The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) commissioned HR.com to conduct a second national survey of 2,137 human resources professionals to gauge their views on background screening. Their first survey was taken in 2017 and the most recent in 2018. The result of the survey reveals that 95% of employers use one or more types of background screening. Of the respondents, 86% said they screen all full-time employees and 68% said they screen all part-time employees. Of the only 5% of respondents who said they do not conduct background checks; 23% said it is because they use other screening tools, 19% cited the associated costs as being too high, and 17% did not have a reason as to why they do not conduct background checks.

 

Why do Employers Conduct Background Checks?

The main reason 86% of respondents said that they use background checks is to protect their employees, customers, and others associated with their company. Other top reasons included: 52% said it improved the quality of hires, 39% said it was to meet law/regulation requirements, 38% said to protect their company reputation, and 36% said to prevent/reduce theft, embezzlement and other criminal activity. One of the key factors indicated in the background screening process was accuracy. Along with this comes two significant challenges faced by the companies using background screening. The first is the length of time it takes to get results back, in which 65% of employers reported as being a challenge. The second is the cost of accurate screening with 62% of employers reporting it as a challenge.

 

Keeping Background Checks Effective

HR professionals are working to keep background screening methods both effective and limiting over-usage. 89% of employers said that they wait until a job interview or conditional job offer is made before conducting a background check, and 62% responded that they wait until the job offer is made always. The survey also found that 60% of employers only conduct background checks during the hiring process, 14% do them at other times than the hiring process because of laws, and 10% check at other times than the hiring process for cause.

 

How do Employers Conduct Background Checks?

Background checks most commonly are looking for some form of criminal history, reported by 94% of employers. Employers, from greatest to least usage, use databases, county/statewide criminal searches, fingerprint-based searches, social security number traces, credit/financial, education verification, motor vehicle driving records, alcohol drug testing, sex offender registries, professional license verification, and international checks to background screen candidates. These methods vary greatly on their usage, likely due to the challenges listed above. However, most employers see the importance of doing their due diligence when background screening candidates.  Between the 2017 and 2018 survey increases were seen in all areas of background screening usage, importance, and types used.