checking outThe Society for Human Resource Management has reported that fewer employers are conducting credit and criminal background checks on applicants than two years ago. SHRM has shared that 53 percent of respondents do not use credit checks at all during the hiring process, up from 40 percent in 2010. Similarly, employers who choose not to conduct criminal background checks rose from 7 percent in 2010 to 14 percent in 2012.

“Human resources professionals are looking more closely at the job-relatedness of these practices,” said Mark Schmit, SHRM’s VP of Research, in the statement. “As a result, fewer employers are using background checks, and checks are often done for specific jobs or to comply with the law.”

One of the primary reasons given for conducting criminal background checks on job candidates was to comply with state laws and was reported by 28 percent of respondents, up from 20 percent in 2010. But over half of respondents said the checks were conducted in the name of safety concerns and to reduce legal liability for negligent hiring practices; down 3 percentage points from 55 percent in 2010 to 52 percent in 2012. The survey also found that, contrary to popular public belief, an applicant’s negative credit rating was frequently not a barrier to hiring, as 80 percent of respondents reported hiring a candidate with poor credit.

The SHRM survey consisted of 544 randomly selected HR professionals in Alexandria, Virginia, SHRM’s base of operations.

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