Employers Report Having Troublesome Gaps in their Background Screening Programs

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Employment screening is a critical component of most organizations’ hiring programs, seeing as background screening produces a wealth of benefits: promoting a better quality of hire, helping employers comply with state and federal legislation, mitigating a wide range of workplace risks, and protecting their hard-earned reputation.

In fact, 97% of the organizations responding to HireRight’s 2013 Employment Screening Benchmarking Report survey reported they are performing some type of background screening. While employers today are certainly insulating themselves from multiple risks through background screening, their responses reveal some critical gaps in their programs.

Current Employees Could Pose a Risk
One area in which employers are leaving themselves vulnerable is with their current employees. Fewer than half (47%) of respondents are re-screening employees after hire. For many organizations, performing background checks on current employees is an effective risk mitigation measure.

After all, even after hire, employees could be convicted of crimes about which you as an employer would want to know. For example, an employee with driving responsibilities could be found guilty of driving while intoxicated – probably an important fact of which any employer would want to be aware.

Employees with International Ties
Another area in which employers are exposing themselves to unnecessary risk is screening domestic employees who have lived, worked, or studied outside of the country in which they’re based. Nearly a third (31%) of survey respondents don’t verify the educational or employment experience of their U.S.-based candidates.

This background screening gap exists despite organizations’ active recruitment of candidates with global experience; 55% of respondents recruit such candidates. A background screening program that verifies foreign experience will help these employers ensure their applicants have the qualifications they’re seeking.

In some cases, verifying a candidate’s foreign history can also help uncover criminal record information and assist the employer in making a more educated hiring decision.

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Source: HireRight 2013 Employment Screening Benchmarking Report

Contingent Workers often Overlooked
Yet another critical potential gap in many employers’ background screening programs centers on how they handle their extended workforce, which includes such non-permanent employees as temporary workers, contractors and volunteers.

Of the employers responding to the survey who utilize an extended workforce, 32% do not conduct any sort of background checks on these individuals.

While these workers don’t constitute part of the permanent payroll, they nevertheless can have access to data, facilities, customers, and assets. In this respect, they can pose a threat to your organization.

Many Employers Making Gains
While these gaps can present significant risk opportunities for employers, the good news is that some of the numbers show an improvement from the previous year’s data.

In 2012, only 34% of employers reported re-screening employees after hire, representing a 13% increase for this year. Another process improvement is with extended workforce screening. Last year, 35% of employers utilizing these types of non-employees didn’t perform background checks on these individuals; the data from 2013 show a 3% improvement.

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HireRight is a leading provider of on-demand employment background checks, drug and health screening, and electronic Form I-9 and E-Verify solutions that help employers automate, manage and control background screening and related programs.

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The HireRight Blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be comprehensive, and is not a substitute for and should not be construed as legal advice. HireRight does not warrant any statements in the HireRight Blog. Any statutes or laws cited herein should be read in their entirety. You should direct to your own experienced legal counsel questions involving your organization’s compliance with or interpretation or application of laws or regulations and any additional legal requirements that may apply.