Employee background verification is a process that allows employers to verify confidential information such as education as well as prior working history and performance. The screening process of employee background verification reveals important information about a candidate’s behaviour which can help the employer assess potential risk posed by the candidate. Prior behaviours can include substance abuse, credit history and bankruptcy, driving records, and criminal convictions, and civil litigation.
Almost all (95 percent) employers conducted one or more types of pre-hire background screening. Some employers conduct background checks in the early process of recruitment, while some others conduct it when the employees are already hired. Conducting an ongoing employee screening upholds the company’s high-standards post-hire.
See also: HR Audit Checklist
The critical task in conducting background verification is that employers need to select a trustworthy partner, which can be a difficult one. Options continue to grow as the industry expands and technology evolves. The right partner should support the hiring process by delivering timely, accurate, and compliant information of the highest quality while delivering industry-leading customer service. Robbert Capwell, Chief Knowledge Officer, advised the following criteria of a trustworthy background verification partner.
Background screening profession has evolved dramatically over the past three decades. Some of the biggest changes are in the legal landscape, technology, and service offerings. Employers need a partner that is experienced and exhibits a long-standing reputation in the field. Conduct some online research and look for evidence of thought-leadership over time. A knowledgeable screening firm will share information and resources directly on their site by publishing white papers, articles and blogs. In addition, leaders should conduct research on the firm’s leadership team, as this will provide solid insight into the expertise of the firm’s executive management team.
Companies prove their commitment to industry best practices and standards by becoming accredited. Accredited firms demonstrate their diligence and dedication to their clients through solid performance in crucial areas such as information security, legal compliance, client education, researcher and data standards, verification standards and overall business practices. Each is vetted thoroughly by an independent auditor before receiving the accreditation badge of excellence. A commitment to accreditation is a pledge to the background screening industry and ensures employers receive the highest quality of information while serving the best interests of candidates through privacy and compliance.
The benefits and risk reduction strategies demanded of a background screening program are unique to each employer. Company size, structure, industry, and job description are all key factors that play into the decision making process. Trying to fit every screening program into the same mould will not work. Employers need to rely on a screening partner that can walk them through all of the options. Custom packages that are specific to a particular job function will provide the best benefit and value for your program. HR professionals who oversee several decentralized locations can leverage automation to receive consistent screening while ensuring compliance with company policy, as well as state and federal laws.
Seamless integration with employer screening partners can securely route candidate data, paperless forms, and an e-signature process from employer’s applicant tracking system through to screening partner and back to an HRIS system. Compliance can be achieved virtually too with the use of service-specific disclosures, federal, state and internationally required notifications and forms. All can be served up automatically as needed. A paperless storage environment makes it easy to retrieve information and maintain proper compliance.
The concern over data privacy and protecting personally identifiable information (PII) is real in today’s landscape of growing identity theft. Background screening firms that are focused on data security incorporate strict measures in all facets of information security. Be sure to choose a trusted screening partner already that has a security policy, information security procedures and training, documented procedures to deal with security incidents, access control policies and risk mitigation strategies to ensure business continuity.
Criminal record searchers are available in a variety of government and privately held electronic databases. This information can be alluring to employers that want to save money and time. This type of information is a critical research tool, however, it should never be used as a sole source of data to conduct a criminal background check.
Background verification partner should provide documentation such as compliant authorization and disclosure forms along with state compliance notifications and resources. Laws can differ county to county, state to state and even country to country. Partners should provide resources and guidance to make sure your program is compliant at all times. Be sure to speak with the employer representative about how the company will provide mandatory compliance information and how legal changes will be maintained and communicated. The provider should have a compliance team that is focused on current compliance protocols and keep their pulse on ever-changing legislation that could affect the screening program.