Everything You Wanted to Know About Background Checks But Were Too Afraid to Ask.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Background Checks But Were Too Afraid to Ask.
08/06/2022 Reehan Jameel

I suppose recruitment is full of pitfalls, both for the hiring company and the candidate. The company wants to recruit the best person for the job and the candidate wants to work for the best company. Each has their own selection criteria, which are hugely variable and can change depending on people’s perceptions throughout the process. The pitfalls come when, say as a candidate, you’ve invested time and effort in getting to the interview stage only to find that the job isn’t exactly what you expected, or the hiring manager is not someone you’d want to work for.

For the hiring company, one of the first hurdles is getting the right quality of candidates. This can be hit and miss, though sometimes I suppose it’s a numbers game and knowing the right people to speak to (sounds a bit like sales!).

Assuming that there is a plethora of eager, intelligent and experience laden candidates at your door, you need to know whether they are in fact able to work in the UK. “They’re already in the UK, so what’s the problem there?” I hear you ask.

Well, like personalities people’s immigration status (I’m writing this from a UK perspective by the way) can be quite wide and varied. The simplest and easiest is that they’re a UK National/British Citizen and have the right of abode in the UK.

But what if they’re on a student visa that expires in 12 months? Do you know the difference between the category of document types for follow-up checks?

Plus, how do you actually do these checks in reality? May be your hiring decisions are carried out remotely at different sites and different hiring managers need to capture the relevant ID documents at interview stage. Can you guarantee they will follow the set process you’ve prescribed as per your guidelines? Have they photocopied the right documents? Have they checked that the person’s photo ID is the same as the person presenting it?

Well, it might work most of the time, but it just takes someone to make a mistake once and you’ve ended up employing someone illegally. Here is a list of the possible sanctions if you haven’t carried out the prescribed checks:

If stuff goes ‘Pete Tong’ it’s usually because of human error. Getting people to comply is difficult at the best of times, and if your reputation and brand depends on it, why not employ some automation.

So, you’ve done all the right background checks, interview completed, you like the candidate they like you and you’re about to send an offer letter….

…don’t pop the cork just yet mate!

How do you know the candidate is who they say they are? If you’re employing them in a financial role or they’re handling money, do you think a person’s possible adverse financial status is worth knowing? Are they going to be in contact with members of the public? If so, have you considered a criminal record check?

…and…have they really got that PhD in Astrophysics?

Ultimately the answer depends on whether your organisation operates in a highly regulated sector, such as financial or healthcare. Even if it doesn’t what are the levels of risk that you are willing to accept?

When you’ve evaluated the risk levels, you can then decide on a range of checks which can include (sorry for mentioning some of these again!):

  • Academic and Professional Qualifications
  • Document authentication
  • Identity
  • Criminal Record
  • Driving Licence Check
  • Adverse financials – checking CCJs, Bankruptcy, IVA
  • Bank account verification
  • PEPs, Sanctions and enforcements
  • Adverse media check
  • Previous employment
  • Overseas criminal record check

Most of you reading this will have had some experience of using either an online system or an external 3rd party to run all or some of these checks. There are some great solutions out there, but there are a few checks that can prove difficult to do.

One of these is people’s academic and professional qualifications. Unlike some checks that can be confirmed via a central database, verifying someone’s qualification isn’t always that straightforward. Older qualifications, or universities and institutes that don’t have an automated process can be a challenge to deal with when you need to verify qualifications quickly and accurately.

Background screening has evolved massively over the past 10 years, and our team at Qualification Check has greatly impacted this evolution when it comes to verifying academic and professional qualifications. We combine both the best technology, global reach and highly trained researchers and analysts to bring a level of excellence yet to be matched in this important and growing corner of the background check world.

Like the internet, Qualification Check gives you access to the world’s institutes literally at your fingertips!

So, if after reading this you’re not that afraid of asking about background checks anymore, but have some trepidation on asking questions about checking someone’s claims on being awarded that PhD in astrophysics, then either message me directly, email me at [email protected] or leave a comment below.

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