By now, you’ve heard of Edward Snowden. We covered the abominable gap in his background screening process and the resulting lawsuit not that long ago.

There is consensus that Snowden is a high-profile and alarming case study for all employers but  less-reported cases should also raise concerns. The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) reports “an increase in negligent hiring lawsuits and the threat of terrorism have given rise to an increased demand for background screening, driving more organizations to more closely scrutinize potential employees and volunteers. Screening is no longer for sensitive or high-level positions only: organizations that employ minimum wage workers and use volunteers are now rolling out screening programs.”

Major trends like ‘Ban the Box’ captured our attention at the start of the year, but by the end of 2014, we expect that social media, e-recruiting and mobile apps will top our trend list. Here’s our first-quarter predictions:

Social Screening Surprises

Facebook. LinkedIn. Twitter. Instagram. Pinterest? Social media has created a playground of personas and it can be a dynamic tool to get to know someone. But how far is too far when it comes to using social media to check up on job seekers? Turns out, it’s a fine line and one well worth understanding.

As RJ Frasca, our Director of Marketing & Communications, pointed out in “7 Steps to Implement Social Media Background Screening,” social media is great for recruiting, but it’s dicey to use it as part of the background screening process. If you’re overzealous, you can unknowingly step into unlawful territory. Until state and federal lawmakers find common ground on this issue, your best bet is to download our free 23 page guide to Applicant Background Screening in 2014.

Mobile App Misery

2012 and 2013 saw a slough of federal sanctions and settlements against the makers of background screening mobile applications. Some were warned about possible violations while others were slapped with Federal Trade Commission charges. That will continue in 2014 and beyond until all mobile app makers comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

HR Integration

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) expects technology – specifically, software programs that integrate background screening services into their HR platform – will see robust growth in 2014. Experts say these software programs will streamline the hiring process, lower costs for employers, and be more transparent to candidates. Not only will employers save time and money, but job seekers will feel more comfortable knowing what employers are searching for in their backgrounds.

Smart Job Applications / E-Recruit Me

Just last week Alexandria Shrum, our own marketing virtuoso, wrote about the future of mobile job applications in her Pick of the Week. Let’s take it one step further here. As The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post have pointed out, companies are attracting plenty of smartphone lookers to their job post boards but they can’t seem to find a way to let those job seekers dial into the application process. Potential candidates grow frustrated at the lack of immediacy, or in the choppy navigation process, then forget the position even exists. The two worlds – recruitment and hiring – need to be complementary (at the least) and symbiotic (at the most).

 Companies interested in investing in mobile HR should follow the lead of these three companies.

 Ideally, a mobile job application portal will have some of these qualities:

  • Top-notch design. No pinching. No zooming. It should be easy to read and most importantly, easy to navigate.
  • Tighten up the info-process. Use auto-fill. Use geolocation capability. Find out what really matters to you for the hiring process and put it on the mobile application. Save the rest for follow up.

 Job seekers will want to have this stuff ready:

  • Resume. Store it on Dropbox, Google Docs or some other cloud storage solution. Online resumes on LinkedIn are fine, too.
  • Keep your social media profile current. And clean.

 What’s Your Top Trend?

You’ve heard ours. Now let us know yours. We just might reach out to you for a follow-up!

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