Article: Poor background check experience lowers candidate joining prospects

Talent Acquisition

Poor background check experience lowers candidate joining prospects

A poor or exhaustive background check experience might result in candidate fall off, says a CareerBuilder survey.
Poor background check experience lowers candidate joining prospects

A recent CareerBuilder survey states that nearly 40% employers have lost out on a good candidate simply because of a poor experience with their background check. The study which aims to understand the impact of background check experiences on potential job candidates dropping out of the process has valuable lessons for the HR fraternity. 

What is the survey?

Analysing the relationship between the quality of background check process and its impact on the entire hiring process and business, CareerBuilder asked a series of questions to employers and employees. The US-based survey was conducted online by Harris Poll (one behalf of CareerBuilder) from May 24 to June 15, 2017. 2,369 full-time employers (over the age of 18), including 221 HR managers, and 3,462 full-time workers across varied industries and company sizes in the private sector were surveyed for the study. The study says that there is a 95% probability that the overall results have sampling errors of +/- 2.01 and +/- 1.67 percentage points respectively. 

What did the survey find?

The following are some of the noteworthy findings of the survey:

  • 38% of the employers admitted having lost a candidate because of a poor background check experience. 

  • 44% of the HR managers who conduct background checks have tested their background check experiences themselves. Among those who did, 14% said that the experience was fair or poor. 

  • 56% of the candidates think less of a company if their experience with the HR technology is poor. Another 8% admitted that they have chosen to withdraw after accepting a job offer simply because the background check too long or the experience during the same was negative.

  • 21% of the employers who have lost candidates after accepting job offers know that the reason for the same was a long background check and 20% said the same was due to a poor background check experience. 

The survey shows that background checks, one of the most critical steps during the recruitment process has a significant impact on the candidate’s chances of joining. Furthermore, it also suggests that a less than satisfactory experience with the job application or background check process can massively influence a candidate’s opinion of the organization. Ben Goldberg, CEO of Aurico, a CareerBuilder company that provides background screening and drug testing services, says in a press release, “Employers are aware conducting background checks is an important business process, but few invest time to evaluate the candidate experience, ease of use, simplicity, and impact on the hiring process. The longer the background check process, the higher risk of losing a quality candidate to another employer. Employers should test their application and background check process and ensure candidates have a positive experience.”

How are the findings relevant to me?

With candidate experience being in the spotlight, the findings of the report couldn’t be more timely and opportune. While great time, thought, effort and resources are spent to simplify and automate the recruitment process, background checks are still done laboriously or outsourced altogether. This also poses a grave challenge, as one needs to balance the duration and quality of the experience along with ensuring its efficiency, as both are of critical important. The findings of the study are of great importance for every HR executive, for they highlight the deficiencies, pitfalls and impact of a negative background check experience. 


In the age of Tech HR start-ups simplifying routine HR tasks and processes, the findings of the survey contain vital insights.  The quality of background check experience isn’t a priority in the recruitment process, and the findings make a strong point for why that shouldn’t be the case. The fact that candidates choose to withdraw offers they have already accepted shows just how much the quality of the said experience matters. Comprehensively testing the background check process before having candidates go through the same is the surest methods to ensure a satisfactory experience. 

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Topics: Talent Acquisition, Strategic HR

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