A background check can form an important part of your recruitment process and can help reduce the risks that your company faces. If your company doesn’t carry out pre-employment screening then there is a really important question you need to ask;
What do you really know about your new employees when they join?
With the best will in the world, an interview can only highlight certain aspects of a person’s history and of course is subject to their honesty.
And if you work in certain industries such as financial services or security guarding then you may have obligations around recruiting and this is where background checks come in.
So whether it is for risk reduction or due to regulatory requirements – does your company need a background check for new employees?
In this post:
- What is a background check?
- Why would you want to do a background check?
- Should you always do an employee background check?
- How can you do a background check?
What is a background check?
There’s no single answer to this question.
In fact, there are many different types of checks that you can do on potential employees before you confirm an offer of employment.
And there is a caveat to this – it’s not always appropriate to check the background of every employee if there isn’t a good reason.
The first check that most employers will know about will be the simple right to work check. This is a check to make sure a person is either a UK or EU national or that they have a working visa.
Employers will need to ensure that they have checked the identity of the person, usually by taking a copy of a passport or driving licence.
An address check ensures that the person lives at the address they claim and has lived in the places they claim to have lived over a period of time.
A Disclosure and Barring Service(DBS) check is a check of the criminal records to see if the person concerned has a criminal record.
Qualifications can be checked to ensure that the person attended the university that they claim and that they achieved the grades they have on their CV.
A reference check is as the name suggests, following up on references regarding someone’s work performance or character references.
Employers may want to check work history to be certain that the candidate has the experience that they claim to have.
And employers might also need to ensure that their potential hire has a settled financial situation and a credit and financial check can give them confidence in this respect.
For companies that need to protect their reputation, a media check may be appropriate and this checks things like social media posting to ensure that the candidate displays the values required by the business at all times.
Why would you want to do a background check?
The first reason you may want to do a background check is because you have to by law.
As we said in the earlier section, in the UK, companies are required by law to ensure that anyone they take on has a right to work in the UK and this means that in turn, they need to verify a person’s nationality.
It may also be that your organisation operates in a sector that is legally required to carry out background checks on your employees.
As an example, in the UK, The Financial Conduct Authority mandates that people in positions of responsibility are checked to safeguard customer’s money.
The Fitness and Propriety check, sometimes called an FCA check, looks at the background, experience and financial standing of the candidate.
Teachers and people working with vulnerable adults are required to have an enhanced DBS check done before starting work and under BS7858:2019, employees in the security industry are required to have a full background check.
But even if background checks aren’t mandated by law, you may still want to make sure that the person you are employing is who they say they are.
If you are employing an accountant who will have access to the company bank accounts then it is entirely appropriate to check that they don’t have convictions for fraud on their record.
And if you are employing a Chief Executive then you will want to know that they haven’t said something on social media that could prove embarrassing or damaging for your company’s reputation.
Should you always do an employee background check?
The simple answer is “no”.
Much as we’d like for every employer to check every employee, that isn’t practical or appropriate.
For example, if you have someone who has no contact with customers, young people or vulnerable adults and doesn’t have access to company assets then it isn’t really appropriate to do financial and criminal records checks.
It’s important also to bear in mind the requirements of GDPR. Background checking entails collecting a lot of information about the employee, some of it may be sensitive and GDPR requires companies only to do this where it is warranted.
The simple rule is that if you can’t make a solid case for collecting and processing this data, then you shouldn’t do a background check.
How can you do a background check?
For very simple checks such as the right to work, you should already have a process in place for this.
However, if you want to do further checks then this can take a lot of time and if you are new to the process you may find it very difficult.
Instead, you need to work with a partner who is able to quickly and accurately obtain the right information.
You also need to work with someone who can ensure that your background checking process is completely compliant for data protection and GDPR purposes.
At Checkback we have trained and very experienced background checking staff who can take all of the issues away, giving you a quick, slick and accurate process.
We can help with DBS checks, identity and address confirmation, reference and qualification checking and social media profiles.
If you’d like to find out more about how our highly experienced background checking operatives can help you with your requirements then simply call 0144 281 633 or fill in the Request A Callback form and we’ll talk you through what we do.