Four Things We Learned From the 2020 Global Benchmark Report (U.S. and Canada Special)

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HireRight’s 2020 Global Benchmark Report is based on the survey responses of nearly 1,700 people professionals worldwide who answered questions about their businesses, background screening habits, and talent acquisition challenges. It also includes insights from some of our subject matter experts, covering topics such as compliance, talent acquisition, and technology, to help highlight some of the challenges, opportunities, and developments that are likely to occur next year and beyond.

Here is a summary of some of the key 2020 Global Benchmark Survey findings from the U.S. & Canada to think about as you prepare for 2021.

1.  Employment and education verifications are being overlooked

According to the results of our 2020 Global Benchmark Survey, respondents from the U.S. and Canada are much less likely to conduct previous employment or education verifications than their counterparts in the EMEA and APAC regions, where these are among the most common checks.

Just 55% of respondents from the U.S. and Canada conduct employment checks on their new hires, compared to 84% in APAC and 82% in EMEA. In addition, only 45% run education verifications, compared to 75% in EMEA and 73% in APAC.

However, omitting these checks is not without peril. There have been numerous cases in the press (and undoubtedly many more yet to be unveiled) where candidates have faked it to make it, providing misleading information on their resumes or job applications to help them secure their position at the company

Our blog post “Fake Degrees, False References, and CV Lies Revealed” looks at five examples from around the world where the lies were later discovered, in some cases years after they were hired.

2. Over a third of respondents aren’t screening their extended workforce

When setting up your organization’s employment screening program, don’t forget about your non-employee workers.

Many companies of all sizes across the world rely on an extended workforce to support their permanent staff. However, despite these workers often having the same access to sensitive company data as regular employees, businesses are not always screening their full workforce and may be leaving themselves vulnerable to risk.

With four-fifths (80%) of respondents from the U.S. and Canada saying that they engage with non-employee workers, including contractors, temporary workers, interns, and volunteers, it’s surprising that 32% of these respondents said they don’t screen any non-employee workers. Survey respondents from EMEA are the most likely to screen their temporary and contingent workers, with 58% saying that they do so, compared to 50% of APAC respondents and 46% of respondents from the U.S. and Canada.

If you’re one of the companies that doesn’t currently screen your extended workforce, it may be a good time to consider if this is an area that should be revisited, especially if you are engaging with more temporary and contract workers due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Download our infographic about the importance of screening gig workers for more information.

3. Nearly three-fifths of respondents say that screening improves the quality of their hires

A better quality of hire is seen as the top benefit globally by those who conduct background screening, with 58% of respondents from the U.S. and Canada citing this as the main benefit. Almost half (49%) believed that screening aided consistent safety and security, and two fifths (40%) said that it improved their regulatory compliance.

The 2020 Global Benchmark Report showed that there is a lot to think about when it comes to screening compliance. In the U.S., topics that are constantly evolving include “Ban-the-Box” legislation, pay equity laws, measures addressing the intersection of technology and privacy, and support across the country for legalized marijuana use are all forcing new rules and policies in the workplace.

You can find out more about these compliance topics by downloading our 2020 Compliance Perspective, written by Alonzo Martinez, Associate Counsel Compliance at HireRight.

4. Over 60% of respondents discovered criminal conviction discrepancies during background checks

Most companies that conduct background checks are still finding candidates that are misrepresenting themselves when applying for jobs – so what is going unseen by the companies who don’t screen their staff?

In the U.S. and Canada, the discrepancies which the most companies had discovered were criminal convictions (62%), previous employment discrepancies (47%), a positive test on a drug screen (45%) and driver motor vehicle record discrepancies (39%). In EMEA and APAC, employment and education discrepancies are by far the most widespread, however, with these checks undertaken by fewer companies in North America, it is not surprising that discrepancies are not being so widely found in these areas.

With discrepancies continuing to be found across all areas of background screening, 2021 may be the year to review the components of your screening program and see if any additional services, such as Ongoing Monitoring Solutions or Social Media Screening, could help to manage unmitigated additional hiring risks.

For more insights into global background screening trends, compliance, and the future of screening technology, you can download the full HireRight 2020 Global Benchmark Report.



HireRight is a leading provider of on-demand employment background checks, drug and health screening, and electronic Form I-9 and E-Verify solutions that help employers automate, manage and control background screening and related programs.

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