The importance of reference checking during the hiring process

Hiring more people within a company no matter the size can be a lot of effort, waste a lot of time and cost a lot of money so it is important to do it right, which means reference checking.

As a large company, it is often the case that there will be an in-house HR team or outsourced company to deal with new employment and reference checking. As a smaller company, it is likely the managing director or office managers handle the process themselves. Companies are at risk of losing a great deal of money from not following the correct employment process.

Below are a few recommendations on how you can create and run an effective pre-employment screening process.


Understand your risk profile

While lots of businesses have brand and reputational risk among the leading reasons to conduct background checks, but all organisations have different types of risk. While organisations understandably wish to avoid bad publicity, risk profiles inevitably vary between companies and industry sectors.

Other risk-profile considerations include whether the company has regulatory responsibilities to demonstrate due diligence in hiring, such as financial institutions and those working with sensitive or vulnerable people.


Implement a strong policy

A background check policy is important because it streamlines the collection, storage and dissemination of employee or applicant background information. When established protocols are in place, incidents of people making mistakes because they had to make a judgment call are reduced.


Make It Company-Wide

Create and apply background check policies across the whole company, even for senior management. On average, supervisors spend 17% of their time managing poorly performing employees. In the same survey, 95% of employers said that a poor hiring decision affects the morale of the whole team. Ensuring that the people you hire have the correct qualifications saves time and effort, while preserving company spirit.[1]


Be Consistent

Pre-employment background screening must be consistent. Most negligence issues start from inconsistency in applying HR policies. Inconsistent enforcement opens the door to discrimination charges, and background screening is no exception.


What information can I search for?

Creating pre-defined service packages ensures that your screening policy will be consistently applied. Best practices basic packages includes the following:

• Address Verification
• Identity Verification
• Previous Employment Verification
• Education and Credential Verification
• Reference Check
• Media Check
• Criminal Record Check


Understand local and regional screening variance

When building your pre-employment screening program, it is critical to understand that not all countries take the same view of availability and use of certain types of pre-employment screening information.


In summary

Creating compliant data and background screening processes is a complex and evolving challenge for all organisations and one that is multiplied with every country involved. As an essential means to ensure safety and quality of staff, employers need to ensure that their screening programs are right for their organisation and their candidates; transparent, consistent and proportionate by design; and capable of handling an increasingly globalised workforce and disparate regulatory requirements.


Let us know if you would like to find out more

If you have any further questions or interest in implementing compliance solutions, please� do get in contact.

Nick Beaton
Head of Business Development
T: +44 020 7868 1575
M: +44 07540 814943