One of the key considerations when beginning the process of background screening is deciding when you will conduct checks, who needs to be checked, and what they need to be checked for. This should be written in policy to ensure that there is a consistent approach to screening, now and in the future.
But how do you determine when, who, and what to check? There are four key considerations to take into account:
- The needs of your business
- The details of the position you are hiring
- The relevancy of a particular check to the candidate’s ability to do the job
- What applicable laws require or prohibit.
When to check
A fairly straightforward one, background screening is usually the last stage of a recruitment process to ensure the chosen candidate is who they say they are and has done the things they claim. Keep in mind some checks do take longer than others to complete, so once you have your chosen candidate, it is wise to get the screening process started.
Who to check
This is less straightforward. The ideal scenario would be to check every employee to ensure you are doing everything to mitigate employee risk. However for some that may not be feasible, so instead it is down to you to determine who poses the biggest risk to your business and ensure they have their background verified. Generally speaking, for many employers the higher up the corporate structure, the higher the risks posed, and the checks required will be more detailed.
As well as your potential new recruits, there are some more considerations when determining who to check. Is it necessary for some roles to have regular screening conducted? This is certainly the case in some industries, for example senior financial services staff in the UK are now subject to the Senior Manager’s and Certification Regime, which requires certain roles to be regularly screened.
What about temporary staff? They often have the same access as permanent staff but don’t always get treated the same when it comes to screening due to the short nature of their employment.
Your approach to re-screening and screening temporary workers will be determined by your risk profile and any applicable regulations, and it should be documented in your screening policy in order to ensure a fair and consistent approach.
What to check
The most complex of the three questions. Generally speaking an identity check, employment history, and education checks would be fairly standard. But consider criminal history – what do you do if you discover a candidate with a criminal history? Depending on your industry and location of hire you may be required to conduct an individualised assessment of a candidate, and not just reject them due to the conviction.
But how to proceed will vary, based on the job role and offence committed. For example, you may want to avoid hiring a cashier convicted of shoplifting, but hiring an assembly line worker with that history may seem acceptable.
The key is proportionality.
It is your responsibility to consider the proportionality between the job role and the candidate’s history. Different roles require different checks – and that is down to you to decide, considering your own risk profile and the applicable regulations.
Another check with potential pitfalls is financial integrity checks (or credit checks). You must consider how relevant an individual’s financial history is to a role. For some roles, financial trouble could be a disqualifier, for others it might not. Keep in mind that this check is sometimes prohibited, and even when it is not, there can be certain laws to adhere to.
Tip – some companies create a hiring matrix, essentially a chart that outlines when it is acceptable to hire and when it is not, based on the nature of the role and the information returned in a background check.
Remember – Be proportionate to the role, be consistent, and be compliant.
Background Checks For Dummies
Background Checks For Dummies
Get more tips on implementing background screening in our ebook, Background Checks For Dummies.