- Sixty percent of employers say they always screen potential hires' social media to uncover behavior involving drugs, violence, bigotry or other unlawful activity, while 28% screen only if the job requires it, according to a new report by First Advantage. The background check and drug screening company surveyed its customers and analyzed customer search data to identify factors driving the employment background screening industry.
- There has been a nearly 50% increase in employers checking potential candidates' backgrounds on the National Sex Offender Registry and a near 40% decrease in employers ordering full drug screenings of candidates' urine, the report said. The report also found around that 12% of employers drug screen their current and prospective employees in some way.
- In other insights, the report found that screening orders are up for verifying candidates' references (28%), credentials (13%), former employment (10%) and education (4%).
As talent professionals grapple with how to speed up time-to-hire without sacrificing the quality of new hires, they might weigh the costs and benefits of these types of screenings and background checks. Though screenings can add time to the recruiting process, they might also help talent professionals get a fuller picture of their candidates' character. Ruling out candidates after a screening can reduce the cost of replacing a bad hire later, as can the tried-and-true reference check. According to recent research, reference checks have helped employers rule out as many as one-third of candidates who weren't ideal for their roles.
Still, social media screens present some challenges. Experts have warned that employers may discover protected factors, and generally recommend that anyone performing social media screens be trained to report only red flags and not be directly involved in decisionmaking. Screening candidates only once they've progressed to the final round can help prevent issues, too.
Pressured by a tight labor market and the need to control hiring costs, recruiters and hiring managers also are reassessing who they consider to be ideal candidates — and on what basis they make that determination. In states where medical marijuana is legal, or in states with ban-the-box laws, employers have already observed cases in which drug use or a criminal record does not always preclude workers from doing their jobs well. HR must tread carefully in such states, and talent professionals everywhere might consider on a case-by-case basis if such background checks are a standard by which to disqualify a candidate with the right hard skills, experience or rare soft skills needed for a role.