TruView is looking ahead to 2021. We selected a few trends that certainly bear some watching in this year, and beyond.

Trend 1: Upward Hiring Trends… And Playing Our Part

With vaccines becoming more readily available and—we hope—government restrictions loosening, we anticipate more and more businesses and agencies will be up and running toward full strength, with an expected upward trend in hiring and rehiring. In fact, TruView has already begun to see more orders for background screens. Notably, we’re seeing public sector batch orders, as governments staff up both paid and volunteer personnel to meet their obligations in the area of vaccinations, contact tracing, and other pandemic response-related efforts. There is an urgency here. Our Team is reminded, as we often are, that we provide a very important service. Whether you are doing your part by making a direct impact on public safety efforts or getting our economy moving again in the right direction, as our Client, we’d like you to know that TruView is part of the solution and, as always, we are here to help.

Lisa Worgull, Managing Director – Background Screening, selects:

Trend 2: Continuous Criminal Monitoring

As a predictive monitoring solution, continuous monitoring of criminal records is part of a larger trend of technology advancements in the background screening industry: Thirty years ago, national criminal databases were the emerging technology. Despite their inherent misnomer, these databases brought to the background screening industry a greater capability for supplementing locally sourced criminal records and creating a tighter “net” for catching potential adverse records.

As technology has advanced, continuous criminal monitoring has become a viable, useful methodology that fits modern workplaces, security challenges, and hiring needs. Leveraging computer programs and process automation to scour electronic court records, leading background screening firms like TruView offer real-time, continuous monitoring for arrests, incarcerations, and bookings. Human Resource Managers no longer have to rely solely on a static snapshot of a candidate’s criminal history at the time of hire, when reliable criminal history records can be had over the course of an employee’s term of employment, at a frequency of their choosing. For regulated industries, companies with high risk exposures, re-employment situations, and gig-driven workforces, for example—for any organization that wants to build greater peace of mind into their employment process—the advantages of continuous monitoring are obvious.

Consider that two-thirds of all felony arrests are pending disposition after six months later and a third are still pending after 12 months, leaving employers potentially exposed for months, if not years. Beyond standard national criminal database and arrest database locators, TruView’s unique methodologies provide adjudicated data from direct interfaces with Department of Correction facilities and jails throughout the country, encompassing 90% of the U.S. population. Our enhanced option includes direct and primary court record information (not database or scraped data), and also includes nationwide, direct federal court coverage, traffic court violation, and national sex offender registry data.

Al Murphy, Vice President – Investigations, selects:

Trend 3: Social Media Monitoring in Field Investigations of Legal Claimants and Other Subjects

TruView is at the top of the new wave in social media monitoring used for investigative applications. Our TruView360 Social Media Monitoring (SMM) combines the best practices of AI technology and analytic algorithms with expert human analysis to gain critical open source intelligence that can benefit our clients. The technology pulls publicly available data on social media sites, platforms, and aggregators—literally billions of posts—for preprogrammed adverse terminology combinations through a series of filters and algorithms. Then our investigators analyze and interpret the data for its potential impact on an emerging or active case.

We apply SMM technology at both the front and back ends of an investigation. First, we apply it in a “static” application at the forefront of an investigation. In the old way of doing it (the way it has been done for years and continues to be done by many investigative firms), the firm conducts a rudimentary database search on a people-tracking product. That information usually is limited, outdated, or inaccurate, so instead of a tight, productive surveillance, activity check, or witness location operation, the investigators spend extra time in “ghost tracking” a subject. That’s inefficient, ineffective, and costly. In contrast, TruView performs pre-investigation intelligence collection (PIIC) using SMM technology to find and analyze critical case details before dispatching field investigators. Investigative managers use this intelligence to perform a supervisory scope of each case first, so investigative resources are used smarter, more strategically, and more economically.

But that’s just the first part of the equation. PIIC is a static application of the technology. TruView uses SMM in an “exploitative” application—that is, we’re using social media monitoring technology on the back end of investigative field operations to extend the investigative “burn.” Typically, budgets limit field investigations to 12 hours—for example, three four-hour surveillance checks are the norm. That is not always enough time to obtain a positive ID and observation on a subject, especially so during the pandemic shutdown. However, by monitoring a subject’s social media activity, we can identify activity patterns with a greater degree of certainty, and thereby utilize our time and resources in ways that yield a greater degree of success for our Clients.

Jose López, Operations Manager – Background Screening selects:

Trend 4: Legal Compliance… and Litigation

As economies and industries change and evolve, so do the needs of consumers in the private and public sectors. Industry providers fill the space with new ideas, technologies, and practices to meet these evolving needs. Rest assured, government regulatory bodies and the legal establishment are never far behind. Therefore, legal compliance is a “trend” that’s always “in style.”

One prominent trend in this area, particularly as an aftereffect of the pandemic, is that more states will restrict the extent that credit history searches can be performed in pre-employment screening for certain positions. Over the past several years, social intelligence in pre-employment background screening—particularly for higher level positions—has increased in usage, and there is no reason to expect that trend will not continue. However, while we do not expect FCRA to address social intelligence in the short term, the area is ripe for case law, followed, potentially, by state and local legislative action.

We expect criminal history checks to continue to be the focus of legislative and regulatory actions, with a continuance of restrictions on when in the pre-employment process a subject may be screened for criminal history and, for certain positions, the weight in importance of that history in a hiring determination. As mentioned above, we expect greater reliance on continuous criminal monitoring, especially for regulated and higher-level employment positions, but also as the result of greater potential liability faced by employers in labor markets increasingly characterized by short-term contracts and freelance work—the so-called “gig economy.”

If you logically expected lawsuits against employers for Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) violations to have decreased in 2020 due to the pandemic, you’d be wrong. It actually increased by over 4% last year, and it is likely to increase this year, as well. With the complexity of Fair Credit Reporting Act requirements and the money at stake, law firms continue to find pre-employment background screening a fertile field for exploitation—to the tune of millions of dollars every year, not including business disruptions that follow.

For example, in December 2020, in the face of allegations by the Federal Trade Commission that it violated the FCRA’s maximum-accuracy requirement in reporting criminal records, a large California-based background screener settled for $4.25 million. In September 2020, less than a year after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reached an $8.5 million stipulated judgment against a billion-dollar background screening company for violating the FCRA in thousands of pre-employment screens, the same company settled a class action suit for $15 million for FCRA violations spanning a six-year period and thousands of pre-employment background screens. Over the past decade, over $325 million has been spent to settle background screening litigation in violation of federal law. Another billion-dollar background screener, in one year alone, faced more than 80 lawsuits for violations of FCRA. For such companies, it is “part of the business model.”

At TruView, compliance is paramount and our “legislative compliance tracker” is on, 24/7. Our research analysts meet all federal, state, and local laws to ensure accuracy. We continually reassess our QA process to ensure reportability on a case-by-case basis, accounting for legal requirements in the jurisdictions where they are being hired and following the FCRA’s “maximum possible accuracy” every time. That is why TruView maintains a documented 99.995% accuracy rate for hundreds of thousands of screens every year.

Bill Manning, Chief Revenue Officer, selects:

Trend 5: Partnerships in the Trust Economy

We think the word “partnership” is overused, sometimes even misused. But we are also quite sure that there has never been a time when real, supportive partnerships mattered more.

The pandemic and the responses to it have exacted an incalculable cost but there is nowhere to move but forward. As the rebuilding moves apace, we will set goals, blow past them, and then set new ones. We will face new challenges, employ survival tactics. We may be called on to get creative, think big, reimagine our business models, or refocus our priorities or core competencies. It is a very complex world. Success relies, in part, on reducing or offloading as much of the complexity as you can. Awareness, vision, and simple, bold strategies will win the day.

Reducing complexity requires a level of service partnership that transcends transactional relationships. A service partnership needs to create a sort of “operational refuge” for the client. It should be deep, multi-dimensional. It should reduce your risks and fill in the gaps. It should be helpful and make you feel good. The true service partner takes your success personally and brings all expertise and resources to bear on your behalf—responsiveness is a pledge fulfilled daily.

Perhaps there is too much talk about “partnerships”—but, if so, probably only by those who don’t know what it is to live up to the privilege. Being a true partner is hard. It take real commitment. A partnership is not something the marketing people thought up, or some esoteric exercise. It’s real and it’s every day.

True partnerships are the DNA of the trust economy, where success depends on the quality and quantity of trustworthy connections between creators, stakeholders, customers, and providers. If what we’re rising up in the wake of a pandemic isn’t a trust economy, then what exactly are we rebuilding?

Our take is positive: We predict a trending emphasis on partnerships in a 2021 trust economy.