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Employer Blog

8 Common Misconceptions About Background Screening


Let’s face it. The economy is still a mess and people aren’t finding jobs fast enough.

Given this fact, there are a lot of people looking to place the blame for these developments. And has been the case for the last several years, many are focusing on employment screening and background checks. I won’t say that all who oppose background check are flat out wrong in every instance, but all too frequently they rely on myths, misconceptions and urban legends to support their arguments.

Here is my list of the most commonly held misconceptions about employment background checks:

Here is my list of the most commonly held misconceptions about employment background checks:

  • Background checks are the reason unemployment rates are high. We’ll remove all politics from this one and simply state that a large contributor to unemployment — besides a slow economic recovery — is that employers are having a difficult time finding qualified people for the jobs that are available.
  • Employers use background checks as an excuse not to hire someone. As longtime The Price Is Right host Bob Barker might say, “The price is wrong.” Remember, company’s spend an awful lot of time, money and effort to find the right candidate for the job. Why would they go out of their way not to hire the people they have invested these efforts in?
  • Anyone with a criminal record will never be hired. As Jeopardy’s Alex Trebek might say, “Sorry!” There are over 65 million people with criminal records in this country. If all of those people were out of work, unemployment rates would be six (6) times higher than they are now. According to our 2012 Background Screening Trends study, less than 10 percent of applicants with criminal records are denied employment.
  • Most employers pull all applicant’s reports. As the late Richard Dawson of Family Feud would say, “Survey says …” See the SHRM background checking study which reveals that only 13 percent of employers indicated they run credit on all applicants.
  • Employers use credit scores to determine employment eligibility. As Wheel of Fortune‘s Pat Sajak would say, “‘You lose a turn. You were so close.” Employers use what is referred to as an “Employment Credit Report” which does not include a credit score or account numbers.
  • Poor credit will immediately disqualify a candidate. As former Who Wants to be a Millionaire? host Regis Philbin would say, “Is that your final answer?” If employers only hired people with good credit, they’d hardly be able to hire anyone
  • Applicants aren’t given a chance to dispute findings. As American Idol and X-Factor judge Simon Cowell would say, “Seriously, that was awful.” By law, employers must provide a consumer with a free copy of their background check and allow them up to 30 days to dispute the results.
  • Employers demand passwords to candidates’ social networking sites. As the late Password host Burt Convy would say, “The password is incorrect.” While this has been in the news as of late, you will be hard pressed to find anyone doing this. And the backlash to employers that do this, is enough to discourage them for considering it. Check out a story we posted about the city of Bozeman, MT.

This was originally published on EmployeeScreenIQ’s IQ Blog.

Nick Fishman co-founded EmployeeScreenIQ in 1999 and serves as the company's Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President. He oversees all of EmployeeScreenIQ's sales and marketing activities, including business development and brand building initiatives. Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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