HR Headaches

HireRight Survey Shows New Headaches for HR

If you’re in HR, your biggest concerns these days most likely include those that didn’t exist a couple of years ago — like medical marijuana and new immigration bans – on top of those that did. What this means, which should come as no surprise, is that HR is becoming even more challenging and complex, seemingly by the minute.

These are just some of the trends identified by Hire Right’s most recent Employment Screening Benchmark Survey report (now in its 11th year), based on feedback from approximately 6,000 HR professionals in the U.S. Other survey findings, noted below, provide additional details on the issues HR currently faces, as well as the approaches being taken (or not) in response.

HR priorities: Overall, priorities haven’t changed that much during the past few years (compared with previous HireRight surveys), although the emphasis has shifted in some areas. More than half of respondents in the 2018 survey said that finding and keeping good employees was the biggest priority, followed by making HR processes more efficient and developing leaders within the organization.

Areas of focus also included, in the order of importance: developing effective employee training programs and maximizing employee engagement, creating a positive corporate culture, improving the candidate experience (from application through onboarding), and creating a brand that attracts talent.

Compliance concerns: Here’s where the biggest changes are noted over earlier HireRight surveys. The most significant concern for nearly half of respondents (42 percent) was negligent hiring. Forty percent also cited Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requirements as an issue. Other compliance concerns included medical marijuana, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), ban-the-box legislation, and negligent retention.

The candidate experience: As the talent shortage grows, companies competing for the most qualified candidates are increasingly emphasizing the candidate experience. About half of respondents said measures taken include follow-up communications for all candidates, while 38 percent utilized candidate-friendly emails. Twenty-six percent also had a mobile-friendly application/screening process. Interestingly, about a fourth of respondents said that they did nothing, as this was not a priority.

Millennials: Millennials, who now make up about a third of the U.S. workforce, say they interact more with their smartphones than they do with people. And as about 70 percent also say they “couldn’t live without” these devices, employers hoping to recruit those in this demographic should use this preferred mode of communication to reach them.

Inaccurate resumes: While fibs on resumes are most often found among junior-level job seekers, senior-level executives have also been known to embellish things too. Educational credentials are the most common fabrications, and 84 percent of survey respondents said they had found a misrepresentation or lie on a resume or job application.

Candidate screening: As regulations affecting candidate screening become more common, compliance concerns are on the rise, especially since laws vary by county and state. Survey respondents indicated that they utilized various types of background checks, with the most common including criminal or other public record searches (84 percent), followed by previous employment and/or references (73 percent), identity (66 percent), education verification (51 percent), and motor vehicle records (50 percent). Other methods include professional license/qualification verifications, credit history, social media, and fingerprints.

Global background checks: Just over half of organizations that conduct background checks beyond the U.S. have policies guiding the process for global verifications noted the survey. When asked why they don’t screen globally, 40 percent of respondents said it’s because they don’t have workers with global work experience or education. Only 16 percent said they verify international backgrounds of U.S.-based employees and 15 percent said they screen employees based outside of the United States.

On a related note, about a quarter of those surveyed said they conducted global criminal checks, as well as global work experience and reference checks, while 15 percent conduct global education checks and 13 percent conduct global identity checks. Screening for job candidates in international locations can also be a challenge due to cost and difficulty, understanding laws by country, and sourcing information.

I-9 verification: This is increasingly being facilitated by background check vendors the report says. Also, most companies have now moved from paper I-9 forms to electronic I-9s, or a combination of both. In addition, most respondents indicated that they “feel prepared” for an ICE inspection, although only about a third have been audited over the past few years.

Medical marijuana and drug testing: Although medical marijuana is legal in more than half of U.S. states, many companies struggle with policies on its use. A sizable percentage of survey participants (38) said they don’t accommodate medical marijuana use when a candidate is positive for marijuana on drug test and is a medical marijuana user. Seventeen percent accommodate it on a case-by-case basis where they have to, and only two percent accommodate it in every state. Exactly one-third of respondents indicated that they didn’t have a medical marijuana policy.

To learn more on how msi can help you strategically align your HR policies for talent success, please contact msi at or call +1 (603) 274 9100