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Background Checks and Employment Screening: What’s New?

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Employers have done some form of background checks or employment screening for decades. In the early days, it was mostly reference checking and resume verification. In the 1980’s and early 1990’s things started to get a lot more formal as vendors and providers began to offer pre employment screening as a service you could outsource. Prior to that, it was the risk manager or human resources department that did the background checks.

In those early days of employment screening, the push was on to discover as many data sites as possible on behalf of our customers.

This meant that the offering of pre employment screening products grew from just the basics (Criminal Histories, Driving Records, Drug Testing, and Resume Verification) to almost any sort of public record that could be queried or retrieved. For the first 5 to 10 years (most of the 1990’s) background checking companies opened up a range of new data sources: State licenses, Federal databases, wants and warrants, sex offender registries, bankruptcy data….you name it, if it was publically available, we tried to find it, build it and package it.

The 1990’s was the decade of rapid development of new data products and while there are still data sources that open up now and again, the shift in the last decade has been more on the service and technology side. How do we make it faster, cheaper, easier to use. But now that we are moving into the next decade, what is new on the horizon for background checks and employment screening?

 Here are some of the things we see in the marketplace:

  1. Workflow Integration: for quite a few years people have been talking about background check/ATS integration, and while this is still an important offering, the wave of the future is full scale process integration. This goes beyond ATS integration and looks to make background checking a key part of the work deployment cycle.

  2. Just in Time Screening: a concept that is decades old in the manufacturing world is starting to take hold in the world of “resourcing.” You only deploy people when you need them. Trends in outsourcing, project based hiring, and internal job flexibility will require that we rethink the idea of “job readiness.” Background checking in the future will not be just a pre employment process; it will be part of resource readiness.

  3. Job Readiness Scoring: with more data available to assess, it harder to define what it means to be “appropriate for the job.” Does a criminal history always mean “rejection,” does bad credit really matter, does a pattern of great work accomplishments override a blemish found in a background check. These questions are leading firms like Tandem Select to help “sculpt” a solution that fits the company and the job and to create scoring or “ranking” strategies that help the customer evaluate job readiness.

  4. Profile Assessments: Forget the traditional resume verification. The modern workforce is creating a virtual profile that maps who they are, what they have done, how involved they are in their community, their profession, and the broader world around them. Do they blog, are they influential, do they volunteer, do they contribute to the profession. This information has always been hard to ascertain with traditional interviewing and reference checking. Today, with social media checks, it is becoming increasingly available.

In the next decade as the workforce changes and the nature of the relationship between employers and employees evolves into something quite different from what we see today, these and other trends will be a major part of making sure that background checking and employment screening stay relevant. One thing I am certain about, we at Tandem Select are looking forward to the ride. If you want to know more about this and other topics, visit us at



Jerry Thurber is President of Tandem Select, a background screening company located in Colorado. At Tandem, Jerry is responsible for driving the company’s innovation and growth initiatives. He has over 25 years of experience in the field of product development, technical innovation and executive management for human resource solutions.

His experience spans from large scale Fortune 1000 firms to small scale business start ups. Jerry joins Tandem Select from Fetch Inc. a California based artificial intelligence web data harvesting company. Prior to Fetch, Jerry was with ADP, Inc where he was the Division Vice President and General Manager for Applicant Management Services.

Prior to ADP, Jerry was the CIO and Vice President of Product Development at the Fort Collin’s based Avert, Inc for 5 years. Prior to that, he was Vice President of Management Systems and Technologies at American Management Systems, Inc. were he directed commercial consulting and systems development activities in the western region. Jerry has a full spectrum of human resource experience including; running a drug test and occupational health company, an applicant tracking and recruiting company, and a pre employment screening company.

He has also worked in senior management with payroll systems and HRIS systems, including helping to develop HR and payroll systems for the International Labor Organization, the Pan American Health Organization and the World Bank.

Contact Jerry at


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