Last month, the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) released their third annual industry survey results which featured feedback from more than 2,300 human resource professionals.

While many of the questions and findings were somewhat basic and obvious to most in the industry, there were some key data points that are worth highlighting.

  1. 96% of those surveyed conduct background checks- My first response is, show me the 4% that are still holding out. I would love to know why they don’t believe employment background checks could protect themselves, their employees and their clients. Beyond that, it signals that there’s not much new territory among U.S. employers for CRA’s to cover. That means CRA’s are going to have to identify new products to sell to their clients and find additional markets for their offerings. Perhaps they could start with targeting their clients’ part-time workforce. According to the survey, only 67% are screening that segment of their employee population.
  2. Credit Report usage is back on the rise- After years of decline, the survey findings show that there is an expanding market for credit checks. In 2016, only 6% of employers conducted credit checks on all candidates. That number jumped to 16% in 2017 and now sits at 13%. Usage also jumped for employers that conduct credit checks on some employees from 25% in 2016 to 31% in 2019. I’m not completely sure I trust these numbers and wonder if the mix of respondents changed from 2016. Unfortunately, there was scant demographic information provided in the report, so we’ll just mark this as an “interesting finding” for now.
  3. Social Media Checks just aren’t gaining traction- Only 6% of employers say that they conduct social media background checks on all employees, while just 9% say they do so for some employees. In spite of the benefits social media checks could reveal, I think employers are just too concerned about the potential dangers inherent in conducting these searches. That said, I’d put an asterisk on this one because while I believe that respondents do not conduct formal third-party social media searches, I guarantee someone within most of these organizations is checking an informal manner.
  4. Drug Testing is reaching all-time highs- See what I did there? “ALL-TIME HIGHS”. Is this mic on? Okay. I’m done with the corny jokes now. Usage of substance abuse tests has been steadily increasing over the last few years which I think is an interesting finding as more states are legalizing marijuana. It would be interesting to see if those companies are still including a panel for marijuana in these tests.

Other key findings include a breakdown on the usage of other screening products including international background checks, resume verification tools and motor vehicle records as well as the primary motivators for employers to conduct employment background checks.

A full copy of the study can be found by clicking here.

Happy Reading!