Five tips to get your employment checks right

by Lauren Acurantes21 Nov 2016
“The practice of background screening, and the true appreciation of the valuable role it plays in the quest for talent, is still relatively nascent across APAC,” said Camilla de Villiers, managing director, Asia Pacific at HireRight in a recent interview with HRD.

In fact, she said, it’s practically ‘non-existent’ and this leaves companies vulnerable to certain physical, financial, and reputational damage.

“A sound background screening program is instrumental in mitigating risk in an organisation. It can ensure that the candidates you hire are qualified to do the role in question, and that they are not going to place your company and/or its employees at risk. In this aspect, HR in itself can play an important and strategic role in the success of any organisation,” she added.

In their e-book, Background Checks for Dummies: APAC Edition, HireRight said there are five things companies need to consider in order to get their employment checks right.

Deciding the who, the when, and the what
“There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to background checks,” they said. 

Tailor your screenings to “the nature of your industry, the needs of your business, the details of the position you’re hiring, and what local laws require or prohibit”.

“Simply put, not all jobs carry the same level of risk. The complexity of a background check is likely to increase in proportion to the risk associated with that particular role,” they stated, citing the differences in thoroughness between an executive position and a rank-and-file employee.

Know the components of a background check
Doing a background check is more than just plugging a name into a computer database and hoping the internet would give you all the answers you seek. Rather, a strong screening programme has at least five components you need to consider:

1)    Criminal record checks; 
2)    Identity checks;
3)    Employment and education verification;
4)    Credit checks;
5)    Executive screenings, particularly for an upper level position 


Be mindful of the process and timeline
A typical check may take anywhere from three to 10 days (or even longer), depending on the type of check that you are doing, they said.

For example, an identification check can be done within 24 to 48 hours, a credit check can take up to 12 days, and an employment verification can take up to 16 because it would entail coordination with various HR departments from past employers. Where you’re conducting the check also plays a part. In countries with less developed infrastructure, for instance, access to information and resources is more complex and can take a longer time. 

Inform and prepare candidates for screening
Be transparent in telling candidates about the screening and the processes it will entail and “help [them] understand that the objective is to maintain fairness in employment and safety in the workplace”.

“In many cases, less desirable applicants will eliminate themselves when they find out what you’re doing background checks [thus] eliminating some of the less appropriate applicants,” they said.

Integrate with Applicant Tracking Systems
Remember that timeline and how long and tedious it might seem to do a thorough background check? Make use of new technology to help you streamline the process.

“A good online system is able to consolidate information in real time to streamline HR processes so you can hire and on-board talent as quickly as possible,” they said.

“A well-designed programme of background screening ensures a level playing field for those who truly deserve to be in the game.”

“It helps those doing the hiring to make their decisions in a more consistent manner, and that added level of fairness is a plus for candidates,” they concluded.

Related stories:

Ask a lawyer: Can I rescind a job offer following a background check? 

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Six ways to catch resume lies

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