First Advantage released the results of its “2019 Top Screening Trends & Insights” State of the Industry report. After surveying enterprise customers and cross-referencing their responses with aggregated data from more than 66 million annual global searches, First Advantage was able to identify the key trends driving the employment background screening industry.

Available as a five-part series, the initial findings reveal lessons learned such as the need to balance risk and speed (with healthcare indicating the most concern about risk mitigation and retail requiring speed) and seasonal hiring spikes including increases in the retail, business services and transportation sectors each fall. Other compelling findings include:

  • Centralized global background screening is becoming more prevalent to ensure system-wide compliance and consistency
  • Usage of the “National Criminal Plus” file has increased 38 percent
  • Companies are increasing orders for former employment (10 percent), education (4 percent), credential verifications (13 percent) and references (28 percent)
  • Of those conducting social media screening of their employees or prospective employees (looking for behaviors such as drugs, violence or bigotry), 60 percent screen all employees and 28 percent only screen if the specific job requires it
  • Almost 12 percent more clients include drug screening for their prospective and current employees
  • First Advantage’s analysis also uncovered global developments, which are especially relevant to multinational organizations seeking to ensure a consistent candidate experience. The upward trend includes 12 percent more ordering former employment internationally; 16 percent more ordering criminal record searches; 15 percent more ordering education verifications internationally and 8 percent more ordering government ID internationally.

Additional criminal monitoring trends are cited, especially those relevant to diminishing the impact of “state jumping.” For example, since the healthcare industry participates in federal programs including Medicare and Medicaid, the need to check for criminal convictions across states necessitates a deeper screening process. Yet, respondents across all industries indicated 21 percent only check a candidate’s current address; 10 percent check all addresses for the past five years; and 26 percent check all addresses for the past seven years.

CEO Scott Staples said, “Companies compete aggressively for qualified talent, making screening turnaround time a crucial factor in advancing an offer. At the same time, balancing risk to support workplace safety, reputation management and alignment with legislative and other requirements necessitates comprehensive screening practices”.