According to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) between November and December 2009, three out of four US businesses perform background checks and criminal background checks as part of their pre-employment requirements. The primary reasons for conducting these two types of background checks include the following:
- To ensure a safe work environment for employees.
- To reduce legal liability for negligent hiring.
- To reduce/prevent theft and embezzlement, and other criminal activity.
- To comply with applicable State law requiring a background check; and
- To assess the overall trustworthiness of the job candidate.
The survey was participated by 433 randomly selected HR professionals from SHRM’s membership. Despite the controversies surrounding background checks, it’s good to know that more and more companies are now paying attention to the safety of their office environment. This, after all, is a good way to promote drug-free environment, as well as help employees become more productive at work and increase the quality of services that businesses offer.
The table below shows the industry categories of job applicants where criminal background checks were prevalent. The data is part of the 2010 report of SHRM on background checking.
|Job candidates for positions with fiduciary and financial responsibility (e.g. handling cash, banking, accounting, compliance, technology)||
|Job candidates who will have access to highly confidential employee information (e.g. salary benefits, medical information or personal information about employees, etc.)||
|Job candidates who will have access to company or other people’s property or otherwise placed in a position of financial trust (e.g. IT, administrative services, etc.)||
|Job candidates for senior executive positions (e.g. CEO, CFO, CHRO, etc.)||
|Job candidates who will be employed in safety-sensitive positions (e.g. transportation, heavy equipment, construction, etc.)||
|Job candidates who will have security responsibilities (e.g. security guards, etc.)||
|Job candidates for positions for which state law requires background check (e.g. day care teachers, licensed medical practitioners, etc.)||
|Job candidates who will work with children, the elderly, the disabled and other vulnerable populations||
|Job candidates who will work in health care or with access to drugs (e.g. hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, pharmacies, rehabilitation centers, etc.)||
|Job candidates for positions involving national defense or homeland security||
In general, background checks and background screening reduce instances of drug abuse in the workplace, tardiness, absenteeism, turnover, attitude problems, theft, decreased productivity, crime and violence. The employer has the option to utilize drug testing alone or a combination of drug test and criminal records search. Whichever an employer decides to implement, it is important that the employee or the job applicant is made aware of the procedure to avoid any legal complications.