Background Checks

Cisive Insights: Talent Screening Trends in a Global Pandemic (A Benchmark Report)

  • October 19, 2021
  • Jenni Gray
  • Approx. Read Time: 2 Minutes

A year of unprecedented challenges resulting from the global pandemic has dramatically shifted how we all attract, hire, screen, and onboard new talent.

Employers across the globe have had to quickly adapt to a new world of hybrid or work-from-home environments, converting to virtual hiring processes in order to complete daily tasks such as interviews and onboarding.

It was a steep learning curve for many employers, so we wanted to better understand how professionals in human resources, talent acquisition, compliance, and recruitment have changed their policies and procedures as a result.

Our Talent Screening Trends 2021 survey asked more than 1,500 organizations about their:

    • Growth, hiring, and turnover;
    • Technology and integrations;
    • Background screening practices;
    • Discrepancies with candidates; and
    • Expected challenges in the coming months.



We asked employers how their workforces changed, and what challenges they faced, from January 2020 to January 2021.

Did their company grow? Decrease staff? Maybe even freeze hiring?

The majority of respondents reported that their company’s staff actually grew during this period. However, over one-third of companies did have to freeze hiring for three months or more.

Many employers took measures to reduce costs during this period as well. We asked who needed to reduce overhead, salaries, staffing levels, bonuses, perks, or if there were any permanent office closures. Just over 80% of respondents implemented one or more of these cost-reduction measures in 2020.



By hiring quality talent using a pre-employment background screening program in your hybrid or remote workforce, you can improve your retention rates and reduce employee turnover.

We wanted to know which background screening components uncovered the most discrepancies with job candidates, potentially impacting the quality of talent pools. It’s not too surprising that these topped the list:

    • Previously undisclosed criminal convictions;
    • Previously undisclosed conflicts of interest;
    • Driver motor vehicle records; and
    • Positive drug test results.



It’s important to strike a balance between speed and quality of your background screening processes. For an effective recruitment and onboarding program:

    • Verify: Experience, education, and licensing credentials of all candidates – your employees are an extension of your company and brand, and you want to make sure they’re representing you well!
    • Standardize: Consistency is important in your hiring standards across your organization, taking into consideration all states or regions in which you hire.
    • Partner: A third-party screening partner can help you navigate legal complexities, as well as consulting with your legal counsel (e.g., FCRA in the U.S., Fair Chance/Ban The Box legislation, relevant foreign country laws, data- and privacy-protection laws).


Download our benchmark report, Cisive Insights: Talent Screening Trends 2021, for more practical solutions to build your most effective screening program.


Methodology: Cisive surveyed 1,680 respondents from May 2021 to July 2021. The 51-question survey covers the time period between January 2020 and January 2021. Of those surveyed, 78% are in the United States, 9% are in Canada, 9% in Asia-Pacific, and 2.5% in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The respondents’ roles at their organization include Director, Manager or Supervisor (43%), Specialist or Administrator (27%), C-Level or Executive (17%), and Staff, Assistant, or Support (12%). Just over 90% of respondents are involved in talent acquisition for their companies.


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