The 2014 HireRight Small Business Spotlight, indicates that employment screening is becoming more and more critical for small businesses, as they may fall victim to some common, but potentially significant screening mistakes. The Spotlight highlights the critical value that screening provides as 64 percent of respondents said screening has exposed a person who lied on a resume or application and 54 percent reported that screening uncovered issues that would not have been found otherwise. The Spotlight released by HireRight, explores small business background check processes based on an extensive survey of small business owners, executives, and managers.

“For small businesses, a bad hire represents a greater proportional cost for the organization than that of large enterprises since every key employee has a huge impact on the business and its customers. Even a single bad hire can stunt a small organization’s future growth,” said Rachel Trindade, vice president of marketing, HireRight. “Our Small Business Spotlight identifies some of the best practices for screening and important trends in background checks that small business owners should consider to improve their hiring quality.”

According to the Spotlight survey respondents, the top benefit of background screening is improved quality of hires (53 percent), as effective screening helps employers ensure the most qualified candidates are hired for key positions. Other benefits respondents noted include a safer and more secure workplace (49 percent) and better regulatory compliance (36 percent), which is critical in a complex environment where state, federal, and industry regulations are constantly being created, modified, and clarified.

Common Screening Mistakes Made by Small Businesses

Despite the benefits of screening that respondents reported, several data points from the Spotlight indicated some significant risks many small businesses may be taking in their screening processes.

  • Not Verifying Previous Employment and Education: Only 58 percent of respondents check previous employment/references, and even fewer, only 32 percent, perform education verifications. By not verifying credentials and experience, small business owners may not be hiring the most qualified candidates for key positions.
  • Not Drug Testing: According to the survey, 68 percent of respondents conduct drug and/or alcohol testing on all employees, leaving 32 percent who do not. Drug use in the workplace can lead to increased risk of accidents, absenteeism, and reduced productivity.
  • Using Social Media for Screening: While the majority of small business respondents do not use social media for screening, about one-third (33 percent) indicated they do use social media sites as part of their screening process. This can be an issue for companies because information accessed on some sites can be biased, inaccurate, or potentially even discriminatory, and can lead to problematic hiring decisions.

Small Business Spotlight

 The Small Business Spotlight is a subset of data collected from the 2014 HireRight Employment Screening Benchmark Survey, an extensive survey of talent management, human resources, and security professionals on topics related to employment screening. The Spotlight asked specific questions of the survey respondents that identified themselves as small businesses with fewer than 100 employees. The complete report is available here.