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COVID-19 Impact: Survey Reveals How Businesses’ Screening & Hiring Needs Have Changed

Grocery store employee wearing at face mask at work

More than half of companies continued to hire during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey by GoodHire. With many candidates being hired remotely, background screening processes like identity verification, education and employment verifications, and criminal background checks are more important than ever. Learn how hiring has changed during the pandemic.

In mid- to late March, in an effort to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the COVID-19 disease, stay-at-home orders were being implemented across the country, requiring employers and teams to immediately and rapidly shift to remote operations. Yet despite the abrupt change, more than half of organizations were continuing to hire during the pandemic, according to a new survey conducted by GoodHire.

To better understand how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting customers’ hiring and screening programs, and learn what actions they’ve taken to adjust to new or different processes, GoodHire surveyed 962 small, mid-size, and large organizations between April 21-27, 2020. Here is what we learned.

Majority of Organizations Are Working Remotely & Still Hiring

Our survey shows that 77% of organizations shifted operations to work remotely, and 55% of employers were continuing to hire. Further, of those organizations continuing to hire, 13% have experienced an increase in hiring, while 44% said hiring has stayed the same, and 43% are still hiring but the rate of hiring has decreased.

Many Are Uncertain About Future Hiring Plans

The uncertainty of when businesses will recover from this global crisis is evident—of the 45% of organizations who responded that they are not currently hiring, when asked when they expect to resume hiring, the majority of respondents said they are “not sure” (53%). 

Changes to Interview Process, Hiring Criteria

As expected, teams have had to make changes to their recruiting process since the COVID-19 outbreak, and the biggest change according to survey results is to conduct all interviews remotely (66%). HR professionals also say they’re reducing the number of interviews per candidate (17%), and making hiring decisions more quickly (15%). 

As teams switch to remote hiring, it’s interesting to note that some HR teams (14%) are tightening their hiring criteria versus loosening hiring criteria (4%). Stay-at-home orders and social distancing rules means many candidates are being hired without ever meeting prior to onboarding, which makes screening processes like identity verification, education and employment verifications, and criminal background checks more important than ever.

COVID-19’s Impact on Screening Processes

Due to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and social distancing restrictions, many processes that typically require people to leave the house or have contact with others are impacting some background check processes and causing delays. Specifically, many county courts are closed, partially open, or experiencing delays, as are some drug screening labs, which may impact county criminal background check turnaround times, and adjustments to the timing of drug tests. 

While only 9% of organizations still hiring have made changes to their background screening processes or policies as a result of COVID-19, when asked what specific changes they’ve had to make, 43% responded that they are hiring prior to completion of the background check, while 17% are performing tiered, or phased, background checks. (GoodHire provides guidance on how to move forward with hiring during this time.)

Adaptability is Key

If we’ve learned anything over the last two months, it’s the importance of adaptability and flexibility as we all learn how to navigate the ever-changing world of work. At GoodHire, we’re continuing to monitor the changes and listen to our customers to better understand how we can help them adapt their screening processes to fit their current hiring needs. If you need support, please reach out to your Customer Success representative.


The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. We advise you to consult your own counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.

About the Author

As GoodHire’s managing editor, Sara Korolevich produces educational resources for employers on a variety of employment screening topics, including compliance and screening best practices, and writes about GoodHire’s company and product news. Sara’s experience stems from 20+ years working as a B2C and B2B PR and communications professional.

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