Recap of NAPBS Background Screening Survey.

Recap of NAPBS Background Screening Survey

The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) published the results of its second national survey (commissioned to facilitate the survey) asking over 2,137 human resource professionals about employment background checks. The NAPBS background screening survey is titled, “How Human Resource Professionals View the Use and Effectiveness of Background Screening Methods.” The survey itself was conducted by With an emphasis in global economic growth, employers now more than ever are highlighting the safety of employees and their bottom line.

Employers of all sizes and in a multitude of industries reported utilizing background checks as part of the hiring practices, with a majority waiting until the first interview or conditional job offer before validating or qualifying the candidate. Almost all respondents confirmed they conduct some form of screening or compilation of information for part-time or full-time employees to determine suitability for employment.

95% of respondents claimed to run one or more types of employment screening:

  • 86% of respondents screen all full-time employees
  • 68% of respondents also screen part-time employees


Of the 5% of employers that do not conduct an employment background check:

  • 23% of respondents claimed they are using other methods and tools to vet applicants
  • 19% of respondents cited the cost to do the background check
  • 17% of respondents could not provide an explanation as to why they do not use employment background checks

Why are employers conducting background checks?

The driving force behind employers deciding to implement background checks is for public safety. 86% stated they screen applicants to protect their workforce as well as customers and clients.

Other reasons why employers conduct employment background checks include:

  • 52% of respondents were interested in improving the quality of hires
  • 39% of respondents were bound by law or regulation requirements
  • 38% of respondents were interested in protecting company reputation
  • 36% of respondents were interested in reducing and preventing theft, embezzlement, and other criminal behavior

When are employers conducting background checks?

Almost half of the respondents (45%) who contributed to the NAPBS background screening survey have less than 100 employees. 49% of organizations represented were privately held, and 28% were considered non-profit. Additionally, 66% said they have a background screening policy in place, while 9% were not sure a policy existed.

Due to “Ban-the-Box” laws, employers are increasingly waiting until a conditional job offer is extended before running the employment background check:

  • 89% of respondents wait until the job interview or conditional job offer before conducting the background check
  • 62% of respondents reported waiting until a conditional job offer is extended

The majority of employers elect to run the employment background check for new hires during the hiring process:

  • 60% of respondents conduct a background check only during the hiring process
  • 14% of respondents use background checks at times other than the hiring process due to federal/state requirements
  • 10% of respondents conduct background check at times other than during the hiring process

Accuracy is still priority #1 for employers:

Accuracy above anything else is the main value human resources professionals see in employment background checks. In fact, 98% of respondents stated the accuracy of their background screenings is “very important.”

Turnaround time continues to be a challenge for employers:

65% of respondents to the NAPBS background screening survey still face challenges in receiving accurate reports in a timely manner.

Employers Transitioning to Global Screening

As the economy is reaching outside of the United States, employers are now faced with job applicants who have resided in a different countries or have education and experience overseas; therefore, employers have a need for international screenings. 80% of respondents stated they would want access to international records.

Among respondents that recruit and hire candidates outside of the US:

84% of respondents believe it is important for companies to have access to global or international screening solutions.

Companies with locations outside of the US:

89% of respondents believe it is important to have access to global/international screening solutions.

What type of searches are employers doing on job applicants?

Criminal background checks (or some form of it) continue to be the most commonly used search for employers. 94% of respondents to the NAPBS background screening survey include a form of criminal background search.

Here is a closer look at what employers are doing as part of the background check:

National Criminal Database Search
All Candidates – 84%
Some Candidates – 10%
No Candidates – 3%

County/Statewide Criminal Search
All Candidates – 89%
Some Candidates – 8%
No Candidates – 1%

Fingerprint Based Criminal Searches
All Candidates – 18%
Some Candidates – 17%
No Candidates – 53%

Social Security Address Trace
All Candidates – 83%
Some Candidates – 6%
No Candidates – 8%

Credit/Financial (position specific)
All Candidates – 16%
Some Candidates – 31%
No Candidates – 47%

Education Verification (position specific)
All Candidates – 31%
Some Candidates – 25%
No Candidates – 39%

Driving History Search (position specific)
All Candidates – 40%
Some Candidates – 38%
No Candidates – 19%

Drug and Alcohol Testing
All Candidates – 45%
Some Candidates – 17%
No Candidates – 35%

Sex Offender Registry
All Candidates – 69%
Some Candidates – 8%
No Candidates – 15%

Professional License Verification (position specific)
All Candidates – 21%
Some Candidates – 36%
No Candidates – 24%

International Checks
All Candidates – 12%
Some Candidates – 15%
No Candidates – 57%


Founded in 2003 as a not-for-profit trade association, the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) represents the interests of over 850 member companies around the world that offer employment and tenant background screening. NAPBS provides relevant programs and training aimed at empowering members to better serve clients and maintain standards of excellence in the background screening industry, and presents a unified voice in the development of national, state, and local regulations.

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Certifications and Registrations.

Employers Choice Screening is a national employment background screening, and compliance training company headquartered in California with multiple certifications and registrations. We welcome the opportunity to work with chief procurement officers and diversity supply chain procurement managers to bid on RFPs and respond to RFQs for employment background screening, drug testing, and mandated employee compliance training services.