The Importance of Background Checks: Essential Processes

There are inherent risks in the hiring process, including deception by individuals seeking to gain an advantage over other candidates. Thorough pre- and post-employment background checks are critical in mitigating these risk factors, helping any organisation stay better protected from fraudulent candidates or unqualified employees.

The advantages of using an expert third-party service to conduct background checks are many. Comprehensive background checks are best performed by industry experts who understand where to find and confirm employee information, from criminal, education and employment history records checks to verification of credentials, training, certifications and other important info claimed by the employee or candidate. An international firm can access resources in geographic regions not serviced or accessible by typical “out-of-the-box” screening services.

Taking this approach puts protection in the hands of agents who are specially trained to use every resource available to provide timely and thorough pre- and post-employment background checks, adding a level of due diligence that allows you to focus on your core business needs.

This is why any pre-employment background checks should dig deep enough (within all local laws and regulations) to assess every detail of a job candidate’s claims and credentials, to confirm that the claims match with the facts. An expert team should examine all of the following details of a potential employee:

  • Identity: Some job candidates will actually fabricate a new identity, especially if they have something to hide. Proper screening can verify name, addresses, phone numbers, national ID numbers and other identifying information to confirm that they are who they claim to be.

  • Credit checks and bankruptcy checks. As permitted by local laws, financial and credit history should be reviewed, as fraud statistics have shown financial distress to be a key red flag for fraudulent behaviour. Has the candidate claimed bankruptcy? Have they dissolved prior companies or are they faced with debtor filings?

  • Previous employment verification. Background checks will verify past employers, locations of past employment, dates employed, salary levels, reasons for leaving, position titles, gaps in employment history and pertinent contact information.

  • Education and credentials verification. Verification is needed to confirm school grades, degrees and professional qualifications.

  • Criminal history. International criminal records searches are critically important, and should include any convictions for the applicant in the requested jurisdictions.

  • … and more.

What gets uncovered serve both as cautionary tales and success stories. One client in the medical industry was hiring for a critical management-level position. After finding what appeared to be an exemplary candidate, they engaged thorough pre-employment background checks.

The candidate claimed to be a holder of a university degree, which, upon verification, turned out to be ‘fake and forged.’ The applicant also provided a reference letter, which turned out to be fake as well. In short, there was nothing legitimate about the candidate’s educational background. This person would have been a risk on all levels, including patient safety. The client dodged a very real bullet by applying proper background checks, and not hiring someone who was unqualified and untrustworthy.

Don’t take unnecessary risks with your business, assets, investments and reputation. Whenever you are hiring a new employee, conduct a thorough pre-employment background check, best implemented and administered by a third party. After all, a team that specialises in background checks will have a full bank of resources and experienced personal to do the job properly. Hiring new employees should be an occasion marked by excitement, not risk and uncertainty.