Candidate Satisfaction Survey Finds Organizations Need to Communicate Background Screening Process with Minorities

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Candidate Satisfaction Survey Finds Organizations Need to Communicate Background Screening Process with Minorities

A research report about a candidate satisfaction survey issued by HRO Today in January 2022 revealed significant differences in the opinions of job candidates that differ by age and race about the background screening process. The report found that minorities and younger candidates were far more likely to believe the background screening process negatively affected them.

Titled “Organizations Need to Find Better Way to Communicate the Background Screening Process with Minorities,” the report found that minorities were more inclined than Whites to believe background screening negatively impacted them. In addition, younger candidates were more likely than older candidates to believe background screening had a negative impact.

The report from HRO Today found only 20.2 percent of White candidates felt the background screening process negatively impacted their chances of getting a job. Meanwhile, 39.4 percent of Black/African-American candidates and 44 percent of Hispanic or Latino job candidates felt the background screening process negatively impacted their job search.

The report revealed a relationship between age and the belief that the screening process resulted in a negative report, as 36.5 percent of younger candidates aged 18 to 24 years old believed that the background screening process results negatively impacted their candidacy while only 16.2 percent of older candidates 55 years old and older felt the same way.

The report also found that approximately half of the candidates – 51.7 percent – felt the background screening process was transparent and easy to understand. But the system was lacking for other candidates, as another 41.5 percent only had a general idea about what was happening during the process, and nearly seven percent were very unclear about the process.

Even when the background screening did not adversely impact candidate experience, the process still can be improved. While 84 percent of candidates were satisfied with their experience, less than half of them – 40 percent – were very satisfied. As a result, the background screening process did not offer all candidates the positive experience recruiters want to present.

The report found candidate status updates were too often lacking and most candidates felt less than completely updated about the status of the screening process. Over one-half – 53.7 percent – did not feel they were completely updated, while 12.7 percent did not feel updated at all. The extent and clarity of communication was a key driver of satisfaction with the process.

On a positive note, the report showed that candidates felt background screening results were credible. The vast majority – 81.9 percent – felt the background screening process was fair, with over one-half feeling it was completely fair. Furthermore,  nearly eight in ten of those candidates who did not get favorable results still felt the background screening process was fair.

Around half of the candidates – 51.7 percent – indicated the background screening process took less than two days to complete, with a resulting average of 2.3 days. Rapid turnaround times (TATs) were important to candidates who may become concerned if results took a long time to come back. The expectations of candidates were consistent with those of recruiters.

However, many candidates still felt the background screening process took too long. The most prevalent suggestion made was to improve the speed of the process. But better communication in the form of setting expectations and providing updates and transparency about what was happening could make the perception of a long turnaround feel less problematic.

The report showed device usage during the background screening process varied by age. Laptops were used by 36.9 percent of candidates and smartphones were close behind with 31.3 percent of candidates using them. But while candidates under 45 years of age equally used laptops and smartphones, those 45 years old or older were much more likely to use a laptop.

Email was the primary method used to initiate the background screening process. Nearly three-quarters of candidates – 70.9 percent – were asked to complete their background screening via email, versus 37.7 percent who were called directly. Despite the high usage of smartphones, only 26.1 percent noted this method was used for their background check.

Surprisingly, the use of smartphones was also low for status updates, as only about one-third of candidates – 35.2 percent – were updated by text. Given the nearly universal ownership of smartphones – particularly for people under 50 years old – the report noted that texts should become the dominant vehicle for background screening status updates.

For the report, email invitations were sent to North American subscribers of HRO Today Magazine and HRO Today newsletters in September 2021 to take part in an online survey on behalf of HRO Today. Survey respondents were candidates who had applied for a job with a potential new employer within the prior 12 months, and a background screening was conducted.

In an April 2021 report titled “Background Screening Providers: Opportunity for Excellence,” HRO Today found nearly one-half of recruiters – 48.0 percent – expected background screening results in no more than two days. For them, an acceptable turnaround time was 2.7 days, consistent with the 2.3 days expressed by candidates in the January 2022 HRO Today report.

ClearStar – a leading provider of Human Capital Integrity℠ technology-based services specializing in background checks and medical screening – offers pre-employment background screening solutions that reduce “time to hire,” increase transparency, and create an enjoyable candidate experience. To learn more about ClearStar, please contact us today.

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    Thomas Ahearn - News Blog Editor and Public Relations Specialist

    Thomas Ahearn is our News Blog Editor and Public Relations Specialist. Our News Blog provides information about the background check industry to employers, HR professionals, recruiters, and consumers. ClearStar's News covers a variety of topics including Ban the Box, credit reports, criminal records, data breaches, drug testing, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), E-Verify, Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), HR technology, identity theft and fraud, jobs reports, lawsuits involving screening, Millennial workforce, privacy issues, social media background checks, and workplace violence.

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