Measuring success: key metrics for an effective employee background screening program

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When it comes to HR, there’s a huge onus on measurement: on staff retention, employee engagement, performance, cost per hire, turnover. And if you’re investing in software that boosts hiring, there’s even more things to consider - not only to justify the cost of the tech, but to ensure that the organization has well-honed pre-hire processes. But what aspects should hiring managers and HR professionals focus on?

Employee background screening programs play a vital role in ensuring the safety and security of the workplace, protecting a company's assets, and maintaining its reputation. In this article, we will explore the top metrics to help you get the most out of your employee background screening program.

Time to Complete a Background Check

Efficiency is crucial when it comes to background screening. The longer it takes to complete a background check, the more likely you are to lose a qualified candidate to a competitor. Therefore, it is essential to track the average time it takes to complete each background check. This metric will help you identify bottlenecks and streamline the process.

Compliance Rate

It is essential to adhere to federal, state, and local laws and regulations when conducting background checks. Failure to do so can result in severe penalties, lawsuits, and damage to your company's reputation. Track your compliance rate by measuring the percentage of background checks that meet all legal requirements.

Discrepancy Rate

The discrepancy rate is the percentage of background checks that reveal discrepancies between the information provided by the applicant and the results of the background check. A high discrepancy rate can indicate that your screening process is effectively identifying candidates who may not be the best fit for your company. However, it can also suggest that your job postings or application process needs clarification to reduce misunderstandings.

Adverse Action Rate

The adverse action rate is the percentage of candidates who are denied employment or have their job offers rescinded based on the results of their background checks. This metric can help you identify trends and patterns in your hiring decisions, enabling you to refine your background screening process and make better-informed decisions.

Cost per Background Check

To maximize the value of your background screening program, it's crucial to understand the costs associated with each check. By tracking the cost per background check, you can identify areas where you might be overspending and find ways to reduce expenses without sacrificing the quality of your screenings.

First-Year Retention Rate

A key goal of any background screening program is to hire candidates who will become valuable, long-term employees. The first-year retention rate measures the percentage of new hires who are still with the company after one year. This metric can help you evaluate the effectiveness of your background screening program in identifying candidates who are likely to succeed in your organization.

Quality of Hire

Quality of hire is a critical metric that evaluates the overall effectiveness of your background screening program. It takes into account various factors, such as job performance, cultural fit, and the long-term value of new hires. By measuring the quality of hire, you can determine whether your background screening program is helping you attract and retain top talent.

Vendor Performance

If you outsource your background checks to a third-party vendor, it's essential to monitor their performance. Track metrics such as turnaround time, accuracy, and customer service to ensure that your vendor is meeting your expectations and delivering a high-quality service.

Candidate Satisfaction

A positive candidate experience is essential for attracting and retaining top talent. By measuring candidate satisfaction with the background screening process, you can identify areas for improvement and make the necessary changes to ensure a smooth and efficient experience for all applicants.

Internal Satisfaction

Your employees are your greatest asset, and their satisfaction with the background screening process is crucial. Measure internal satisfaction by gathering feedback from HR personnel, hiring managers, and other employees involved in the hiring process. Use this feedback to refine your screening program and create a more efficient, effective process for everyone involved.

False Positive Rate

A false positive occurs when a background check incorrectly flags an applicant for a potential issue that is not accurate or relevant. A high false positive rate can lead to missed opportunities and wasted resources. Track the false positive rate to ensure the accuracy of your screening program and make adjustments as needed.

False Negative Rate

A false negative occurs when a background check fails to identify a legitimate issue with an applicant. This can lead to hiring employees who pose risks to your organization. Monitor the false negative rate to ensure the effectiveness of your screening process and to address any gaps in your program.

Background Check Relevance

Not all background checks are equally relevant to every position. Track the relevance of your background checks by measuring the percentage of checks that provide valuable, actionable information for each role. This metric can help you refine your screening process to focus on the most relevant checks for each position, saving time and resources.

Appeal Rate

Occasionally, candidates may dispute the results of their background checks. The appeal rate is the percentage of background checks that are appealed by candidates. Monitoring this metric can help you identify potential issues with your screening process and make adjustments to reduce the likelihood of appeals.

Appeal Success Rate

The appeal success rate is the percentage of appealed background checks that result in a change or reversal of the initial decision. A high appeal success rate may indicate that your screening process is prone to errors and requires adjustments to improve accuracy.


A well-designed and well-implemented employee background screening program is essential for ensuring the safety and success of your organization. By monitoring the top metrics discussed in this article, you can continuously improve your screening process, leading to better hiring decisions, increased employee retention, and a stronger overall workforce. Don't underestimate the power of data-driven decision-making in your background screening program. Use these metrics to optimize your process, create a better experience for candidates, and ultimately build a stronger team.

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What background check do I need?

This depends on the industry and type of role you are recruiting for. To determine whether you need reference checks, identity checks, bankruptcy checks, civil background checks, credit checks for employment or any of the other background checks we offer, chat to our team of dedicated account managers.

Why should employers check the background of potential employees?

Many industries have compliance-related employment check requirements. And even if your industry doesn’t, remember that your staff have access to assets and data that must be protected. When you employ a new staff member you need to be certain that they have the best interests of your business at heart. Carrying out comprehensive background checking helps mitigate risk and ensures a safer hiring decision.

How long do background checks take?

Again, this depends on the type of checks you need. Simple identity checks can be carried out in as little as a few hours but a worldwide criminal background check for instance might take several weeks. A simple pre-employment check package takes around a week. Our account managers are specialists and can provide detailed information into which checks you need and how long they will take.

Can you do a background check online?

All Veremark checks are carried out online and digitally. This eliminates the need to collect, store and manage paper documents and information making the process faster, more efficient and ensures complete safety of candidate data and documents.

What are the benefits of a background check?

In a competitive marketplace, making the right hiring decisions is key to the success of your company. Employment background checks enables you to understand more about your candidates before making crucial decisions which can have either beneficial or catastrophic effects on your business.

What does a background check show?

Background checks not only provide useful insights into a candidate’s work history, skills and education, but they can also offer richer detail into someone’s personality and character traits. This gives you a huge advantage when considering who to hire. Background checking also ensures that candidates are legally allowed to carry out certain roles, failed criminal and credit checks could prevent them from working with vulnerable people or in a financial function.

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Request a discovery session with one of our background screening experts today.

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