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Building The Best Background Checks in 2019

Fresh insights to inform your screening strategy

The “best background check” really depends on the employer, their industry and what they prioritize (risk, report turnaround times, cost or candidate experience). So the best background check is one that constantly evolves. Having the power to intelligently adjust a background screening program based on fresh insight into industry trends, candidate behaviors and peer benchmarks is what’s helping today’s organizations attract top talent and stay ahead of competing employers.

Knowing this, First Advantage recently released its 2019 Top Screening Trends and Insights—a comprehensive report that analyzes the results of a recent screening customer survey and 66+ million global background checks performed by the company throughout 2018. According to the report, here are a few of the top trends driving background checks today.

Balancing risk versus speed

In background screening, it’s critical to balance risk and speed. If your search is too narrow, you might get faster results, but you could also miss critical information. If it’s too in-depth, you’ll get a better understanding of the candidate, but it could delay the results and cause anxious candidates to accept offers from other companies.

The First Advantage trend report reveals that healthcare employers are more focused on risk, while retail and staffing companies need background checks with a fast turnaround time. However, most companies fall in the middle. More organizations say they’re relying on benchmarking to determine what’s right for their business. By seeing what other similarly-sized companies within their industry are doing, they feel more confident about the depth, breadth and speed of their background checks.Employers are also partnering with their screening providers to look for other ways to cut turnaround times.

Data-driven screening: discrepancy rates

According to the First Advantage report, discrepancy rates—differences between the information provided by a candidate on an application or resume and the information returned in a background check—vary between industries.

  • Healthcare clocked the lowest discrepancy rate at 2 percent, while staffing and business process outsourcing (BPO) had the highest discrepancy rates at 9.8 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively.
  • In terms of background check components, education verifications and former employment verifications had the highest discrepancy rates at 22.04 percent and 21.81 percent, respectively. Reference verifications had the lowest discrepancy rate at less than 1 percent.

Background check trends

If you’re wondering how your screening program stacks up against what other organizations are doing, here’s a peek at what’s trending in 2019, according to the First Advantage report.

These background check components experienced high increases in usage rates in 2018. If you’re not currently using these tools, they might be worth reconsidering, based on your business needs. Always consult your legal counsel first to determine what’s best for your organization.

  • 46 percent increase in national sex offender registry searches
  • 38 percent increase in National Criminal Plus searches—a comprehensive search of the First Advantage proprietary criminal records database, including developed names such as nicknames and maiden names
  • 28 percent increase in reference checks
  • 16 percent increase in international criminal background checks

Keep reading to learn which drug screening tests employers are using, which drug test has plummeted nearly 40 percent and much more. Download Full Report.

When you have questions, we have answers. At First Advantage, we’re here to provide employers with the trusted solutions, insight and guidance they need to build the best background checks.

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Along the applicant journey and beyond, leading HR teams around the globe rely on First Advantage for screening, verifications, safety, and compliance. Striking the balance between tech and people, our innovations help you Hire Smarter and Onboard Faster.
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