Are you hiring employees for your organization? Before you board a new employee, it’s crucial to learn plenty about them. Not only does this ensure your new hire is truly the most qualified person for the job, but also protects you and your staff against any mishap. 

Employee background screening is a vital part of the hiring process. These checks give employers the chance to verify a prospective candidate through various means. The data collected include criminal records, credit checks, education, and employment history; confirming the validity of the information provided. 

However, the rules for background checks vary from region to region. Therefore, businesses need to understand what’s allowed under the BS7858 Standard. Also, the different types of Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) the UK government permits. Moreover, companies must be aware of what they’re allowed to check, how to do so, and how they’re required to handle and store sensitive data. 

Here is the ultimate guide to employee background screening that will help you hire the best suit for your business. 

Understanding Employee Background Checks

A background check is a legal inquiry into a prospective candidate’s history. It often involves criminal background checks, identity verification, and education and credential checks. Also, it can include health checks, DVLA checks, social media screening, etc. 

The investigation is done based on the post being filled. In other words, if you are recruiting someone at a higher level (such as a new COO), you need to undergo more firm screening procedures than a junior one. 

Moreover, these checks can be held whenever an employer feels is necessary. The basic purpose is to verify that the person is not a threat to the safety of your workforce and to maintain your company’s reputation. These checks can conclude whether a potential recruit is honest, trustworthy, and suitable for the position. 

Key Elements of a Background Check 

Given are the key elements of the employment background checks, most of which are regulated by law: 

  • Criminal Record Checks 

This screening is done to verify an individual’s criminal history. Mostly done for teachers and social workers in the UK. The severity of the checks is based on the role being applied for.  

Also, don’t forget to conduct the right Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check for each candidate. 

  • Right to Work Checks 

The check ensures whether an applicant is lawfully entitled to work in the UK or not. So, these checks apply to all applicants. An employer must conduct and maintain a record of all RTW checks. If they fail to do so, it can result in fines of up to £20,000. 

  • DVLA checks 

Driver Vehicle and Licensing Agency (DVLA) checks help you know about the employee’s driving license or create a check code to share their driving record. This might include sales reps, couriers, or delivery services. 

  • Health check 

These checks are used especially where there is a legal requirement to conduct such verification to avoid future contingencies. For example, eye tests for commercial vehicle drivers. 

  • Education and employment background check 

Some standard checks to validate a candidate’s education, experience, and work history. This might include their previous employment references and records. 

  • Social media screening 

This screening method might be very helpful in today’s age. Getting to know about a candidate’s values and attitude through their social media handles has become quite easy lately. 

Importance of Background Checks

  • Reliable Staff 

The most crucial thing an employer needs is the credibility of his employees. The background checks provide the bigger picture of the candidate to find the right person for the job. 

  • Prevention of Fraud 

If you hire the wrong person, it would be a great loss for the organization. Hiring the best one is a critical decision that must be made very carefully.  

Many candidates tend to lie on their CVs or overdo their experiences. Therefore, employee screening helps you spot any flaws and avoid hiring someone unfit for the post. 

  • Data Security 

Data theft and loss are not acceptable at any cost. As an employer, you must conduct strict checks if the job requires handling confidential or sensitive data.  

For this, HR background checks are used to save your organization from hackers, data theft, and financial loss . 

  • Workforce Protection 

You can not judge everyone just on their physical appearance or their qualification. Their code of conduct matters a lot. For example, their behavior toward others, workplace ethics, and social norms. An employer must not neglect these aspects as well. 

Employment background checks will help you weed out any candidates who might be involved in bullying, discrimination, acts of violence, or sexual harassment. Your happier workforce can provide you with higher retention levels. 

  • Legal Compliance 

RTW and industry-specific checks help you in compliance and avoid any potentially cumbersome files. So, make sure that the selected candidate is legally entitled to work for you. 

How to Perform a Valid Background Check?

The more crucial your job post is, the more detailed checks you have to conduct for the potential candidates. For instance, working in healthcare or childcare may be subject to exhaustive checks. 

Performing a valid background check is important in various contexts. To conduct a comprehensive and valid background check, several key steps and considerations should be followed. 

1. Identify the Purpose and Scope 

The purpose of the job and scope of information must be clearly defined. Mention specifically whether the job is for employment, tenancy, security clearance, or any other reasons. 

2. Obtain Consent 

Before going through the personal history of the candidate, specify that you are going to do so. Screening them without their consent is unethical and illegal. 

3. Use Reliable Sources 

The information source must be reputable and trustworthy. You can not trust everyone during the screening process. Use official records, professional databases, and confirmed contacts only. Also, you can go for criminal record sources, credit bureaus, educational institutes, and previous employment history. 

4. Verify Identity 

Cross-check the candidate’s identity through various sources. It is very important as criminals can easily dodge their identities through various means. 

5. Check Criminal Records 

Verify criminal history through appropriate channels, such as national or local criminal databases. The depth of the check (basic, standard, advanced) should align with the context of the background check. 

6. Verify Employment and Education History 

It’s better to verify the employment and education history through previous employers and educational institutions to check the candidate’s experience of previous employment, positions held, and academic credentials. 

7. Review Credit History 

Conduct a thorough credit history screening if the job calls for financial handling. Verifying financial credibility might be helpful for such positions. 

8. Maintain Compliance with Regulations 

Various countries have their terms and conditions that need to be fulfilled. Conduct the checks based on the relevant laws and regulations. 

9. Respect Confidentiality 

Data handling is of extreme worth. Make sure that the information obtained is never mishandled or leaked and is solely used for the intended purpose. 

10. Communicate Findings Clearly 

Finally, when the background check is completed, communicate the findings transparently and responsibly. As the individual has the right to know the results. 

Final Thoughts 

Hiring the right candidate is more critical than ever today. Employee background screening plays an important role in this process. Employers get valuable insights into a prospective employee’s history, qualifications, and suitability for the role.  

Through these checks, employers can verify crucial details such as criminal records, employment history, and educational credentials. 

Moreover, by following best practices and utilizing reliable sources, organizations can uphold integrity, respect confidentiality, and promote transparency. 

Ultimately, investing in comprehensive employee background screening procedures enables organizations to build a trustworthy and competent workforce, generating a culture of accountability, security, and success.