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How COVID-19 impacts tenant screenings

There isn’t much about our daily lives the pandemic hasn’t impacted. And the housing industry is no exception. Property managers face potential for delinquent payments and apartment turnover as their tenants manage their own difficulties. The challenges become an endless cycle of waiting for the financial crisis to evolve to a more stable environment. What can potentially be lost in the shuffle is processes, or changes to them, for prospective tenants. Tenant screenings should certainly still remain a priority for property managers and owners.

Amending the FCRA During the Pandemic

As property managers screen potential tenants, it’s necessary to stay informed of changes impacting credit reports. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) in particular brings change to tenant screenings. When the CARES Act became law, federal and state government encouraged financial services companies to offer payment relief to consumers impacted by COVID-19.

However, the CARES act also triggered an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). If a consumer accepted assistance from their financial services companies, their account status is required to adjust accordingly. The assistance could range from deferring payments, making partial payments, modifying a loan or others. If a consumer participated, regardless of the aid, their account would be required to be adjusted from “delinquent” to “current” status. For consumers with delinquent accounts who elect not to accept the assistance, their status would remain.

How Does the Amended FCRA Impact Tenant Screenings?

Property managers have the opportunity to adjust how they screen a potential tenant. However, credit reports are imperative to gaining a better understanding about whether or not the tenant will consistently afford rent. Having a clear understanding of what information is provided can help property managers fill vacancies with greater confidence.

Consider the amended FCRA and how it could impact how you approve or disapprove tenant applicants. If an applicant accepted CARES assistance, consider their financial stability prior to the pandemic and now. While the current status is important, thinking long-term could paint a clearer picture of whether or not the tenant is a right fit. We can help identify the information needed to fully understand the financial information provided and its potential impact on your decisions.

One Source provides customizable tenant screening packages that, regardless of the depth of information gathered, can be turned around in 48 hours. As a leading background check solutions provider, we believe it’s our responsibility to know and understand current state and federal regulations, and help businesses determine what information is most valuable to their decision making. 

Managing the challenges and changes of remote hiring

Remote recruiting is tricky. It’s relatively new territory for recruiters and job seekers and it comes with different expectations, restrictions and rules. While not every company is hiring right now, those who are must adjust their processes.

But sometimes in hiring, adaptability is the name of the game. Meeting applicants where they are and adjusting accordingly can help bring out the best candidates, no matter how strange the hiring circumstances. The being said, remote hiring isn’t easy—here are a few challenges you may encounter and how One Source can help.

Hiring without meeting in person

Face to face interaction with candidates has been an essential part of the hiring process. By getting an applicant in your work environment and seeing how they interact with your team, you can tell a lot about how they’ll fit in to your staff. However, remote recruiting and hiring does not offer the luxury of in-person interviews. So how do we adapt?

One way to customize the hiring process for an online space is to lean on the technologies that you’re already using. Zoom, Google Meet and other video conferencing services are an easy way to connect face to face at any time. Generally through the hiring process, you may only speak with candidates a few times before you make a decision. These video chat apps make it easy to have more frequent conversations with applicants. You can invite them to chat with your whole team and develop a sense of their personality through shorter, more frequent conversations.

You can also lean on other hiring resources like background checks and work samples to better understand what a candidate is like. One Source’s online portal makes it easy to keep reports in one place and refer to them whenever necessary. So, despite the lack of in-person communication, online resources allow you to compile a relatively complete picture of who you’re interviewing.

Notice and address gaps in your hiring process

While unconventional, turning your hiring process on its head by moving it online can be a good way to identify gaps and issues in your typical hiring process. Remote hiring may intensify underlying inefficiencies and frustrations. Do you need to revise your application review process? Should you ask different questions and measure different skills? Does your screening process align with your objectives? You may find yourself asking any of these questions and more as you continue remote hiring.

Don’t be afraid to think on your feet as you navigate new hiring methods. While your team should always be aligned and intentional, there has never been a better time to try new things and solve problems in creative ways. Patching up inefficiencies in your hiring will make your staff stronger in the long run.

If you feel like your background check process isn’t working toward your goals, contact us at One Source and we’ll help you build a screening process tailored to your needs. Everyone is managing change right now, so we’re here to make your hiring that much easier.

How employers can safely bring employees back to the office

As offices slowly start to reopen and employees begin to return, employers are likely busy planning how to keep everyone safe once they’re back under one roof. Not only are employers tasked with safely bringing employees back, but also creating a secure environment for customers and clients.

You might be trying to find the right way to screen your employees for illness as you start bringing employees back to the office. In issues of health, however, there are several compliance laws and regulations you must follow to protect their privacy. Screening your employees is possible. Though there is a lot of planning and considerations you need to take into account first.

Compliance with medical regulations

You can ask your employees whether they have experienced symptoms of COVID-19 and if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19. However, once you gather any medical information from your employees, it’s your responsibility to keep that information confidential. If any of your employees test positive for COVID-19, you can alert the rest of your staff, but you must not disclose the identity of the sick employee.

If you’re hiring new employees or re-screening current employees, some background screenings may include medical information including drug testing, physicals and more. First, you need to receive consent to screen anyone. This can easily be done with One Source’s contact-free release forms. As always, the content of a screening report is between you, the employee and the reporting agency. Essentially, do everything in your power to keep your team informed about the health of your company while protecting the privacy of individual employees.

Planning for a healthy work environment

Part of your plan for reopening your office should focus on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) guidelines. This will allow you to provide a risk-free work place. This may require you to move desks apart, enforce social distancing measures and more. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers a comprehensive guide to maintaining a safe work environment as the pandemic continues.

Your strategy for returning to the office may include some new hires. You may feel the need to screen new employees or applicants for COVID-19 before they can enter the office. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released guidelines on how to fairly screen new hires. You can request that new hires get screened for COVID-19 after you make a conditional job offer and before they start working. If you want to screen all qualified applicants for COVID-19, you must also screen all new employees in the same role.

You can also require temperature checks as employees enter the office. Some thermometers simply say whether or not you have a fever, keeping the exact temperature of your employees private.

Many employers right now are juggling their plans to return to the office safely while managing screenings and information privacy. One Source can help you manage screenings efficiently and let you focus on keeping your team safe. Learn more by contacting our Client Relations team today.

Volunteer Screening Best Practices

As the COVID-19 pandemic alters our lives every day, nonprofits and other volunteer organizations are using their volunteer base to bring community support. Some volunteers fill essential needs like food delivery and medical care—and the demand for quality volunteers continues to rise. Volunteers bring valuable care and necessary resources to communities through this pandemic. This means it’s extremely important for volunteer organizations to make sure they’re recruiting the best volunteers. The way your organization’s volunteers act through the pandemic will reflect on your organization for years to come. One of the best ways to ensure you recruit excellent helpers is to run volunteer screenings for each applicant. It may take some time to screen each applicant, but the clarity and security of a screening report is well worth it.

If you’re considering volunteer screenings for the first time or increasing your screening measures, you can follow these best practices to create an efficient screening process. With a strong background check procedure, you can get your volunteers out to serve others quickly and safely.

Find a screening partner you trust.

Your time is best spent running your organization and selecting volunteers. It should not be spent digging up background information on volunteer applicants. Regardless of how many background checks your organization may need to run, you will save time and resources by outsourcing your background checks.

Quality screening agencies like One Source are well-versed in volunteer screenings and can assist you in deciphering what screening reports really mean. When you partner with a screening agency, you  get the most accurate and complete reports. Furthermore, you get help clarifying what the screenings truly represent. At One Source, we can turn around screenings in 48 hours. Then, the results are presented on a user friendly platform. You can save valuable time and focus on finding the best volunteers to fulfill your mission.

Know when to screen potential volunteers.

Background checks are one of many tools you can use to build a strong, dedicated volunteer base. It doesn’t always make sense to base all of your volunteer decisions on screening reports alone, but they should be an important point of consideration. To create an efficient screening process, time background checks strategically in your vetting process.

You can start your vetting process with a thorough application followed by reference checks. After evaluating applications and references, you can determine which applicants would be good volunteer fits for your organization. Those applicants can then move on to the next round of vetting: background checks and interviews. Interview your applicants to get a deeper insight into their personality and strengths. Then, you can run background checks on your top candidates. Pair the background report with the information you gained from the references and interview to decide whether someone should volunteer for your cause.

Volunteers are providing essential services to thousands of people throughout our communities and their impact cannot be understated. If your organization is sending volunteers out into the world right now, it is in your best interest to be certain they are the best representatives of your mission. Contact One Sources’ Client Relations team today to learn how we can make your volunteer screening process thorough, streamlined and effective.