Should You Run a Thorough Background Check if Hiring a Remote IT Worker?

The new normal of remote work requires some shifting in your approaches and workflows. The data shows us that at least 70% of U.S. companies are at least allowing for hybrid work from home/office models. By 2025, more than 36 million Americans will be fully remote. But do your remote workers need to fall under the same rules as office staff? What about the background check for new employees? Should it be different from full-time in-office staff? Particularly for your tech teams—what rules apply?

Background Checks and Your Remote IT Teams

Remote IT workers are different. They aren’t in your office. So, the liability issues related to accidents on-site don’t really apply, do they? But does this mean you should skimp or hold back on the background check for these remote workers? The answer is probably not, simply because these workers do still have the potential to damage the company. They will possibly be dealing with sensitive, private data, and they could irreparably harm key computing systems that run your company. Remote IT workers also have less supervision than those working in-office.

When you consider it from this perspective, running a background check on your remote IT workforce may actually be more important—and not less.

Should Your Background Screens be the Same for IT Remote and Those In-Office?

To protect your business from fines from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or from employee or candidate lawsuits, you should definitely screen consistently no matter where the candidate works. Asking a remote worker to submit to more or less of a screening than anyone else is wrong and risky in the eyes of the current regulatory environment. So, be careful to be as consistent as possible.

Can Any of Your Screenings Be Different?

While the types of screening should be the same, how you collect the data may be different. These days just about everything is done online, and certainly your IT workforce will expect this.

IT workers who reside outside the state where your primary office is may have different rules for collecting information that governs your process. While you should generally follow the rules of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, be aware that each state and many municipalities have enacted supplemental rules around background checks. If you’re using an accredited background screening company, they should be more than aware of these diverse laws across state boundaries.

There are typically three types of screenings that we see for all workers (including remote IT employees):

  • Checking the candidate’s driving records.
  • Reviewing the person’s criminal history.
  • Drug screening may or may not be required, as well.

Some companies, like banks or financial institutions, may even conduct a credit check of their employees. Of course, these checks should be disclosed to the candidate as part of the offer process.

Blackstone Talent Group helps companies build their IT teams, whether you’re looking for remote, on-site, or hybrid workers. Call on us to find out how we can cut your time to hire and find you the talent you need.

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