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The Great Resignation and Your Background Screening Processes

Date Published: February 10, 2022 | Last Updated: September 15, 2023 | By Jeramy

It’s tough hiring — and retention — environment for employers these days amid what is being referred to as “the great resignation.” After several months of working from home and the associated stresses of the pandemic, employees in massive numbers are either changing jobs or leaving the job market entirely.

In November, 4.5 million people left their jobs according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics—total separations were at 6.3 million. These massive shifts are causing consternation among employers and their HR teams.

How are these concerns impacting the background screening process? Are employers being proactive in conducting background checks? Are they taking a do-it-yourself approach or contracting with firms such as Accurate?

We reached out to several HR leaders to better understand the background check environment amid the great resignation.

Background Screening Still Important

One thing came through loud and clear—even amid the great resignation, background checks are still necessary. Employers want to ensure that they’re hiring people with the qualifications they need—and the background and credentials they claim they have.

Teri Shern is co-founder of Conex Boxes and says the company hasn’t changed its background screening process much due to the great resignation. But, she adds, “we already trusted our screening process.” It is, she says, “an extensive screening process because we’ve always wanted to ensure we’re hiring the right employees who will want to stay with our business for a long period.” A good screening process, Shern says, “can make a big difference to our employee longevity.” The great resignation, she says, is highlighting that for employers.

However, some of the things they’re looking for have changed since the pandemic emerged. For some, for example, college degrees are becoming less critical [JG1] as a screening consideration.

College Degrees Declining in Importance for Some

Stephen Light is co-owner and Chief Marketing Officer at Nolah Mattress. He says that while college degrees are still important to hiring managers, there’s a larger emphasis on skills.

“A college degree can certainly still get your foot in the door and make your application a standout, but there’s certainly been a shift post-pandemic in the skills that organizations are screening for in their interview process, with a deeper focus on soft skills than ever before,” says Light. “Obviously, holding a certain degree and having hard skills is a necessity for many jobs, but in a world that’s constantly shifting and changing, employers are beginning to look for candidates with potential who show an openness to learn and a growth mindset.”

Still, verifying education credentials remains an integral part of the hiring process, says Todd Sedmak, corporate communications manager with National Student Clearinghouse, which works with Accurate on degree verifications. “We are seeing significant interest in degree verifications, not less throughout the pandemic,” he says.

And employers are still alert to certain red flags that may make a candidate less appealing.

Watching for Red Flags

“The same red flags are still of the same importance,” says Light. These, he says, include “things like bad references, multiple periods of unemployment, and an inability to field important interview questions.”

Light says that seeing multiple jobs on a resume is not as much of a red flag as it used to be. “In this day and age—especially coming out of the great resignation, it’s true that sometimes there are extenuating circumstances that have nothing to do with a candidate’s reliability or loyalty.”

And, of course, despite the pandemic and difficulties finding, hiring, and retaining talent, employers still want to ensure that the talent they bring on board will serve the company and its key stakeholders well.

Despite the Great Resignation, Employees are Still Applying for Jobs

Henry Davis, the owner of Adept Golf, points out that even though many employees are leaving their jobs, many also are looking for new jobs. “Now that there is an increase in people resigning, there is also a good number of people applying for jobs,” he says. Because of this, doing background screens becomes even more important. His company, he says, believes in a good screening process. “We believe that it is the key to growing your company for the better and making a better working environment.”

Many others agree. In this environment, though, as employees are increasingly coming and going, it can be tough to stay on top of all types of screening that should be done to help protect the company and those it serves. That’s where background checking organizations like Accurate can play an important role.