These days companies do a lot more than look over a pile of r�sum�s and call a few references before hiring a new employee. They bring in outside firms to dig into an applicant's background and verify education and employment histories, and they will often even search criminal records and credit reports. According to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, 53% of companies have conducted credit checks on their employees. Companies are concerned that "if you have a lot of financial pressure, you might not act in the best interest of the company," says Mr. Wright.
Another survey, conducted in 2007 by HR Focus magazine, found that 86% of firms performed criminal background checks during the hiring process, and it has been estimated that nearly two-thirds of companies test job applicants for drug use.
But not everyone thinks such measures are extreme. If anything, employers don't dig deeply enough, says Mr. Rath: "An employee with a problem with a previous employer or criminal record will try to hide it."