The 2020 Screening Survey From PBSA And ​

July 21, 2020
Hiring managers and human resources professionals provided feedback to a survey that asked about their background screening policies.
Backgrounds Online | July 21, 2020

Hiring managers and human resources professionals provided feedback to a survey that asked about their background screening policies.

The Survey

The Professional Background Screening Agency (PBSA – formerly the NAPBS) teamed up with to conduct their annual survey about background screening trends. Their team contacted organizations throughout the country to ask if they ran background checks, how often workers are screened and related questions.

After reviewing responses, the two organizations published their findings. They concluded that most employers run background checks during the hiring process. The number one reason was to “help safeguard today’s increasingly globalized workforce.” Additionally, many employers have been expanding their screening programs.


94% of the people who responded to this survey said they run background checks for employment purposes. They also noted that they’re screening various types of workers and doing so more frequently than ever. According to the survey:

• 90% screen full-time employees.
• 83% screen part-time employees.
• 59% screen contractors.
• 44% screen volunteers.
• 85% said international screening is important.
• 24% run criminal checks for candidates in and outside of the U.S.

Why Employers Screen

The survey dove into why employers run background checks. Their top three reasons were to:

• Protect employees and customers.
• Improve the quality of hires.
• Comply with laws or industry regulations.

Comprehensive Background Checks Are Key

The survey noted that background check packages have become increasingly robust over the years. It revealed that almost every respondent utilizes national criminal searches and many also request state, county and other local searches. Results showed that background reports in 2020 typically include more components than in previous years.

Common components include:

• Social Security Number Traces (for identity verification).
• Sex Offender Registry Searches.
• Employment Verification.
• Education Verification.
• Drug Testing.
• Motor Vehicle Record Searches.
• License Verifications.

When Do Organizations Screen?

Most employer run background checks before bringing on new hires, but many are now running checks regularly to ensure their staff is deemed eligible for ongoing employment.

The majority of background checks occur after an interview is completed and a conditional offer is extended. Out of the hiring professionals that took the survey:
• 49% only screen during the hiring process.

• 12% screen annually/regularly.
• 10% screen for cause after hire.

About the PBSA And

The PBSA is a non-profit association that was established to represent the interest of companies offering employment and tenant background screening services. They offer accreditation for Consumer Reporting Agencies that adhere to a high level of compliance, service and business practices. Their mission is to advance excellence in the screening profession. is the world’s largest community of Human Resources professionals. They power the HR Research Institute, which is the part of their organization that works with the PBSA to conduct annual surveys about background screening.

Running Background Checks

As the survey noted, employers run background checks to create safe workplaces, make informed decisions and follow relevant laws and best practices. When you’re ready to run background checks on applicants, employees, contractors or volunteers, please contact us.

Our experienced team can help you build fully customized background screening packages that are ideal for any position. We are working remotely and available to assist you Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.