Increase in Global Hires Makes International Background Checks More Important Than Ever

SVP of Marketing & Strategic Alliances

As the talent marketplace gets more challenging, employers are expanding into new locations and territories where complexity has increased due to both global expansion and sourcing international talent. With the surge in remote work following a global pandemic, companies are no longer as reliant on work visa programs and immigration laws to fill talent needs.

The Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) and’s HR Research Institute (HRRI) 5th annual survey of HR professionals, “Background Screening: Trends in the U.S. and Abroad” found that 72% of respondents, regardless of location, think it is important for companies to have access to global or international screening capabilities. Further, 33% report that they expect to hire more candidates that live or have lived in countries outside the organization’s location in the next five years.

Related: Privacy and Data Security Factors When Global Background Screening

We are not only trusting employees with office equipment and computers, we are also providing them access to sensitive information in the privacy of their own homes. More than 34% of businesses around the world are affected by internal cybersecurity threats. These threats have increased by 47% over the last two years and 55% of organizations identify privileged users as their greatest insider threat risk.

All of these factors make the need for continuous global background checks even more important than ever before.

Your International Background Screening Strategy 

According to research from Gartner, by the end of 2022, 31% of all workers worldwide will be remote (a mix of hybrid and fully remote). The U.S. will lead in terms of remote workers in 2022, accounting for 53% of the U.S. workforce. Across Europe, U.K. remote workers will represent 52% of its workforce in 2022, while remote workers in Germany and France will account for 37% and 33%, respectively. India and China will produce some of the largest numbers of remote workers, but their overall penetration rates will remain relatively low with 30% of workers in India being remote and 28% of workers in China working remote.

Hiring internationally can be the key to scale an agile and flexible remote workforce, especially for key roles in technology. Organizations with work-from-anywhere policies have been able to significantly increase their geographic area of recruitment, creating more competition for talent.

Without a strategy for international background screening, candidate experience can suffer.

One crucial component of international background screening — and continuous monitoring — is to establish an employee experience that is as similar as possible for both remote and in-person roles (or a blend of both). Another is time-to-hire, a factor that can be the differentiator between hiring top talent and losing that talent to a competitor who might skip steps in the screening process. While the perception is that international background screening can take weeks or months to complete, choosing a vendor partner with extensive experience in international screening can help reduce that time considerably.

Continuous Screening for International Employees 

Without an equitable screening process, employers may open themselves up to litigation for discriminatory hiring practices. For example, if an employer only implements continuous monitoring for onsite employees domestically and doesn’t screen remote international employees in the same or similar ways, a case could be made for disparate treatment.

Continuous employee screening, sometimes known as continuous employee monitoring or “infinity screening,” is the practice of conducting criminal background checks for existing employees on a regular or intermittent schedule. Doing this for a company within the US requires notice upon application and employee consent. For a global workforce, continuous screening can become even more challenging.

Conducting checks internationally means that employers must have a comprehensive understanding of the globally diverse safeguards for the protection of personal data privacy and data transfer security. Additionally, being able to screen employees that live outside of the US but may have a different country of origin can further complicate the process.

International background checks, while challenging, are not impossible. Working with a reputable vendor partner familiar with the resources and laws of each country of origin can overcome liability, time, and accuracy concerns. Our parent company Cisive offers a single global platform and a flexible solution to support international and domestic requirements including multi-language capabilities.