May 25th, 2015 | Sterling

What’s Trending in Background Screening?

What's Trending in Background Screening? | SterlingBackcheck

Background checks are generating buzz among HR professionals. Everyone wants to know what works, what doesn’t, and how to get the most background checking bang for their buck.

It’s no secret that outsourcing background checks can be a hiring manager’s best friend. Not only do they identify applicants with shady pasts or bogus résumé claims, but they are also effective when used to confirm the positive attributes of applicants. But it’s the processes, compliance, and policy-related topics that are creating the stir.

What background checks should I conduct? Should I use a third-party screening provider? Are there any laws that restrict or impact my ability to run background checks? How can I get the results faster? What are my competitors doing? These are the types of questions at the forefront of the background screening conversation.

In an effort to help employers gauge their background checking performance, SterlingBackcheck conducted a survey of over 1,400 HR professionals. The goal was to gather data to answer some of these questions, while diving deeper into the conversation to learn what challenges face employers when conducting background checks and what their plans are for the upcoming year.

Here are three topics that emerged as major discussion points with readers:


No surprise here, criminal record checks were the most popular screening tools used by the HR professionals surveyed. Criminal record checks were also cited as being extremely important to the screening process. Other screening tools used by the majority of respondents included social security and identity checks, From I-9/E-Verify, employment and education verifications, and drug or health-related services. Additional information including the use and importance of other major background screening tools can be found on page 10 of the Background Screening Trends & Best Practices Report.


Background checks are most often associated with screening applicants pre-hire, but how are employers mitigating risks concerning current employees?

Nearly half of employers rely on a self-reporting policy, requiring their staff to alert HR if they are convicted of a crime.

While this might work in theory, how many employees can be trusted to turn themselves in? One third of employers are taking a more progressive approach by conducting background checks post-hire. Refer to pages 22 and 23 of the report to learn more about how often employers re-screen or monitor their employees and what they do when criminal activity is uncovered.


One thing is certain, employers are keeping their eye on local legislation as rules, regulations, and guidelines changed frequently over the past year. The biggest concern among employers is Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) class action and negligent hiring legal action. Despite this concern, a shocking 10% of employers don’t use any resources, such as legal counsel, a background screening provider or trade association to keep themselves apprised of compliance topics. Background screening compliance is outlined on pages 24 and 25 of the report.

The conversation doesn’t end there. SterlingBackcheck’s Background Screening Trends & Best Practices Report provides insight into a variety of background screening topics and is a must-have for employers and HR professionals.

This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.