Employers Reporting Decreased Use of Background Checks

By Michael Klazema on 8/2/2012

According to a recent survey conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), the number of employers reporting that they conduct background checks on prospective employees has declined since 2010. Despite the fact that technology and online background check companies have made it easier than ever to check the backgrounds of applicants, fewer companies are looking into credit or criminal histories. This decline is thought to be due in part to the federal government and states cracking down on the checks and how they are used.

Rules passed by the EEOC in April have changed federal law dictating when and how background checks can be used for pre-employment purposes. The changes were made partially due to concerns that racial minorities and other groups could potentially be discriminated against with the way the law was written previously. This has led to confusion for some employers, leading others to abandon checks altogether for fear of breaking the law. On the state level, some states have either outright banned checks on credit history or restricted their use.

In 2010, a law passed in Illinois prohibiting pre-employment credit checks. Upon his approval of the law, Governor Pat Quinn reasoned that job applicants should be given a break due to the economic recession.

According to Mike Aitken, government affairs vice president at SHRM, the results of the survey point to the new regulations, in addition to “increased attention to the issue.” The survey results show that over one-half of those responding to the survey reported not using credit checks when hiring new employees. That’s up from 2010 numbers, where 40 percent reported they didn’t use credit history checks. The latest survey shows that 34 percent of the respondents use credit checks, and 87 percent use them for positions that entail financial responsibilities. And for employers reporting the use of criminal background checks, 28 percent said it was to comply with requirements in state law. Aitken believes that “employers are looking more closely” at the use of background checks, and are being extra cautious in ensuring that pre-employment screening practices are “related to the duties of specific positions” and are following federal law.

While the survey results may be good for those with checkered backgrounds looking for work, it is not good for the employers who have abandoned conducting background checks. By using a reputable company like, you can be assured you are getting the best and most thorough background check screening techniques available.With access to countless criminal databases nationwide they have many options available, several with instant results. Their US OneSEARCH gives you instant information from more than 430 million criminal records from counties, Department of Corrections (DOC), Administration of Courts (AOC) and State Sex Offender Registries covering 49 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam. Also included are national and international terrorism sources, more than 11 million photos, and their proprietary database of previously completed reports. Or try their Ongoing Criminal Monitoring tool, which allows you to automatically run a continuous background check against a name and date of birth. You will be notified via email of any new information that may appear on their record. They will run the name for one year and remind you when it is time to renew the monitoring, plus you can remove the name from being monitored at any time.

About - - a founding member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) - serves thousands of customers nationwide, from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies by providing comprehensive screening services. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with an Eastern Operations Center in Chapin, S.C., is home to one of the largest online criminal conviction databases in the industry. For more information about backgroundchecks’ offerings, please visit



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