New Study Shows U.S. Background Checks Are Universal and Driven by Safety Concerns

In the U.S., background checks have become virtually universal, driven first and foremost by the need to keep employees and customers safe, according to new research conducted by in partnership with the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS).

Research results from the study are published in a white paper, “National Survey: Employers Universally Using Background Checks to Protect Employees, Customers, and the Public“, and available now.

The national survey, which drew responses from 1,528 human resources professionals, found that 96% of participants said their organization conducts one or more types of background screening. Not only do most screen full-time employees, two-thirds screen part-time employees.

Safety is the primary reason for conducting such checks in the U.S., with 89% of all respondents citing “protecting employees, customers, etc.” By comparison, just 44% said they screen candidates because they are mandated by law or regulations.

“For a lot of organizations, it’s not just a legal issue,” said Debbie McGrath, Chief Instigator and CEO, “It’s about protecting people and, to a lesser degree, the reputation of the whole company.”

Checking on criminal records is the most widely used application of screening, according to the survey, with 87%t of responding organizations conducting searches of county or statewide criminal databases, and 83% conducting searches of national criminal databases.

The research also examined the primary challenges facing professional background screeners. Among the greatest challenges today are the time it takes to conduct background checks and the costs associated with background screenings.

On the other hand, the costs associated with failing to screen candidates can also be very high. In fact, one study shows that the average cost of a single bad hire is nearly $17,000.

For a free copy of the report, go to

Founded in 2003 as a not-for-profit trade association, the National Association
of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) represents the interests of
more than 800 member companies around the world that offer employment
and tenant background screening. NAPBS provides relevant programs and
training aimed at empowering members to better serve clients and maintain
standards of excellence in the background screening profession, and presents a
unified voice in the development of national, state, and local regulations. For
more information, visit

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For more information, contact:
Debbie McGrath
Chief Instigator and CEO
1-877-472-6648, ext. 104