Background Checks Are Not Just for Permanent Hires Anymore

Julie Shenkman
Posted by in Human Resources

While it's common for employers to conduct background checks on full-time employees, a study from HireRight reveals that many companies are performing checks on freelance employees and temporary hires. This trend may be on the rise in the future as companies look to protect their data, culture and workforce.

An influx of freelancers and temporary employees is changing the landscape of the hiring and screening process. HireRight reports that from 2012 to 2017, the number of companies conducting background checks on contractual and freelance workers rose by 45 percent, with a reported 86 percent of companies on board with this practice.

Not only does an influx of temporary workers impact the workforce, it also prompts companies to proceed with caution. The HireRight study revealed that temporary employees often have the same access to company data and facilities as full-time employees, which causes concern for the safety of the company's brand and employee base. Background checks seem to be the most economical solution when companies reduce their full-time workforce to preserve the budget and the cost of compensation and benefit packages.

A sense of fairness also fuels the need to perform background checks on every employee, both full time and temporary. Companies seek to portray their hiring and screening practices as fair and free from discrimination. The minimal cost of routine checks safeguards the company's assets and work environment. These checks also safeguard the company from fraudulent applicants. HireRight's study found that more and more employers are discovering false information on resumes. In fact, employers have seen a 66 percent increase of misrepresentation from 2012 to 2017. A one-time check during the screening process reveals the truth and may prevent a candidate who has falsely identified experience or not disclosed a criminal record from working for the company.

Background checks are routinely a one-time occurrence, according to HireRight. The study found that only 48 percent of companies rescreen employees after they are hired. In most cases, companies only rescreen when a temporary freelance employee or full-time employee changes roles within the company.

Background checks do pose challenges for employers. Primarily, the hiring process is lengthened and employers run the risk of losing valuable candidates to companies willing to hire at a more rapid rate. As a result, human resource specialists are posed with a dilemma to strive for speed and accuracy when screening applicants.

The job market is competitive and companies are realizing that to gain qualified candidates, they must offer an attractive package. However, the balance between fully vetting candidates and nabbing the best candidate quickly continues to pose a challenge. Regardless, more and more companies are making background checks a priority and a common part of the hiring process, which may become the new standard.

Photo Courtesy of mcclarence Joes at


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