Background Checking—The Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring Decisions
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Background Checking—The Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring Decisions

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Approximately two-thirds (69%) of organizations reported that they conduct criminal background checks on all of their job candidates. Roughly one-half of organizations conduct criminal background ...

Approximately two-thirds (69%) of organizations reported that they conduct criminal background checks on all of their job candidates. Roughly one-half of organizations conduct criminal background checks to reduce legal liability for negligent hiring (52%) and to ensure a safe work environment for employees (49%). The top two convictions that are very influential in the decision not to extend a job offer are violent felonies (96%) and nonviolent felonies (74%). However, about three-fifths (58%) of organizations allow job candidates to explain the results of their criminal checks before the decision to hire or not to hire is made.

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Background Checking—The Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring Decisions Background Checking—The Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring Decisions Presentation Transcript

  • SHRM Survey Findings: BackgroundChecking—The Use of Criminal BackgroundChecks in Hiring Decisions July 19, 2012 The Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring Decisions ©SHRM 2012
  • Key Findings  Do organizations conduct criminal background checks on job candidates? Sixty-nine percent of organizations reported that they conduct criminal background checks on all of their job candidates. Eighteen percent of organizations conduct criminal checks on select job candidates, and 14% do not conduct criminal checks on any job candidates.  When do organizations initiate criminal background checks? Among organizations that conduct criminal background checks, most initiate criminal background checks after a contingent job offer (62%) or after the job interview (32%). Very few organizations (4%) initiate criminal background checks before a job interview.  Why do organizations conduct criminal background checks? Organizations conduct criminal checks on job candidates 1) to reduce legal liability for negligent hiring (52%) and 2) to ensure a safe work environment for employees (49%).  What type of criminal activity could influence the decision not to hire a particular job candidate? The top two criminal activities that are very influential in the decision not to hire a job candidate are a convicted violent felony (96%) and a convicted nonviolent felony (74%).  Do organizations allow job candidates to explain the results of their criminal checks? Yes; 58% of organizations allow job candidates to explain the results of their criminal checks before the decision to hire or not to hire is made, and 27% allow job candidates to explain the results after the decision is made. The Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring Decisions ©SHRM 2012 2
  • Does your organization, or an agency hired by your organization,conduct criminal background checks for any job candidates? 69% All job candidates 73% 18% 2012 (n = 406) Select job candidates 19% 2010 (n = 347)No, my organization does not conduct this 14%type of background check on any of its job candidates 7%Note: Respondents who answered “not sure” were excluded from this analysis. Percentages may not equal 100% due to rounding. The Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring Decisions ©SHRM 2012 3
  • Does your organization, or an agency hired by your organization, conduct criminal background checks for any job candidates?Comparisons by organization staff sizeOrganizations with 100 to 499 employees and 2,500 to 24,999 employees are more likely than organizations with 1 to 99 employeesto conduct criminal background checks for all job candidates. Comparisons by organization staff size 2,500 to 24,999 employees (83%) > 1 to 99 employees (48%) 100 to 499 employees (69%)Comparisons by organization sector Publicly owned for-profit organizations are more likely than privately owned for-profit organizations to conduct criminal background checks for all job candidates. Comparisons by organization sector Publicly owned for-profit (84%) > Privately owned for-profit (62%)Note: Only statistically significant differences are shown. The Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring Decisions ©SHRM 2012 4
  • When does your organization, or any agency hired by your organization, initiate criminal background checks on job candidates? After a contingent job offer 62%After the job interview, but before a job offer 32%After the completion of a job application, but 4% before the job interview Varies by job level 1% Other 1% n = 343 The Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring Decisions ©SHRM 2012 5
  • What are the primary reasons your organization conducts criminal background checks on job candidates? 52% To reduce legal liability for negligent hiring 55% 49% To ensure a safe work environment for employees 61%To reduce/prevent theft and embezzlement, other criminal 36% activity 39%To comply with applicable state law requiring a background 28% check (e.g., day care teachers, licensed medical 20% practitioners) for a particular position 17% To assess the overall trustworthiness of the job candidate 12% 2012 (n = 341) 2010 (n = 310) 5% Other 4% Note: Percentages do not equal 100% due to multiple response options. Respondents were asked to select top two options. The Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring Decisions ©SHRM 2012 6
  • When conducting a criminal background check on job candidates, how influential is/would be the discovery of each of the following in your decision NOT to extend a job offer? 96% Convicted violent felony (e.g., murder, rape) 95% 74% Convicted nonviolent felony (e.g., fraud, embezzlement) 74% Convicted violent misdemeanor (e.g., criminal offense 60% that is less serious than a felony and generally punishable by a fine, a jail term of up to a year or both) 58% Convicted nonviolent misdemeanor (e.g., criminal 26% offense that is less serious than a felony and generally punishable by a fine, a jail term of up to a year or both) 22% 2012 (n = 348) 2010 (n = 312)Note: Figure represents respondents who answered “very influential.” Percentages are based on a scale where 1 = “not at all influential” and 4 = “very influential.” The Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring Decisions ©SHRM 2012 7
  • When conducting a criminal background check on job candidates, how influential are/would be the following factors related to a criminal activity (regardless of whether they resulted in conviction) in your decision NOT to extend a job offer? The severity of the criminal activity (i.e., the more 84% severe, the less likely to hire) 81% The number of convictions (i.e., the higher number of 76% convictions, the less likely to hire) 75% The relevance of the criminal activity to the position 69% applied for 73% The length of time since the criminal activity (i.e., the 51% more recent the activity, the less likely to hire) 56% 2012 (n = 348) The age of the job candidate when the criminal activity 37% 2010 (n = 309) occurred (e.g., if it occurred during adulthood as 31% opposed to youth, you would be less likely to hire)Note: Figure represents respondents who answered “very influential.” Percentages are based on a scale where 1 = “not at all influential” and 4 = “very influential.”Other information that influences the decision not to extend a job offer is nondisclosure of criminal activity prior to a background check. The Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring Decisions ©SHRM 2012 8
  • Does your organization allow job candidates, in certain circumstances,the opportunity to explain the results of their criminal backgroundcheck that might have an adverse effect on an employment decision? Yes, after the criminal background check is 58% conducted, but before the decision to hire or not hire is made 63% 27%Yes, after the decision to hire or not hire has been made 25% 2012 (n = 340) 15% No, not at any time 2010 (n = 308) 12% The Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring Decisions ©SHRM 2012 9
  • Criminal Background Checks Conducted on Select JobCandidates The Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring Decisions ©SHRM 2012 10
  • Which category of job candidates does your organization conduct criminal background checks on? Job candidates for positions with fiduciary and financial responsibility (e.g., handling 69% cash, banking, accounting, compliance, technology) 78% Job candidates who will have access to highly confidential employee information 66% (e.g., salary, benefits, medical information or other personal information about employees) 68%Job candidates who will have access to company or other peoples property or otherwise will be 55% placed in a position of financial trust (e.g., information technology, administrative services) 60% Job candidates for senior executive positions (e.g., CEO, CFO, CHRO) 48% 55% Job candidates who will be employed in safety-sensitive positions (including operating heavy 37% equipment, transportation, etc.) 48% Job candidates who will work with children, the elderly, the disabled and other vulnerable 31% populations 33% Job candidates for positions for which state law requires a background check (e.g., day care 29% teachers, licensed medical practitioners) 40% Job candidates who will have security responsibilities (e.g., security guards) 28% 43% Job candidates who will work in health care or with access to drugs (e.g., hospitals, nursing 19% homes, clinics, pharmacies, rehabilitation centers) 32% Job candidates for positions involving national defense or homeland security 11% 2012 (n = 65) 25% 8% 2010 (n = 60) Other 15% Note: The data in this figure represent organizations that conduct criminal background checks on select job candidates. Percentages do not equal 100% due to multiple response options. With small sample sizes, the response of one participant can affect the overall results considerably; this should be noted when making interpretations of the data, particularly when interpreting small percentage differences. The Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring Decisions ©SHRM 2012 11
  • Demographics: Organization Industry Percentage Manufacturing 19% Health care and social assistance 17% Professional, scientific and technical services 12% Other services, except public administration 10% Educational services 9% Finance and insurance 7% Retail trade 5% Public administration 4% Transportation and warehousing 4% Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional and similar organizations 4% Accommodation and food services 3% Note: n = 386. Percentages do not equal 100% due to multiple response options. The Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring Decisions ©SHRM 2012 12
  • Demographics: Organization Industry (Continued) Percentage Arts, entertainment and recreation 3% Utilities 3% Administrative and support and waste management and remediation services 2% Construction 2% Information 2% Wholesale trade 2% Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting 2% Real estate and rental and leasing 2% Repair and maintenance 2% Mining 1% Management of companies and enterprises 1% Note: n = 386. Percentages do not equal 100% due to multiple response options. The Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring Decisions ©SHRM 2012 13
  • Demographics: Organization Sector Privately owned for-profit organization 51% Nonprofit organization 24% Publicly owned for-profit organization 18% Government sector 5% Other 3% Note: n = 386. Percentages do not equal 100% due to rounding. The Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring Decisions ©SHRM 2012 14
  • Demographics: Organization Staff Size 1 to 99 employees 24% 100 to 499 employees 40% 500 to 2,499 employees 14% 2,500 to 24,999 employees 17% 25,000 or more employees 5% n = 375 The Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring Decisions ©SHRM 2012 15
  • Demographics: Other Is your organization a single-unit organization or a multi-unit organization?Does your organization have U.S.-basedoperations (business units) only or does Single-unit organization: An organizationit operate multinationally? in which the location and the 36% organization are one and the sameU.S.-based operations only 76% Multi-unit organization: An organizationMultinational operations 24% 64% that has more than one locationn = 386 n = 387 For multi-unit organizations, are HR policies andWhat is the HR department/function practices determined by the multi-unityou responded for throughout this headquarters, by each work location or both?survey? Multi-unit headquarters determines HR 56%Corporate (companywide) 71% policies and practicesBusiness unit/division 15% Each work location determines HR 4% policies and practicesFacility/location 15%Note: n = 256. Percentages do not equal 100% due to A combination of both the work locationrounding. and the multi-unit headquarters 40% determine HR policies and practices n = 257 The Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring Decisions ©SHRM 2012 16
  • Background Checking—The Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring Decisions Methodology  Response rate = 19%  Sample composed of 544 randomly selected HR professionals from SHRM’s membership  Margin of error +/-4%  Survey fielded December 28, 2011-February 7, 2012 For more poll findings, visit www.shrm.org/surveys Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/SHRM_ResearchProject leader:Justina Victor, survey research analyst, SHRM ResearchProject contributors:Evren Esen, manager, SHRM ResearchMark Schmit, Ph.D., SPHR, Vice President, SHRM ResearchCopy editor:Katya Scanlan The Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring Decisions ©SHRM 2012 17