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Background check services are a smart way to protect a business by determining relevant and pertinent information about a job candidate’s background – before making the final hiring decision. 

Background and employment checks have become an integral part of a company’s efforts to safeguard its business as it negotiates the ever-increasing need to use a remote and globalized workforce to stay competitive.

While technology has created the possibility of more remote jobs than ever, the reality is, when COVID hit, remote work became SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for most nonessential workers. 

With the pandemic apparently growing smaller in the rearview mirror, no one is exactly certain as to how the post-pandemic business world will re-emerge. How many companies will continue to hire & onboard employees – without ever meeting them in person – if a remote business model is functional and cost-effective?

study by HR Research Institute (HR.com) in 2020 offers valuable insight into the who and how often employers use employment background checks. Note that this survey represents input from companies/organizations of all sizes and a cross-section of industries and sectors – with relevant demographics noted below –

  • 46% of the survey respondents were from private companies
  • 18% of the survey respondents from nonprofit companies
  • 29% of the survey respondents were from companies of 100 to 499 employees
  • 37% of the survey respondents were from companies with fewer than 100 employees

Trend #1 

Respondents in the HR Research Institute’s survey indicated that 90% of the respondent’s companies now screen (with one or more background checks) each full-time hire. This is up from 86% from just a year earlier in 2019.

The overall increase reveals that companies are also using employment background checks for part-timers, vendor reps, and even temporary workers, among others. In addition, it is relevant to note that nearly three-quarters of the survey’s respondents now have a written screening policy in place. 

Trend #2

History reveals that most businesses and organizations (66%) wait until a viable, conditional job offer before investing the time and effort required to obtain an employment background check. However, recent trends in employment checks now suggest that companies are now performing employment background checks more often outside what is the typically considered hiring process. 

Trend #3 

Recent data from HR.com’s report/survey also suggests that employers are now performing employment background checks more regularly – some on an annual basis, having grown 33% from 2019 to 2020 (9% vs. 12%). Is this significant shift to regularly running an employment background check due to the recent rise of the gig economy

Trend #4 

About 85% of employers reveal a need for international screen capabilities. About one-quarter of the respondents to HR.com’s survey indicated that their company is currently performing certain employment checks within and outside of the United States. 

Trend #5 

Finally, the HR.com survey report indicates the breadth and depth of employment background checks are becoming more robust. Among the non-criminal background checks included are –

  • A Trace of a Social Security Number 
  • Credit Check for Employment
  • Education
  • Current or Previous Employment
  • Motor Vehicle and/or Driving Record
  • Sex Offender Registry
  • Alcohol and Drug Testing
  • The Verification of the Candidate’s Professional License
  • Social Media, to name a few. 

In fact, for the year 2020, 60% of the respondents indicated they included an employment verification in the process – up from 43% one year earlier in 2019. 

With the ease of doing a background check today, why risk the possible liability you could face by not doing a background check on a potential employee? 

The dangers of hiring without a background check

These can include:

Putting your customers or employees at risk

High on the list of possible hazards is putting your customers or employees at risk. If you unwittingly hire someone who has a history of violent crime or is a sex offender, you risk liability. 


Cybersecurity is a growing concern for many companies. If you hire someone who has a history of committing cybercrime, you could put your company at risk.

Even if your company seems to be a low-value target, there is still a wealth of information that a cyber-criminal could use. From personnel files to proprietary software, or even skimming personal data from phones that connect to the company WiFi, you could be a target. 

Fake resumes

A background check allows you to verify your potential employees’ credentials

Did they graduate with the degree of the claim? Have they worked for the companies they list? 

A background check gives you some peace of mind that an employee is who they portray themselves to be. A resume can say anything, and some things like college degrees, are easy to fake and difficult to verify without a background check. 

Potential injuries

A driving record is part of almost any background check, and necessary if an employee will be making deliveries or driving a company vehicle.

If you hire someone with a history of reckless driving, you can be held at fault if they injure someone in the course of working for you. 

Wasted time and resources

Failing to hire the right person for the job will cost your company time and resources.

Though this might not outwardly be as dangerous as some of the other ramifications on the list, over time, it can damage the financial stability of a company.

Background checks are easy to do and relatively inexpensive. Compare the cost of doing a background check on every potential employee to the price of just one of the dangers above.

You will find that background checks are easily cost-justified. The simplest way to do a check is to use reputable background check websites. 

Background Check Websites


The Better Business Bureau accredits this company with an A+ rating. They offer three different packages to best suit the needs of your company.

They also have add-on options to customize your reports with the specific information you may need. The website is intuitive and easy to use, which is a plus if you are just starting to run background checks.


An established favorite background check website for larger businesses. Checkr offers an excellent mobile interface and up-to-date information.

Checkr can send invitations to potential employees asking that they respond with their permission to run a background check. They are price friendly and offer customization options.

The turn-around time for reports is a little slower than some other sites. The longer turn-around time might be because their reports have a reputation for being more in-depth. The reports are clear, concise and easy to use. 

A Good Employee

This website is great for mid-sized to large companies. The user interface is easy to use, although it does appear a bit dated.

The company provides a thorough background check, and its base package contains more information than that of some other websites. Though the price is a bit higher, but with more in-depth knowledge.

The more extensive information can end up being cost-efficient as you are avoiding paying for constant add-ons.

A Good Employee does not do social media checks. There is some controversy surrounding social media history in hiring practices. Whether this is a pro or con depends on your company’s stance on using information from social media.