The Stats Don’t Lie: Why Should You Care About Employment Background Screening Accreditation?
June 4, 2013
Many of you have seen the following statistic we regularly share to highlight how we stand out in a crowded marketplace:
EmployeeScreenIQ is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction earned by less than two percent of all employment screening companies.
Someone recently raised the concern that this statistic was inaccurate and made it look as if our industry wasn’t serious about ensuring the highest level of compliance, best practices, accuracy, etc. when it comes to employment background checks.
So I thought I would take this opportunity to share the math behind our statistic, what accreditation means to employers and what accredited companies are doing to heighten awareness for this important program.
For those of you that are not familiar with this program (and we’ll deal with this further down the page), accreditation is an important seal of approval that all companies should look for when choosing a background screening provider. It is the only program in our field that proves a provider’s procedures are compliant with industry best practices and affirms industry knowledge and expertise. To become accredited, consumer reporting agencies must pass a rigorous onsite audit, conducted by an independent inspector, of their policies and procedures as they relate to the following critical areas:
- Legal Compliance
- Consumer Protection
- Information Security
- Organizational Integrity and Ethics
- Ability to Train and Educate Clients
- Accuracy and Depth of Products
- Quality and Accuracy of Public Record Researchers and Background Specialists
- Employees’ Background Check Expertise
Back to our statistic. Let’s start with some simple math:
- As of a couple weeks ago, there were a total of 36 accredited background screening companies.
- It has been estimated by others in our industry that there are approximately 2,000 employment background screening companies in the United States (we are working to independently validate this).
- A background screening company does not have to be a member of NAPBS to participate in the accreditation program.
- Ergo 36/2,000 = 1.8%
Last time I checked, 1.8% is less than 2%. So, we can all agree that our statistic is accurate.
Now, let’s address the concern raised that this statistic doesn’t necessarily flatter our industry. I guess I agree. We think more companies should subscribe to the ideals defined in the accreditation program. There is no better way to demonstrate to employers, job applicants and our regulators that we take our responsibilities seriously.
I imagine that some may think this number is low and it may look like NAPBS members are not serious about accreditation. This actually couldn’t be further from the truth. Here’s some more math.
- There are approximately 400 employment background screening companies affiliated with NAPBS
- Ergo 36/400= 9%
9% of NAPBS affiliated employment screening companies are accredited.
Okay, I promise I’m done with the math lesson (because I, for one, have no business teaching math to anyone).
What are we as an industry doing to promote accreditation? To date, the association has placed the burden of education and awareness on the companies who become accredited and many of us have done so separately. And while NAPBS still hasn’t participated, we recently asked each of the 36 accredited companies if they would be interested in working together to promote this program. 26 of us decided that this was a worthwhile effort and as a result, we’ve taken out a full page ad in the SHRM Conference Daily (distributed to all conference attendees) each day of the SHRM Annual Conference (see below). We’ve also created website (www.AccreditedCRA.com) and a Twitter account @AccreditedCRA where employers can learn more about the program and why it is important to them.
I think this is an important step for all of us. This effort will create awareness of the program for employers, consumers and regulators. I also believe that by creating this awareness, more background screening companies will see tangible evidence that becoming accredited is important. And for our part, we’ll gladly update our statistic as more companies become accredited.