her new employer can’t complete a standard background check in two Bay Area counties where courthouses have shut down. (3)

Almeida concludes: “A best practice during good times and times of challenge, such as COVID19, is to work with a third-party pre-employment background screening agency especially as laws governing can change quickly in challenging environments.” is a third-party employment screening company, an advocate of SHRM, a member in good standing with the PBSA (Professional Background Screening Association) and for over 17 years has maintained an A+ Rating with the BBB (Better Business Bureau). The company has highly trained operators well versed in the needs and requirements of companies and organizations large and small utilizing public records, such as criminal background records, as part of a hiring process. Assisting companies in maintaining full compliance under the law is a central tenet of all client relationships with


(2) ibid.

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