Why Do Background Checks

The Benefits of Background Screening

The majority of the background screening industry revolves around the growing need for a responsible employer to conduct formal background checks, prior to hiring an applicant. Why is this so important? Why do background checks?

Perhaps the most obvious reason is to avoid violence and disruption in the workplace. 10% of job applicants have a criminal record. While the existence of a criminal record is not always a reason to reject a candidate, there are cases where it can be. For example, a convicted child molester has no business working in a day care center.

Extreme cases aside, there are important fundamental reasons for conducting background checks on potential employees. With today’s emphasis on managing more work with fewer people, the impact of a bad hire is greater than ever before. 40% of resumes contain material lies or omissions about education, past employment or qualifications. If you don’t verify the claims, how do you really know that the candidate has the education, experience and certifications that he or she claims?

The Advantages of Screening
  • Discourages applicants with something to hide or a reason to falsify credentials
  • Eliminates uncertainty in the hiring process by basing decisions on hard information
  • Demonstrates due diligence in the hiring process, promoting safety in the workplace
  • Encourages open communication and honesty on the part of the applicant
  • Excellent return on a small investment

Finally, pre-employment screening helps to avoid the rising costs associated with theft, fraud, and lawsuits that may result from the actions of employees that should never have been hired. The practice also reduces the less obvious costs associated with bad publicity and the loss of customers.

Today, pre-employment screening is a routine practice at many large corporations. A recent study by the Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM) reported that 80% of HR professionals use pre-employment screening to some degree. The bulk of the work is done by small to mid-sized companies that specialize in the practice. There are a number of larger firms (some publicly traded) that provide services, as well. However, due to advances in technology and the existence of Public Record Retrievers networks, even the smallest pre-employment screening company can provide nationwide coverage.

We already see a growing public awareness and acceptance of pre-employment and tenant screening. Although the right to privacy is still cherished, people understand the need to prove their identity and qualifications when it’s for a legitimate purpose.

The list of legitimate purposes is also growing. For example, employers are beginning to demand that contractors be screened, in addition to full-time employees. Parents and church groups are beginning to ask that coaches and other volunteers submit to background checks. On the technology side, employers are beginning to build the process into their Information Technology, interfacing their Human Resource systems with those of Pre-employment screening companies.

With the trend toward screening becoming the norm, one might expect that legal compliance would become less of an issue. In fact, we can expect it to become even more important, as laws to protect the consumer become more complex and the penalties for abuse to become greater.

Employers desire to improve hiring standards, while staying compliant with evolving state and federal laws. Consumers understand the need for safety in the workplace, but, they still value the right to privacy. It’s a delicate balance today, and, it’s sure to become increasingly difficult to maintain in the future.

The standards and practices developed by the association, on behalf of its membership, will help employers avoid legal exposure for negligent hiring and decrease violence in the workplace. By conducting pre-employment and tenant screens according to federal and state law, background screening companies will actually be helping the homeland security effort.

Last but not least, USA Background Checks intends to improve the productivity of American business by enabling better hiring decisions and lowering the costs associated with employee turnover.