pre-employment checks, how, why, which ones

Pre employment checks: How to improve the process for your company

This blog post will cover what pre employment checks are, why they’re needed, and which ones should be conducted on all potential employees before they start work at your company. 

Don’t just hire the best candidate for a job. Hire the right candidate. In order to do this, you need to make sure that your new hires are qualified for their position and can be trusted with sensitive information. The hiring process is only as good as its weakest link – if someone slips through without being screened properly, they will likely cause problems down the line. 

Which pre-employment checks are there, and what information do they include?

There are certain factors that may indicate a risk in hiring an applicant for employment. These factors can be identified by conducting a pre-employment check. There are several different types of checks that can be conducted on potential employees before they start work, depending on your line of industry and the role you’re hiring them for. These include: 

Criminal record checks

Checks to find out whether an applicant has had any run-ins with the law in the past. This is often done through an online database such as the Police National Computer (for UK residents), FBI files, or other checks in specific jurisdictions. 

Financial checks

Checks on an applicant’s credit history to find out whether they’re liable for paying back any debts, have ever filed for bankruptcy, and so on. It should be noted that these checks can’t be performed in every country; some countries’ laws prohibit it unless there is a special cause.

For example, you cannot perform a financial check in Australia if the candidate has been working with money held by third parties which are not banks, even though you could legally file for bankruptcy.

Employment checks

Checks to see whether a candidate has worked with certain companies before.

Pre-screening should include verifying the information in an employment application, assessing whether or not a candidate has changed jobs frequently or worked for several employers in a short period of time.

This may indicate they are easily bored or unhappy with their work environment. 

Sanctions, Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), and Adverse media

This type of check is important to ensure you are not hiring a candidate that is blacklisted, for example a terrorist, or represents a risk of bribery & corruption, money laundering or criminal offences such as fraud or embezzlement.

Adverse media screening will highlight any potential risks or derogatory information in the public domain about the candidate that you should be aware of.

Academic checks

Verifying academic certificates, degrees, and achievements is a prerequisite for hiring especially where academic achievements play a crucial role in the position. 

Sex offender checks

Checks to see whether an applicant is listed on any sex offender registries in your country. This type of check isn’t usually done by employers in most countries but it is becoming more common as society turns its attention to the risks posed by having sex offenders working around children.

Previous drug tests

A search for any previous positive drug tests that an applicant may have taken part in during their lives.

Why are pre-employment checks important?

Employers who fail to conduct proper pre-employment checks or don’t screen properly for red flags end up with employees who can cause internal data breaches, financial loss to the organization and who can damage the brand image and reputation of the employer. 

Small businesses are particularly vulnerable as they generally don’t have comprehensive HR resources or personnel with significant experience in handling pre-employment issues; and also small businesses usually lack processes for verification of credentials claimed by candidates on resumes.

Ways employers can use the collected information

The Information collected may be used in the following ways:

  • Screening of Candidates to confirm their claimed Credentials and Credit history. 
  • Verification of Licenses and Certifications held by candidates – The candidate claimed to have been certified as a Security Auditor, ISO/IEC 27001 Lead Auditor or PCI-DSS certified? Well employers can confirm that claim by contacting the Certification Body/Association. If found to be false, it would likely result in immediate termination of employment. 
  • Verification of Employment claimed by candidates – The candidate has claimed to have worked for XYZ company; but they cannot provide any proof of that employment – well then their veracity comes into question! 
  • Screening Candidates for Criminal History and National Security concerns – As more organizations come under scrutiny from governmental agencies, this will be an important filter used to weed out candidates who may be working on behalf of foreign governments or terrorist groups.

Streamline your pre-employment checking process by adding identity verification

What a lot of pre-employment checks don’t include is ID verification. This can be a great addition to your candidate onboarding practices because you can know for sure that the person you’re talking to is who they say they are.

It’s also a relatively cheap thing to do, so it can be worthwhile to conduct an ID check before starting any other pre-employment or background check. 

Identity verification will help employers determine if a candidate should proceed with further evaluations or not.

If they lie about something as basic as an identity, who knows what they’ll have in store for you? And from €1,50 per check, why take the gamble?

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