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2010 Trends in Employment Background Screening

(June 23, 2010) Human resource managers have a duty to avoid bad hires. Background screening has become a standard and important part of the hiring process, and continues to grow as the nation emerges from recession.

Over the years we have seen increasing sophistication in the use of employment background checks to reduce hiring mistakes. A new survey by EmployeeScreenIQ examines screening trends among employers nationwide. The information is designed to help HR managers assess their current practices against their peers and better understand topical issues in background screening.

The survey was completed by 606 individuals from a wide range of organizations in the U.S.

in April and May 2010. It provides a reliable snapshot of how organizations currently use background checks, how their use has changed in recent years, and what lies ahead.

    Top Ten Findings

    1. Employment background screening is a widespread practice: 92% of the companies surveyed perform background checks. Of that majority, 70% use them for over 80% of hires.

    2. 70% of respondents said that background checks have increased in importance in recent years.

    3. Background screening will continue to become more prevalent. About a third of those who don't use background checks reported they intend to do so in the next six months.

    4. Only 32% of respondents felt that social networking sites were useful for employment screening.

    5. Criminal record checks (county and/or national) and employment verifications are mandatory in the majority of organizations that conduct checks.

    6. Most respondents consider criminal records (county and national), employment verifications, substance abuse, and educational verifications as high priority checks.

    7. Only a third of the respondents view credit checks as a high priority in the hiring process.

    8. Less than a third of the organizations surveyed said they did not perform checks on contract workers nor mandate they be performed.

    9. More than three-quarters of respondents agreed their managers were very supportive of their screening program.

    10. Nearly all respondents (96%) agreed that candidates accepted the need for background checks.
Hiring managers support background checks and candidates accept the need for them. The area that is most sensitive is credit checks, particularly because a bad economy has left many people with poor credit histories.

The challenge for organizations will be to ensure they get high quality background checks and use them routinely in a climate where untruthful resumes seem more common and the risks of bad hiring are greater.

To download the complete survey, visit

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