Top Background Screening Survey Findings: Criminal Records

Nick Fishman

EmployeeScreenIQ recently released our annual background screening trends survey: “Threading The Needle: Employment Background Screening in an Age of Increased Litigation and Legislation.” More than 650 HR professionals from across the country, in organizations large and small, shared their thoughtful (and sometimes surprising) insights on everything from falsified resumes to the phenomenon of Facebook in our revealing 20-page report.  Listed below is one of our Top Findings which deals with the type of criminal records found on a background check that concern employers.

Severity of Criminal Convictions Correspond to Levels of Concern:

It’s not surprising that 99% of participants would be concerned about felony convictions. In an increasingly litigious business world, today’s employers must remain acutely sensitive to their responsibility to protect the interests of shareholders, partners, customers and their workforce at large. Workplace violence, fraud, theft, sabotage of computer systems and other potential criminal conduct can have far-reaching effects on an organization’s reputation, its ability to compete for talent and its bottom line.

More interesting is the finding that 63% of participants would be concerned about misdemeanor convictions and 30% concerned about infractions and, or traffic offenses. Understandably, employers are interested in felonies for clear reasons of safety and security but their interest in misdemeanor convictions and infractions isn’t as immediately intuitive—until you read their comments (see below). Their primary interest in misdemeanor convictions stems from their need to identify patterns of potentially troubling behaviors or lack of judgment related to the jobs they are filling. In other words, it’s a matter of responsibility to their organizations.

It’s important to note that, as the percentages show, the severity of the convictions and offenses is directly related to employers’ level of concern—i.e., felony convictions are of greatest concern, misdemeanors are of lesser concern and infractions are of even less concern. And, as they reveal in their comments, employers are primarily interested in misdemeanors because they’re searching for patterns and/or frequency of troubling behaviors related to the jobs they are filling.

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Nick Fishman
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Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
Nick Fishman
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