Employee background checks for HR managers – a quick guide

Employee background checks for HR managers

Employee background checks can form an important part of the recruitment process but if you’ve never done them before you may be wondering what’s involved.

In this post, we’re giving you a quick overview of what is included and what you need to do as an HR manager to make your background checking efficient and of course compliant.

In this post

  • What is a background check?
  • What is included in employee background checks?
  • Why should businesses use background checks?
  • Data protection, GDPR and background checking
  • Efficient background checking

What is a background check?

A background check can actually be a number of things including an identity check, police record check, qualifications check or work reference check.

We offer a variety of different levels of employee background checks for our clients who all have different needs so will choose from a menu of items depending upon the role they are recruiting for.

For many employers, a background check might only include an ID and address check but for others, there will be a need to have more extensive tests, especially if they are in a regulated industry like finance or security.

So whilst it is not possible to say exactly what is in a particular check for you, we can give you some general hints.

What is included in employee background checks?

If you are wanting to do background checks then you may choose to include any of a number of things including;

  • ID checks – is the person sitting in front of you who they say they are?
  • Qualifications checks – Do they really have the qualifications or the grades that they claim? Did they really go to that prestigious university?
  • DBS checks – do they have a police record?
  • Reference checks – Did they work where they said they did? Were their duties what they say they were? Does the person they gave as a referee actually exist?
  • Address checks – Were they living where they said they were?
  • Gap analysis – What were they doing during gaps in employment?
  • Media checks – have they been published in print or on TV? Did they say anything embarrassing for your company?
  • Social media checks – What does their social media profile look like? Are they connected to people that may harm your reputation?

Why should businesses use background checks?

There are two main reasons that a business should use background checks; risk reduction and compliance.

Compliance is possibly the easiest to explain in that if you are in a regulated industry then you’ll know about it.

Often the regulator will state explicitly what checks need to be done. But unfortunately, sometimes they tend to be a bit woolly in their requirements in that they will say you need to do checks but won’t specify which ones.

A good example of the former would be the security industry where things like DBS checks, gap analysis and address checks are clearly mandated.

However, even if a business isn’t in a regulated industry they may choose to carry out background checks as a method of reducing the risk of hires, especially if they are in key positions.

There are risks when you are recruiting positions where the person is in control of money or assets such as a financial director/controller role.

But there are also risks where you are recruiting someone into a position of power and influence. Imagine for example recruiting a CEO who it turns out had lied about their qualifications.

So in some cases, a business may decide that a certain level of background checking is appropriate for certain roles.

Data protection, GDPR and background checking

One of the most important points that an HR manager needs to consider when it comes to background checking is data protection.

Remember that you are going to have to collect a lot of information as part of the process so the way that you go about it, how you transmit it and how you store it all play a part.

The overriding rule with GDPR is that if you don’t have a valid reason to collect, process or store personal data then you shouldn’t.

To a large extent this should guide your approach to background checking as a whole – in other words, do you really need to check the background for a person doing that particular role?

If you don’t then you shouldn’t collect their data.

A major problem here is the system and processes you use to collect this data and who has access to it. You need a secure system that only allows access for people who have a valid reason.

If you are getting candidate data from a job portal for example, you should only use that data for the purposes of recruitment and shouldn’t then use their emails for marketing or adding in to a newsletter list.

It’s important to make sure that you are making your decisions based on sound information of course, but it is also important that the rights of the individual aren’t compromised as a result.

Efficient background checking

When you are recruiting for your company you have two major competing issues; you need to get your people in their roles as soon as possible but you also need to comply with any regulations around background checking.

You can of course do all of the background checking manually and individually carry out each check yourself.

But you don’t need us to tell you that the job of an HR professional is an incredibly busy one and whilst you are dealing with your value add work for the business you probably don’t want to add in calls to check references or doing DBS checks as well.

So if you are to balance speed, accuracy and data protection requirements then you need a partner that can help.

The good news is that here at Checkback we have fully trained and experienced vetting staff who can take the problem away.

Our proprietary system is specially developed to ensure that all interactions with your potential recruits are done in a secure and GDPR compliant environment.

Our specialists are highly experienced in background checking of all types and as a result, we can get vetting reports to you much quicker than you could possibly do yourself.

We pride ourselves on the quality of our work and when you consider that handing over the task to us leaves you free to do more value-add work for your company, it’s a no-brainer.

Call us now on 0144 281 633 or fill in the Request  A Callback form and let us show you how easy background checking can be for your business.