HireRight’s 2017 Benchmark Report – A Trip Around the World

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Our recent benchmark survey formed the foundation for HireRight’s Annual Employment Screening Benchmark Reports, representing responses from thousands of human resources professionals in the United States (U.S.), Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific (APAC, including Australia and New Zealand). The results show strong similarities but also numerous unique perspectives that may be helpful in assessing your individual human capital management programs.

Many organizations operate globally today. Companies do business with and may maintain offices in multiple countries. Yet in hiring, as with other aspects of conducting commerce, local laws, business customs, and perspectives in sourcing, interviewing and verifying candidates’ backgrounds are increasingly influencing hiring and background verification practices worldwide.

Below, we’ve outlined several of our survey questions and compared the responses from different regions:

  • Do you screen globally? (e.g. Does your screening program evaluate a candidate’s history outside of your domestic border?)

U.S. respondents were significantly less likely than other regions to conduct any global screening. They were also less likely to conduct background checks on non-employees.

EMEA respondents were more likely than other regions to conduct global screens or screen international backgrounds of local employees or screen non-employees.

Our take: Many US employers impart unnecessary risk to their organizations rather than screen globally. More EMEA-based organizations maintain offices in other countries, hire from other countries, and find value in screening beyond their own borders.

  • Why don’t you screen globally?

Significantly more American respondents than their counterparts in EMEA and APAC said they did not screen globally as they did not maintain international locations. However, organizations increasingly hire candidates who attended school, lived or worked overseas. It may be prudent to inaugurate a more comprehensive global background check program to more effectively safeguard an organization from risk; validating work history, public records, education, and other screens may require additional time but may be worth the investment.

APAC respondents were significantly more likely not to screen internationally because they considered doing so cost-prohibitive, lacked the work-effort, or did not use a background check company that had sufficient global reach.

Our take: First, only seven percent or less of organizations in each of our three regions responded that they felt the risk was low. Organizations that hire employees from beyond their shores may be coming to appreciate the value in verifying employment and criminal history of candidates coming from other countries. The education backgrounds of candidates who have lived, worked or gone to school overseas may specifically be worthy of investigation; diploma mills, highly popular in APAC and other regions, can produce legitimate- looking documents from legitimate-sounding institutions leaving employers at risk from a candidate’s falsified credentials.

  • What background checks do you perform pre-hire?

Eighty-four percent of American organizations surveyed conducted criminal record or other public record searches, 72 percent ran motor vehicle records, and 67 percent verified identity. Only 12 percent check credit history.

Eighty-four percent of EMEA organizations also reviewed criminal records, 84 percent checked references, and 78 percent verified identity. Seventy percent review credit history.

Our take: Companies worldwide are carrying out screening more often and in greater depth. The disparity in running credit history searches is interesting but could be due to more financial organizations – which place more emphasis on such background information – having been polled in our EMEA survey than in the U.S. Criminal, identity, and previous employment and/or references have remained at the top of the list consistently over the decade that HireRight has been publishing its Annual Benchmark Reports.

  • Who does your organization screen post-hire?

Forty-eight percent of American firms do not rescreen employees. Of those that do, 21 percent rescreen employees who are being promoted or are changing roles. Ten percent rescreen contingent or contract employees.

Thirty-three percent of EMEA organizations do not rescreen employees. Of those that do, 36 percent rescreen employees who are being promoted or are changing roles. Twenty-one percent rescreen contingent or contract employees.

Fifty-seven percent of APAC organizations do not rescreen employees. Of those that do, 28 percent rescreen employees who are being promoted or are changing roles. Nine percent rescreen contingent or contract employees.

Our take: Rescreening has not yet become a best practice among many companies that conduct background checks of new employees. While it may be prudent to rescreen an employee who has been promoted or changes roles, a small percentage of companies globally rescreen employees who match this criteria. If the initial background check was conducted years ago, or if the new position includes increased responsibility or access, a new background verification possibly including additional types of searches (credit, adverse action, bankruptcy, etc.) may be a sound practice.

  • What are your most significant employment screening challenges?

Globally, all regions named reducing time-to-hire (46 percent) as their most significant challenge. A whopping 55 percent of EMEA respondents cited it as their top challenge.

EMEA stated that they are more likely than other regions to face challenges in the areas of meeting regulatory requirements, and significantly more likely than the U.S. to experience significant challenges reducing time-to-hire.

APAC is more likely than other regions to experience challenges managing screening costs.

Our take: Despite numerous differences between what checks can be conducted across the globe, all HR teams, no matter location, share the same frustration with “reducing time-to-hire.” In the U.S., this was the leading challenge, significantly ahead of any other challenges, whereas in both EMEA and APAC, candidate experience, process efficiency and quality information all rated highly. This supports the fact the U.S. market for screening is more developed, with EMEA and APAC still facing many areas to improve the screening process.

  • Has your organization uncovered issues during the background check process?

Globally, 76 percent of respondents said “yes.”

Seventy-seven percent of U.S. organizations surveyed answered “yes.”

Seventy-three percent of EMEA organizations surveyed answered “yes.”

Seventy percent of APAC organizations surveyed answered “yes.”

Our take: Background checks quite often yield attempted deceptions, worldwide. Without a proper screening process in place, many of these candidates may well have been hired for positions they were not truly qualified or experienced enough for. This highlights the importance, no matter where you are, of conducting proper due diligence.

  • What are you doing to ensure a good candidate experience?

Sixty percent of U.S. organizations answered they provided follow-up communication for all candidates, 47 percent used candidate-friendly emails, and 29 percent offered mobile-friendly apps.

EMEA also endorsed candidate-friendly emails as did APAC.

Our take: In today’s stronger economy and more competitive hiring environment, improving the candidate experience has become important to organizations worldwide.

In conclusion, regardless of region, HR Professionals share a challenge in addressing changes in regulations affecting hiring and background verifications. The U.S. faces shifting stances on medical marijuana and increasing support for Ban the Box. Brexit may affect hiring practices in the UK; nearly half of those responding to our EMEA survey agreed that leaving the European Union will make screening more complex. Incoming senior employees still are not being adequately screened while the extended workforce – temps, contract workers, and contingent labor – are screened but with different criteria than what is used for permanent employees.

We look forward to receiving the responses to our 2018 Annual Benchmark Survey,  coming soon!

Download: The 2017 Employment Screening Benchmark Report
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Lewis Lustman

I’m a recovering UCLA English major who loves communicating using today’s variety of media. As Content Marketing Manager for HireRight, I have the privilege and opportunity to discover and share new perspectives on the background check process.

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