How We Got Here – A Brief History of Background Screening


How We Got Here – A Brief History of Background Screening

Whether you’re a business owner or an employee, odds are that if you have had a job, you have gone through a background screening process. According to a survey by the Society of Human Resource Management, 69% of employers run criminal background checks on all potential employees.

So how did we get here? Where did background screening start and how has it become an ever more common practice across all industries?

Background screening came from businesses being exposed to more liability through a theory called “negligent hiring”. The first example of this theory cropped up almost 100 years ago. A man was killed in Kentucky by another man using an air hose in an extremely inappropriate manner. We’ll let you read the case for yourself! The employer was found liable, as the employee was acting in a dangerous manner while performing the duties of his job. Through the course of the last century, employer liability has been expanded by multiple judicial decisions and court cases.

That increased liability, as well as laws passed regulating screening practices, has caused multiple changes in the way employers handle screening. The current rising trend is outsourcing screening to third party companies (like us!) that have greater expertise and resources, rather than completing the task internally. The growing background screening industry has been a real game changer, leading to greater accuracy, increased speed, and more comprehensive results than ever before.

These days, employers conduct background checks for a variety of reasons. It helps them find the most qualified candidate, helps reduce the risk of hiring new workers, and helps prevent crime in their businesses. An average embezzler in a company can potentially steal nearly $25,000 a month from their employer, meaning businesses can’t leave the security of their company up to chance.

From 1908 to now, outsourcing your candidate background checks to the background screening industry has had several key benefits, including:

  • Protecting employee rights
  • Reducing legal exposure for negligent hiring
  • Making workplaces safer for the employer and employee
  • Helping prevent impaired employees from harming customers or themselves

We’re thrilled to be a part of this history. Ready to be part of it too? Find out more about partnering with ClearStar for all your background screening needs!


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