COVID-19 Update: Despite court closures in many areas, Sterling is still able to complete criminal checks with minimal disruption thanks to our proprietary end-to-end automation that allows us to access court information. For additional info on how Sterling is handling the COVID-19 situation, please visit our COVID-19 page.

July 28th, 2016 | Sterling

The Right To Background Screening

The Right To Background Screening

I have to admit that prior to working at Sterling, I had not given background screening much thought – at least not on an in-depth level anyway. It wasn’t until my first few weeks on the job that I truly began to understand the importance of the work that we do. In fact, I started at a remarkable time as we were just about to release a groundbreaking report in collaboration with Kelton Research entitled, “Employment Background Checks: Survey of American Citizens.”

If there is anything I truly love – it is working with objective, third-party research firms. It is so easy to be engrained in our work that it is nice to watch new patterns emerge within our industry from both new and old datasets. While this report was wrapping up around my start date, I reviewed the methodology behind it. With more than 1,000 people participating in this study, the results are a strong representation of US population and statistically significant.

The entire report was designed to better understand Americans true feelings when it comes to employment background checks. Our assumption was that people dislike background screening, so we decided to put it to a test and asked Kelton Research to help us explore a simple question – how would consumers feel if we eliminated background screening altogether?

While the report is filled to the brim with data (which I will continue to explore over the coming month), I want to start with our largest statistic:

95% of Americans think background checks should be mandatory to determine whether a person has a criminal background before he or she takes on the responsibilities of a job.

This is a profound statistic for a couple of different reasons. First, it debunks the myth that most people are in support of eliminating background checks by an overwhelming majority. Second, there is an implication that hiring managers are more aware of how offenses will not always impact whether or not a person is hirable. Oftentimes, certain offenses are unrelated to the core functions of a job and when companies begin to recognize that it enhances fair and effective hiring. Let’s look at a quick example.

Imagine for a moment that I want to be an airline pilot. I might not be the best fit if I have a series of DUIs on my record. However, if I only have one noise violation from college, it might not be as big of an issue (unless I get an urge to start blasting my latest playlist onboard – which could easily happen). All joking aside, the reality is people care that the workers with whom they interact with on a day-to-day basis have been properly screened before taking on their job responsibilities.

When it comes down to it, I tend to always look for the best in people. But, as our data continues to show, people are not always the spitting image of what they present. Education records are falsified, job descriptions are inflated and criminal records come to light. The idea is not to shun those who come back with a record or conviction, but more so that Americans truthfully believe in the significance and meaning behind the background check. Although our industry can seem complex, we’re here to help. And a perfect way to begin is by reading our latest white paper on this groundbreaking research.

Employment Background Checks: Survey of American Citizens

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