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First Advantage 2020 U.S. Report Reveals Emergent Trends

Research Highlights How Organizations Across the Country are Using Screening to Recruit, Hire and Onboard Workers

ATLANTA, June 10, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — First Advantage, the global leader in background check and drug screening solutions, today released the second part of its 2020 Trends Report, focused specifically on the U.S. The new research dives into background screening preferences and behaviors cross-referencing customer survey responses with aggregate data from First Advantage’s searches in 2019. Based on the analysis, the report uncovered four emergent trends in U.S. practices, which include improving process efficiencies, optimizing programs with analytic tools, extending workforces with contract labor and planning for marijuana legislation changes.

In terms of process, First Advantage found that 36 percent of survey respondents ranked speed as the number one priority for background screening success as employers seek to streamline recruiting and improve time to hire. At the same time, the number of search packages, which averaged 4.25 per company, indicates that companies are relying increasingly on data to drive decision-making and facilitate faster hiring. Given the rise of contractor, gig and temporary workers, First Advantage also notes a 147 percent surge in the use of its mobile application for collecting candidate background screening data. Overall, the research suggests that employers continue to adopt tools and technologies that support faster, more efficient experiences and turnaround.

On the matter of marijuana, the report examines how employers interpret and control risk as state and local laws differ regarding possession and use. Thirty-five percent of those surveyed said that positivity for marijuana does not disqualify candidates from employment – up from 23 percent of 2018 respondents, reflective of companies accommodating the changing landscape.

First Advantage Senior Vice President, Operations Tom Ellis said, “U.S. employers are working to enhance screening practices by introducing new solutions that optimize the process and mitigate risk, which shows in the data we collected. There is no doubt that next year’s report will look different as a result of COVID-19, but these most recent trends continue to tell an important story about the use of screening to facilitate hiring and one that companies should consider as they get employees back to work.”

First Advantage will explore this year’s research during a webinar scheduled for Thursday, June 25, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. ET. Titled “Top 10 Background Screening Trends: Tales from the Trenches,” the event will feature expert insights into the latest trends as well as why and how companies are changing course to remain competitive in the face of the global health crisis. Registration is available at

Part 2 of the First Advantage 2020 Trends Report is available now on a complimentary basis. To download a copy, please visit

About First Advantage
First Advantage provides comprehensive background screening, identity and information solutions that give employers and housing providers access to actionable information that results in faster, more accurate people decisions. With an advanced global technology platform and superior customer service delivered by experts who understand local markets, First Advantage helps customers around the world build fully scalable, configurable screening programs that meet their unique needs. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, First Advantage has offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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