SHRM Finds Fewer Employers Using Background Checks in Hiring

ALEXANDRIA, Va., July 19, 2012 — Fewer employers are conducting credit and criminal background checks on job candidates today than two years ago, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found in newly released research.

More than one-half (53 percent) of respondents to a SHRM survey said they don’t use credit background checks in hiring. That’s an increase from 2010, when 40 percent of organizations reported not using credit checks, and from 2004, when 39 percent did not.

In a second survey released today, SHRM found an increase in the percentage of employers that don’t conduct criminal background checks, from 7 percent in 2010 to 14 percent in 2012.

“Human resources professionals are looking more closely at the job-relatedness of these practices,” said Mark Schmit, SHRM’s vice president of research. “As a result, fewer employers are using background checks, and checks are often done for specific jobs or to comply with the law.”

In a finding that suggested negative credit information is not often a barrier to hiring, 80 percent of employers reported hiring a job candidate whose credit report contained information that reflected negatively on the candidate’s financial situation.

Sixty-nine percent of organizations conducted criminal checks on all job candidates, while 18 percent conducted them on selected candidates.

What discoveries would lead to a decision not to extend a job offer? Ninety-six percent of respondents said a convicted violent felony, and 74 percent said convicted nonviolent felony.

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