Are Fewer Employers Using Employment Background Checks?

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) just published an eye-opening study on employers use of employee background checks.

The big takeaway that SHRM and other industry writers have chosen to highlight is that the use of pre-employment background screening has declined since their last survey was conducted in 2010. In the 2012 survey, 14 percent of respondents say that they never perform criminal background checks compared to 7 percent in 2010.

This finding is particularly puzzling and runs counter to what we are seeing in the marketplace.

Key findings

In fact, I often tell clients and prospects the key difference in screening between the time we started the company in 1999 and now is that we used to walk into meetings convincing employers that they should have a background screening program.

Now, we simply ask what they are currently doing and how we can make it better. I haven’t had a conversation with a mid to large sized organization that doesn’t perform an employment background check prior to hire in years.

When I looked at the survey demographics, I noticed that 24 perent of all respondents worked for organizations with 99 or less employees. I’m not sure what the demographics were in 2010, but perhaps that might help explain the findings. In fact, the study notes that only 48 percent of organizations at this size conduct background checks.

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Here are SHRM’s other key findings:

  • 69 percent of employers say that they conduct criminal background checks on all job candidates, 18 percent on select candidates, and 14 percent say they don’t perform them at all.
  • 62 percent of employers conduct a background check after a contingent offer, 32 percent after a job interview, and only 4 percent before an interview.
  • 52 percent conduct criminal background checks to reduce negligent hiring concerns, while 49 percent do so to ensure a safe work environment.
  • 96 percent say that they are influenced not to hire convicted violent felons, and 74 percent say they are influenced by non-violent felony convictions.
  • 58 percent of organizations allow job candidates to explain the results of their background check before a decision is made, and 27% percent allow them to explain after a decision is made.

Now, rather than make this post into a novel, we’ll be breaking down some of these findings in multiple posts. In the meantime, feel free to check out the official findings from the SHRM survey.

This was originally published on EmployeeScreen IQ.


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