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Compliance and protection top employers’ list of concerns in background screening trends survey

Employers say the single most important employment screening-related challenge they face in 2015 is compliance with ever-changing laws, and the primary reason they conduct background checks is to protect their clients and customers.

These are just two of dozens of findings in a recently released report, “Employment Screening 2015: Background Screening Trends & Practices,” which is based on the sixth annual survey of U.S.-based employers, including healthcare organizations, and conducted by EmployeeScreenIQ, a provider of employment background screening services.

The report examines how employers manage the process of background checks, how they respond to adverse findings, and their opinions and practices regarding Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) responsibilities, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance, and evolving “ban the box” legislation.

Among the top findings:

  • 46% of participants say the primary reason they conduct background checks is to protect their clients and customers; 32% cite workplace safety; and 30% cite identifying the best candidates.
  • Asked to rank the employment screening challenges their companies will face this year in order of importance, participants ranked compliance as their single most important challenge by a wide margin. Their top three responses: compliance (51%); using the most comprehensive criminal record search (14%); improving the candidate experience.
  • More than half of respondents (53%) indicate that their companies continue to ask candidates to self-disclose criminal histories on employment applications despite the EEOC’s guidance against this practice—and despite a growing number of state and municipal “ban the box” laws.
  • Some four out of 10 participants (37%) say their organizations conduct online media searches as a means of screening candidates, with LinkedIn (77%) the most popular site used in these searches.
  • If marijuana use were to become legal in their state, more than half (54%) of survey participants say their organizations would continue their drug testing programs. However, just 2% say they would discontinue their drug testing programs and only 10% say they would overlook past convictions for minor marijuana offenses.

More than 500 individuals participated in this year’s survey, representing over two-dozen industries including healthcare, technology, banking, government/military, manufacturing, and professional services.

“Once again, this year’s survey report provides a fascinating, educational cross-section of insights from professionals across the country,” said Nick Fishman, chief marketing officer of EmployeeScreenIQ.

“The findings show that employers continue to conduct background screenings for a number of sound reasons but their overall approach to the process isn’t always as sound—or as legally compliant—as it should be. The report is an interesting read for anyone in the HR, staffing, and talent management disciplines, and it has become the benchmark many employers use to evaluate their background screening policies and practices.”

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