Background Checks at the Top 10 Largest Employers in the USA

Who employs the most workers in the United States? Knowing the primary employers is vital for job-seekers when exploring new opportunities. Big corporations often hire continuously. Especially in an economy where more remote positions exist than ever—turning to big organizations can open doors to new jobs. A Fortune 500 client is also an attractive business opportunity for vendors and suppliers worth seeking. In both cases, knowing about background checks at the top 10 largest employers is advisable.

What type of screening should you anticipate as a job applicant? What requirements might you need to meet as a vendor to satisfy client requirements? The answers may be as diverse as the businesses that populate the top 10 list. Companies have different requirements, from retail and food service to finance and delivery. This quick guide explores the ten biggest employers and touches on their vetting procedures. Be sure to review our pages on each individual company for further details.


Number of Employees: 2.3 million

With annual revenues topping over $600 billion in recent years, Walmart’s position as the dominant retailer in America continues. Worldwide, the company employs well over 2 million people. It remains one of the largest sources of jobs in America, with more than 4,600 locations. Alongside its standard big box stores, Walmart operates the Sam’s Club warehouse store chain. Is a background check a regular part of applying to work with Walmart?

Yes. Walmart has a background check procedure. The company conducts pre-employment background checks on virtually all job applicants and primarily evaluates criminal history information. Walmart may also verify your education or employment history, contact references and, in rare cases, order a credit report. Before applying, you should understand what to expect.

  • Vendors wishing to work with this company should learn more about Walmart’s background check requirements for third-party vendors here.
  • For individuals looking to apply to work for Walmart, visit our page on what Walmart may look for in your background check.


Number of Employees: 1.6 million

Amazon is no longer a mere online retail company. It is now a media producer, logistics provider, web hosting service, and more. Its millions of employees span numerous departments. The company also employs many freelance and independent contractors, especially for delivery work. Since its founding in 1994, Amazon has profoundly reshaped the landscape of American commerce. That makes it a valuable target for vendors and a promising career choice for many individual workers. However, Amazon is vested in protecting itself and its customers and applies background checks as part of its efforts.

Like many companies, Amazon uses a third-party screening partner to conduct extensive background checks. These assessments most often examine criminal histories. Educational and employment history verification may also take place for skilled positions or office workers. Contractors and other employees handling deliveries must also submit to drug tests and driving record checks.

  • Want to provide services via Amazon as a vendor or partner? Discover what the company expects from you and your employees.
  • Find out more about the Amazon background check process before you apply as an individual.

The Company: The Home Depot

Number of Employees: 490,000

Based in Atlanta, The Home Depot operates home improvement stores in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam. Known as one of the largest providers of hardware and building materials, Home Depot also connects shoppers with services. Home Depot “Pro” providers help homeowners and others accomplish improvement projects. The company doesn’t directly employ these third-party service providers. However, they face strict vetting requirements and must use the background check offered by the company.

With nearly 2,000 stores in the United States alone, most Americans live near a Home Depot. That makes it a convenient and attractive job opportunity, especially with rising wages. Applicants should expect a criminal history background check. Drug tests are likely, especially for positions involving a forklift or wood-cutting equipment.

  • Are you a third-party vendor, contractor, or professional wishing to provide services to or through Home Depot? Find out more about what requirements you may face.
  • See what individual applicants should anticipate from a Home Depot background check.

The Company: FedEx

Number of Employees: 484,000

One of the top two in America’s private delivery services, FedEx operates out of Memphis, Tennessee. However, it has offices in many cities and distribution centers nationwide. FedEx employees include package handlers, store personnel, corporate staff, and pilots. As a logistics business, FedEx relies extensively on a network of contractors and vendors to speed packages toward their final destinations. Employment opportunities with the company typically surge around the holiday season as temporary positions appear.

FedEx does use background checks for its personnel and third-party vendors. Anyone operating a vehicle must also undergo a Department of Transportation background check. This check includes examining your driving record and a thorough drug test. These tests will check for marijuana usage because the substance remains federally illegal.

  • For vendors looking to become a part of the FedEx delivery chain, learn about your screening requirements with our help.
  • Consider the facts about undergoing a FedEx background check as an individual applicant for employment.

The Company: Target

Number of Employees: 450,000

Target is one of America’s largest and most successful retailers, with a brand presence that rivals Walmart’s. Target currently has about 1,950 stores across the country. The company frequently hires large volumes of seasonal and temporary workers during the holiday season. Target states in their career FAQs that they use a third-party background check company to vet all job applicants. They provide conditional job offers to suitable applicants who must pass a background check, which includes a criminal history screening. The company also says it may require drug tests for some positions.

  • For service providers interested in supporting Target, learn more about safe background check programs for vendors.
  • For individuals, you can check out our page on Target background checks to learn more.

The Company: Kroger

Number of Employees: 420,000

With more than 2,700 locations across the United States, Kroger remains one of the largest supermarket chains. With a storied history dating back to the 1880s, Kroger has long been a source of steady jobs. Vendors may include those placing products in stores, providing delivery services, and others. Individual job roles range from stock clerks and department team leaders to store managers. The company also has many jobs outside grocery stores in areas such as manufacturing and warehousing.

Kroger requires a background check in each case when making a conditional job offer. The company uses a third party to conduct these checks. You may need to submit to a drug test in some areas.

United Parcel Services (UPS)

Number of Employees: 401,000

Like FedEx, United Parcel Service (better known as UPS) helps deliver millions of packages every year. Alongside private shipping, UPS also provides logistics and supply chain services at an enterprise level. Jobs range from warehouse workers and truck drivers to advanced automation engineers. Also similar to FedEx, UPS often relies on independent contractors or white-label vendors for some customer services. UPS Store locations, for example, may be franchisee-operated.

UPS requires background checks on all employees, even at the senior corporate level. As always, any individual or vendor operating vehicles must have a DOT-compliant background check.

  • Learn about requirements for UPS vendors in our closer look at the subject.
  • See how to prepare for a UPS background check as an applicant for private employment.

The Company: Starbucks

Number of Employees: 383,000

Want a coffee? You can usually find a Starbucks. With more than 16,000 stores nationwide, it’s no surprise that this company is one of the largest food service employers in the country. Most job roles in Starbucks relate to customer-facing barista positions in stores. However, supply chain managers, corporate office positions, and many other jobs are also available. Starbucks does not ask applicants about their criminal history upfront on applications.

However, it does make conditional job offers and uses criminal background checks. The nature of these checks may vary from state to state based on local law. Starbucks also says it makes every effort to evaluate individual results in context.

  • Starbucks uses some vendors to support its services. See how to build a safer hiring program with our help.
  • Want to try to be a barista or take on another role? We have more facts about the Starbucks background check for you.

Berkshire Hathaway

Number of Employees: 372,000

Berkshire Hathaway is a primary conglomerate and holding company led by billionaire Warren Buffett. The company maintains major and minor stakes in various major brands. Its central holdings include insurer GEICO and HomeServices of America. Berkshire Hathaway is a serious player in real estate, insurance, and many other industries. Its holdings have their own background check policies.

For those who wish to work with or in partnership with Berkshire Hathaway, expect a comprehensive background check. These checks may be more rigorous for roles involving finance or access to capital. You may face a drug test as well. Specific processes will vary based on the type of job you seek and the area where you live.

  • Learn more about Berkshire Hathaway background checks with our quick overview.
  • See how vendors can prepare to provide safe services to partners, including Berkshire Hathaway.

United Health Group

Number of Employees: 350,000

UnitedHealth Group is one of the largest companies in the world in terms of its revenue. It provides extensive health insurance products and services and operates health care providers. UHG delivers a range of career options in its offices, from sales to client services and beyond. All prospective employees must go through a screening process before hiring. The company says this includes a criminal background check and a drug test.

  • Provide services to foremost companies such as UnitedHealth Group by understanding how to screen candidates effectively as a vendor.
  • Prepare for your application process by learning about the UnitedHealth Group hiring requirements.

Know What to Expect From Today’s Mainline Organizations

Jobs with these companies range from warehouse work and retail store floor positions to roles in the corporate boardroom. Understanding background checks at the top 10 largest employers helps you knowwhat to expect before you apply. Remember, some roles may require more in-depth verification than others. Some positions may use only essential screening. As you navigate employment opportunities from these companies, be prepared for the screening process.

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Michael Klazema

About Michael Klazema The author

Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments

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