Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) has released the results of its second annual background screening survey of Human Resources (HR) professionals that revealed 95 percent of employers said their organization is conducting employment background screening in 2018.

The NAPBS commissioned to conduct an “unprecedented” national survey of 2,137 HR professionals to gauge their views on background screening. The survey entitled “How Human Resource Professionals View the Use and Effectiveness of Background Screening Methods” found:

  • 95 percent of employers stated their organization is conducting one or more types of employment background screening, a slight decrease from 96 percent recorded in the first annual NAPBS background screening survey conducted in June 2017.
  • 86 percent of respondents stated they are screening all full-time employees, a slight increase from 83 percent in 2017.
  • 68 percent of respondents are including part-time employees in their screening process, a slight increase from 67 percent in 2017.

The NAPBS background screening survey – which defines a background check as “information compiled on an individual which may be considered when determining eligibility for a job” – found employers are utilizing professional background checks at a near universal rate in an increasingly global economy.

The percentage of employers citing public safety as the top reason they conducted background checks remained at the top of the list in 2018 as 86 percent of employers stated they conducted background checks to protect employees, customers, and others. Other top reasons for background screening were:

  • Improving the quality of hires – 52 percent
  • Law/regulation requirements – 39 percent
  • Protecting company reputation – 38 percent
  • Prevent and/or reduce theft, embezzlement, and other criminal activity – 36 percent

A vast majority of HR professionals – 98 percent – stated that accurate background checks are “very important” while 65 percent stated that the length of time to get results is the most significant challenge they faced with background screening. The items used in the background screening for all job applicants include:

  • County/Statewide Criminal Searches – 89 percent
  • Database/National Criminal Searches – 84 percent
  • Social Security Number (SSN) Trace – 83 percent
  • Sex Offender Registry Search – 69 percent
  • Fingerprint Based Criminal Searches – 53 percent
  • Drug and Alcohol Testing – 45 percent
  • Motor Vehicle Driving Records Searches – 40 percent
  • Education Verification – 31 percent
  • Professional License Verification – 21 percent
  • Credit/Financial Checks – 16 percent
  • International Checks – 12 percent
  • Social Media Search – 8 percent

Of the five percent of respondents who indicated their companies does not conduct background checks, 23 percent stated they use other tools or methods to screen applicants, 19 percent cited associated costs, and 17 percent could not cite a reason responsible for them not utilizing background screenings.

The NAPBS will a present a webinar that discusses the “NAPBS Industry Survey Results” featuring NAPBS Chair, Scott Hall, and NAPBS Executive Director, Melissa Sorenson, on Wednesday, November 14, 2018, and 3 p.m. Eastern Time. To register for the webinar (which requires an NAPBS login), click here.

Founded in 2003 as a not-for-profit trade association, the NAPBS represents the interests of over 850 member companies around the world and empowers members to better serve clients and maintain standards of excellence in the background screening. For more information, visit

As the largest global social networking and resource site for 290,000 HR Professionals, is committed to educating and developing the best HR people with the best possible content and tools enabling smart HR Professionals to be smarter. For more information, visit

“The need to hire the most qualified candidate, and the inherent risk in hiring the wrong candidate, has never been greater,” wrote Dawn Standerwick, Vice President of Strategic Growth for Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), in her article ‘Background Screening As a Commitment to Public Safety.’

“The most common reason among employers for not conducting background screens is cost. That background screen cost, however, represents a fraction of the cost involved in turnover, termination, re-recruiting, re-hiring, and re-training. And that’s best-case scenario for a bad hire,” wrote Standerwick.

Standerwick, Chair of the Board of Directors for the NAPBS for the 2016-17 term, explained how negative publicity from negligent hiring can devastate the foundation of a trusted organization. “Now more than ever, companies should be using regulated, professional background screeners,” she wrote.

“The bottom line is that the purpose of background screening is to provide the public with safe places to live and work. Companies that utilize background screens demonstrate their commitment to ensuring safety, while also ensuring the highest degree of accuracy and professionalism,” Standerwick concluded.

ESR Is NAPBS Accredited for Background Screening

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a founding member of the NAPBS – is accredited by the NAPBS for successfully demonstrating compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). To learn more, visit

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

© 2018 Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – Making copies or using of any part of the ESR News Blog or ESR website for any purpose other than your own personal use is prohibited unless written authorization is first obtained from ESR.

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