2015 Background Screening Trends and Practices

According to the results of the 2015 EmployeeScreenIQ Survey, 51 percent of U.S.-based employers said that the most important background screening challenge in 2015 is complying with ever-changing laws. Forty-six percent of employers stated that the primary reason for conducting background checks is to protect their clients, customers, and employees.

Additional survey top findings are:

  • Fifty-three percent indicated that their companies continue to ask candidates to self-disclose criminal histories on employment applications despite EEOC guidance recommending its removal as well as a number of state and municipal laws that “ban the box.”
  • Forty-four percent stated that they would reject candidates who did not divulge past convictions on their job applications if those convictions were revealed during a criminal background check. Thirty-nine percent said they would give candidates the opportunity to explain the convictions.  Fourteen percent responded they do not ask conviction-related information on their job applications.
  • Seventy-two percent of respondents perform individualized assessments for candidates who have conviction records, giving the candidates a chance to explain the conviction circumstances. Employers who do not perform individualized assessments may not be violating the law but are risking claims of discrimination under Title VII of the EEOC’s guidance released in 2012.
  • Ninety percent of employers stated that background checks uncover information that convinces their company not to hire a candidate. This shows background checks are fulfilling their purpose in reducing risk to their organizations and protecting their employees, clients and customers.

Employers are not disqualifying large numbers of job candidates simply because of criminal convictions. Rather, they are considering other factors, in keeping with EEOC guidance. These include severity of the crime, whether it is related to the job, the amount of time since the conviction, and whether the candidate is a repeat offender.