Desperate Times Call for Prudent Measures

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If there’s a silver lining to all this, COVID-19 has created significant hiring opportunities in myriad fields.  The candidate pool is now brimming with talent who have been furloughed or laid off, and a great many companies have had to significantly increase hiring to meet the demand created by the shift in the public’s buying methods and need for specific products.

Industries as diverse as finance, pharmaceuticals, groceries, technology, and more have had to shift into overdrive to meet these demands. And their needs are producing a ripple effect that touches and creates a hiring need by their vendors and suppliers.

Yet caution and temperance remain watchwords for all organizations that have accelerated their hiring. Conducting background checks remains as critical as it always has been.

Employers may be questioning how this change comes about, what segments of business is it affecting, and if it is a transient response or a permanent shift?  Candidates may wonder who is hiring, and what kinds of jobs are available?  Most importantly, all players in the hiring space should understand how background checks will help keep companies requiring fast hiring safe.

We’ve changed how we purchase goods.

The far-reaching effects of COVID-19 – perhaps they could be called side effects – are reshaping many aspects of our lives. We used to regularly and comfortably shop at retail stores but, with sheltering in place in effect in numerous cities and states, online shopping has gone through the roof. And not just Amazon, Walmart, and the other well-known digital storefronts. Everything from wine to furniture to meals is being ordered online and delivered to the front door, facilitating social distancing. This new paradigm is creating demand for personnel in multiple fields, creating hiring opportunities not only for the retailers, but the manufacturers and purveyors supplying them. And they need to fill these positions fast.

Which businesses are hiring?

Opportunities are being created in unlikely as well as obvious places. And as these companies augment their staffing, they will need their suppliers, vendors, and other suppliers to keep pace and ramp-up. This strong ripple effect is already permeating multiple industries. According to an article in The Muse dated April 6:

  • Kroger, the largest supermarket by revenue, needs retail clerks in stores throughout the country
  • Health technology giant Phillips needs engineers, mechanics, sales managers, laborers, and many other types of employees at locations across America
  • Instacart, a North American leader in online grocery and one of the fastest-growing companies in e-commerce, has plans to bring on an additional 300,000 full-service shoppers to support cities nationwide
  • Intuit, Wells Fargo Bank, and many other financial services have adapted or bolstered their online model to continue serving customers
  • Integral Ad Science is hiring personnel to help its customers better capture consumer attention, which has risen since more people are spending even more time online
  • Spectrum broadband services need engineers and technicians to address the sudden shift in the volume of employees who now work from home and get virtually all their entertainment from online content providers
    • This new shift from working in the office to working at home and setting up a home office requires service providers and individuals acquire more product from manufacturers of routers, access points, modems, set-top boxes, streaming equipment such as Roku, cameras, microphones, sound systems, headphones, and scores of other connectivity products — all of which requires engineers, technicians, service support, and other personnel; while the rising tide for more employees at Spectrum and other cable services may not lift all technology boats, it may undoubtedly raise many

These and many more companies are hiring and want to hire quickly. We suggest caution and continuing to conduct safe hiring practices to help ensure it’s done properly. When recruiting new personnel, haste doesn’t only create waste but increases the potential for loss when hiring unsystematically. As HireRight has illustrated in a variety of materials[1] we’ve published over the years, new employees — and even long-time employees — may pose a risk to an employer. This includes temporary, part-time, and seasonal workers who may have the same access to vital corporate information as permanent, full-time staff. The risk of financial, informational, and brand reputational loss is more than offset by the nominal cost and short time most background checks take.

Organizations put themselves in potential jeopardy when they abbreviate the hiring process and circumvent their duty to ensure employees do not pose a threat to the organization, its employees, and its customers. As we revealed in our white paper, “No Detours: Why Background Check Shortcuts Can Backfire,” recruiters and hiring managers under pressure to rapidly supplement staff may sometimes be too eager to follow the shortest route on the map. Our paper illustrates that organizations taking shortcuts learn the hard way that hiring the wrong person brings serious consequences such as reputational harm, a loss of faith by their customers, and stock prices that can spiral into freefall.

Advances in background screening solutions, such as those employed by HireRight, have made screenings better and easier for both the employer and the candidate. Criminal and civil records checks, financial reviews, drug/alcohol screenings have been augmented by fingerprinting derived criminal history checks, analysis of social media profiles, ongoing monitoring, and more. It’s never been easier to obtain a 3D profile of all your job candidates.

While it may be a long time before we return to the “normal” hiring practices we followed just a month ago, continuing prudent, safe regimens, including thorough background checks for all new hires and ongoing monitoring for current staff, remain just as important and just as necessary. Some things must not change.



Lewis Lustman

Lewis Lustman is a content marketer who enjoys developing materials that engage, inform, challenge, and hopefully entertain my audience. Lewis is a former journalist for Los Angeles Magazine and the Los Angeles Times, and has worked for a number of leading advertising, marketing, technology, and PR firms over the years. Interested in a topic that he hasn't yet tackled? Drop him a line in the comments section!

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