Employee Background Screening is an important process that companies initiate prior to hiring new candidates. Recruitment of a new employee is more or less an investment that has its own risks associated with it. Employee verification is one way of mitigating this risk.

Human capital is recognized as the most important investment for a company. Finding the right talent for an opening is a great challenge for the HR teams. However, a bigger challenge that is throwing up its face at the HRs is regarding fake applicants who take advantage of gaps in communication to dupe the new employers. Besides, in more recent times, there have been instances of individuals from corporate who have had criminal antecedents. Let us take a closer look on why employer conducts a background check.

  • There is a rise in the number of negligent hiring lawsuits. When an employee hurts someone from the company, the employer is considered liable with the argument that it didn’t checked the credentials of the employee properly before hiring him. Such a lawsuit can cause immense damage to a company’s reputation and ruin the career of the hiring manager.
  • If the employee of a particular company is found engaged in criminal activity then also it is the reputation of the hiring company that is at stake.
  • Companies which have access to sensitive information like banks, credit card companies, finance organizations have a huge responsibility on their shoulders and therefore they have to be extra careful to hire candidates only those who have unquestionable integrity and exemplary conduct. Background verification is therefore a must exercise for such organizations.

What are the common background checks?

Companies verify a candidate’s background on multiple counts. It includes verifying academic credentials and verification of prior employment including the position held at the previous company, the salary drawn, and the time duration of the employment. The background check also includes a discussion with business, professional and personal references and verification of letters of recommendation, if any provided. Occasionally organizations also conduct drug screen tests and physical tests. Since most people, especially those belonging to the professional world have some form of online identity, organizations also look up to the internet to find whatever information they can, which might include photographs, status updates, friends, connections.

Some do’s and don’ts of conducting background verification

 Be consistent and fair: All employees applying for a post must be verified using the same process of verification. Make sure that the process for every applicant is consistent and two applicants applying for the same post should have the same standard of investigation run on them.  There should be no favor or discrimination for applicants even if they are in close relation or friends with the hiring manager.

Maintain two way communications with the employee: If you find any discrepancy in the candidate’s profile while doing the background verification then do not hesitate to communicate with the employee regarding the same. Such communication can help in clearing any misconception or confusion that can have an impact on the hiring decision.

Use a professional agency: Instead of taking all the pain of performing the background check,   it is advisable to use the help of a professional agency. These screening companies have the required experience and expertise in this job and therefore will do a far better job than a individual. They also have a clear understanding of the process and will prevent you from doing something (like viewing private data) which is against the state’s law.

Do not look for only the negative: A background check should not be used as an excuse of finding faults with a good candidate. Instead use this as an opportunity to find the positives that will help you make the choice between two apparently equally qualified and skilled candidates for the same post.

Do not take law in your own hands: There is a thin line between investigation and being intrusive. The law of the state protects privacy of every of its citizen and while doing the background verification one must make sure to not to cross their limits. Doing the background check the wrong way can land you in a legal soup.  If you are unsure about the rules, it is advised to take the help of your company’s legal counsel.