The Unvarnished Truth: 2014 Top Trends in Employment Background Checks

Nick Fishman

Trends Cover

The results are finally in!

Nearly 600 human resources professionals opened up to EmployeeScreenIQ about how they use employment background checks to make hiring decisions and their candid feedback is detailed in our just-released, fifth annual survey of U.S. based employers. The new report looks at how companies manage the process of employment screening, their practices concerning Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) guidance and candidates’ self-disclosure of criminal records, and how they address adverse findings.

The 2014 survey report,The Unvarnished Truth: 2014 Top Trends in Employment Background Checks confirms that employers continue to rely on background checks to protect themselves, their workforces and their customers. The 26-page report examines a range of potentially contentious issues facing hiring organizations, perhaps most notably the impact of criminal records on hiring and the practice of asking candidates for self-disclosure as even more states and municipalities adopt “ban the box” legislation.

Human resources professionals representing a wide range of U.S. organizations that use background screening companies completed the survey in late 2013/early 2014. A complimentary download of the results is available here.

Among the top findings:

  • Almost half of employers (45%) say that job candidates with criminal records are not hired due to their indiscretions a mere 5% of the time or less. As in past surveys, this finding supports employers’ long-standing assertions that they often look beyond an applicant’s criminal past and that qualifications, references and interviewing skills also greatly influence hiring decisions.
  • A majority of respondents continue to ask candidates to self-disclose criminal convictions on job applications despite the EEOC recommendation to refrain from asking in addition to state and municipal laws that outright ban the practice. Just 8% of employers, however, say candidates are automatically disqualified when they disclose a criminal record prior to a background check.
  • A substantial portion (38%) of employers search online media for information about their candidates as part of the screening process, but the majority of respondents say they forego this practice. Eighty percent of those who do check online sites turn to LinkedIn for information, followed by search engines (63%) and Facebook (48%).
  • Resume lies are becoming more of a deal breaker. Half of all respondents reject 90% or more of their candidates when lies are discovered on their resumes. These findings strongly depart from last year’s survey, which indicated employers were rather lenient regarding resume distortions. The most egregious lie? A claim to have earned a degree not actually earned.
  • Contrary to popular belief and some media reports, only 14% of employers say they check the credit histories of all new hires. A whopping 57% do not use credit reports as part of their hiring process. 10 states now have regulations curbing the use of credit reports, which could be responsible for their less widespread use.

The EmployeeScreenIQ Trends Survey has become a benchmark many employers use to evaluate their background screening policies and practices. This year’s survey provides a unique cross-section of opinions and insights from a diversity of organizations and is a must-read for HR professionals that want to see what their industry peers are doing.


 

 




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.
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