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SHRM Survey: Fewer Employers Conducting Credit, Criminal Checks of Job Applicants

The survey also found that an applicant's negative credit information is not a barrier to hiring, with 80 percent of the respondents saying they hired an individual with a poor credit report.

July 25, 2012
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Employers are conducting fewer credit and criminal background checks on prospective employees now compared with two years ago, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management.

The survey of 544 randomly selected human resource professionals from Alexandria, Virginia-based SHRM's membership, found that 53 percent of the respondents don't use credit checks when hiring employees, SHRM said in a statement. That compares with 40 percent in 2010, which was the most recent survey.

Employers that do not conduct criminal background checks when hiring increased to 14 percent in 2012 from 7 percent in 2010, SHRM said July 19.

"Human resources professionals are looking more closely at the job-relatedness of these practices," said Mark Schmit, SHRM's vp of research, in the statement. "As a result, fewer employers are using background checks, and checks are often done for specific jobs or to comply with the law."

Compliance with state laws was a primary reason for conducting the criminal background checks on job prospects, an 8-percentage point increase from 2010 to 28 percent.

But more than half of the respondents, 52 percent, said criminal background checks were conducted to reduce legal liability for negligent hiring, down from 55 percent in 2010, according to the survey.

The survey also found that an applicant's negative credit information is not a barrier to hiring, with 80 percent of the respondents saying they hired an individual with a poor credit report.

Mike Tsikoudakis writes for Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email editors@workforce.com.

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