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International Survey: One In Four Say They Have Exaggerated The Truth To Get Hired

Poll Indicates Consumers’ Widespread Approval Of Background Screening, Despite Some Willing To Stretch The Facts 

ATLANTA – August 4, 2015 – First Advantage, a Symphony Technology Group (STG) company and the leading provider of background screening analytics and identity solutions, today announced the results of an international consumer sentiment survey about background checks. According to the survey, nearly one-fourth of job candidates (23 percent) admit to exaggerating the truth on their resume or in a job interview in order to land a position. While First Advantage’s own domestic screening data does not register intentional versus accidental discrepancies, a review of employment screening records shows an average discrepancy rate of 46 percent in the U.S., 23 percent in the U.K. and 21 percent in Asia Pacific (APAC).

The survey also found widespread support for background screening, with 82 percent of consumers saying that organizations should run background checks. When asked what benefits background checks provide, if any, nearly half (44 percent) said it raises the credibility of the organization. Respondents also said it makes their colleagues and the organization more trustworthy (44 percent and 46 percent, respectively), and it makes them feel physically safer at work (42 percent). More than one quarter (28 percent) indicated that they are less concerned about office theft if the organization conducts background checks.

“We have known for a while that employers generally appreciate the role that background checks play in protecting an organization,” says Michael Pilnick, executive vice president of human resources at First Advantage. “What we haven’t known, until now, is the level of support that background screening holds by the general public. We are encouraged to see that the public has also recognized the importance and value of background checks in providing a safer and more credible business environment.”

When consumers were asked whether they have ever undergone a background check by an employer or potential employer, the results varied widely by region. While 82 percent of U.S. respondents reporting having gone through a background check, just 61 percent of those in the U.K. responded the same, along with only 49 percent in the Asia-Pacific region. Within APAC, just 18 percent of consumers in Japan said that they have had a background check.

When asked to rank their levels of apprehension surrounding six main aspects of the job search process, background screening ranked fifth, with only drug tests causing less concern. The job interview scored most nerve-wracking followed by the first day on the job, negotiating salary and updating a resume.

The survey also examined how employees might feel about working alongside convicted criminals. Twenty-six percent would be somewhat uncomfortable working in the same vicinity as a convicted criminal, and nine percent said they would be very uncomfortable with doing so. Approximately 35 percent were neutral to the idea.

Conducting Background Checks in Personal Life: Are Americans Nosier? 
In addition, First Advantage used the survey to collect individuals’ sentiments about the use of background checks beyond employment. When posed with a hypothetical, 43 percent of respondents (49 percent U.S.; 43 percent APAC; 36 percent U.K.) would consider ordering a background check on their child’s significant other. On average, 40 percent would consider running a background check on their neighbor (49 percent U.S.; 36 percent APAC; 36 percent U.K.)

This online survey of 800 adults employed in the U.S., 806 adults employed in the U.K. and 1275 employed adults in the APAC region, was commissioned by First Advantage. All data is self-reported by study participants and is not verified or validated. Respondents participated in the survey between May and July 2015. Detailed findings are available by request.

In addition, First Advantage offered a free webinar, “Public Pulse on Background Checks,” on August 18, 2015.

About First Advantage

First Advantage, a company of strategic private equity firm Symphony Technology Group, 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, Ga., First Advantage has offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. More information about First Advantage can be accessed at

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