The Future of International Background Screening

In the past few years, artificial intelligence (AI) has increasingly crept into our daily lives. Whether it’s talking to Siri on your iPhone, asking Alexa to turn on your lights in your home, or watching a movie recommended by NetFlix, AI is making our lives a little easier. Companies like Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft are investing like never before, which explains the rise. Although these experiences are becoming ordinary occurrences in daily life, the thought of AI in background screening still seems futuristic.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported an example of AI that is changing the HR industry. According to the article, companies such as Unilever, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and Walmart Stores Inc.’s, are using AI in place of humans to filter job candidates. Unilever candidates play a set of on-line games designed to assess skills like communication under pressure and short-term memory. Those that make the cut are asked to submit a video interview, where they are further filtered using data points such as how quickly they respond to questions, their facial expressions, and vocabulary. AI manages everything up to the last step, a final in-person interview. Unilever has found hiring to be faster and more accurate (80% of applicates who make it to the final round get offers). Since the fall of 2016, Unilever’s computer algorithm has scanned over 275,000 applications, leading to over 450 hires.

As the employment process evolves, it becomes easier to imagine AI in background screening. Here are a few simple ways current AI technologies could change the way we do business.

  • Virtual agents (like Alexa or Siri) or chatbots can answer routine customer service questions, reducing operating costs.
  • Speech Recognition can improve the speed and accuracy of the application input process, reducing cost and turnaround time.
  • Voice analysis technology, coupled with behavioral science can guide your sales team through calls, enabling you to close more deals.

These examples are all based on technology available today. Future possibilities are endless. At its core, AI is about feeding a system data so it can learn, analyze, automate and predict. Considering international background screening practices and the unique capabilities of AI, here are some areas AI could have a big impact in the coming years.

Revolutionizing Record Reporting

Natural Language Generation technology is used today to transform computer data into stories humans can understand. Recent advancements in this technology are leveraged for enterprise report generation, and summarizing business intelligence insights. This technology could be used to automatically gather multiple data sources and weave a story about an applicant’s history without human intervention. The output, along with relevant records could be instantly translated into your language of choice.

Predicting Criminal Record Hits

Machine learning is a form of AI which is extremely powerful at processing information, recognizing patterns and making predictions. This technology could categorize past hit data to identify patterns of illicit activity. These patterns could be compared to applicant history, media sources, social media, etc., to predict the likelihood of a hit. The system could even recommend searches, countries, courts or jurisdictions that are most relevant for a given candidate. This AI solution could perform an initial scan of an applicant to advise CRAs on what and where to search to return hard to find records.

Automating Compliance

With the recent rise of data privacy laws, there’s an overwhelming amount of information to sift through to be compliant in over 200 countries and territories. This is a great opportunity to combine AI’s ability to catalog mass amounts of information with recent advancements to transform computer data into something humans can easily understand. The resulting technology could be a virtual agent, like Alexa, who could advise us on the legality of searches across the globe. With the world’s privacy laws cataloged, deep learning technology could connect the dots across global background screening practices to find new ways to legally report illicit activity. Utilizing deep learning’s ability to recognize patterns in very large data sets, compliance officers could easily identify screening solutions when new regulations come into play.

These are only a few possibilities that connect the dots between International Background Screening and today’s technology advancements. Perhaps you’re thinking these ideas are too far reaching or expensive for background screening companies. In fact, the big tech companies plan to make AI solutions available to you and me. Google,, IBM and Microsoft are moving toward AI-as-a-service, where we can rent AI tools on a pay-as-you-go basis. In the same way blogs and video content have become mainstream, accessing AI could be as simple as choosing a website vendor that offers these capabilities. So, is the marriage of AI and background screening really a futuristic thought? Perhaps the future has arrived.