Workforce is the biggest resource available today. Employment of people who do justice to their role, adds to a company’s growth. Alternatively, the same someone, if not suited for the post, results in a huge waste of time, money and energy; this directly affects the company’s ROI negatively as well as the individual’s career.
So what should be done to ensure a potential candidate’s suitability? An online background check, of course! But is it really necessary?
The answer lies in the reasons for which this background check is conducted like:
1. Fraud Prevention
Good jobs are scarce. With COVID-19 crippling the economy temporarily, getting a job has become even more difficult. The need to provide for the family, however, prompts many people to change their resume as per the requirements of the job. The interviewer has no way to understand this just from the documents submitted. Thus he has to resort to a background check to find out if the potential candidate is as good as he is portraying himself to be. Certain changes which are very common include:
- Past employment records
- Job responsibilities and titles
- Qualifications and professional skills etc.
Logically these are areas which an employee generally skims through and hence changes made to the same go undetected yet make the resume look better. But this is fraud and it can prove to be detrimental for the company in many different ways like:
- Hampering productivity
- Impacting the service and work quality
- Harming customer relations
- Causing a negative impact on the staff etc.
With an online background check, these regrettable hiring decisions can be avoided. Resume fraud can be brought out in the open and deserving candidates given a chance so that both the employee and the employer benefits in terms of growth and productivity.
2. Data Security
Corporate data is a critical part of every business, organization and company. When a person is hired, he is given some access to the same. This can create a potentially harmful situation if the candidate chosen is not right. With the spike in mobile usage and IoT connected devices, capturing, storing, sending and receiving data has become very easy. So it is easy for an employee to pass on sensitive information to competitors.
The company loses business and more importantly its market standing. Now that takes a long time to build. Statistically, it has been proved that almost 50% of data breaches recorded have been due to insider threats.
Technological advances have been a boon for the industry and economy but it also has a dark side. Thus security has become a major cause of concern now. Consequently hiring candidates without any pre-employment check can have disastrous results.
Today any business which deals with customer data should also get their potential candidates checked for criminal records. This is because there have been many incidents wherein competitors have planted candidates just to get information about price quotes, marketing strategies etc. This makes online background check a criticality.
3. Reputation Management
Data breach has quite far-reaching consequences. The brand reputation which takes years to build gets damaged within a matter of minutes. Who wants to do business with a company suffering a data breach? Nobody.
Damage control proves to be a costly and time-consuming affair. Thus instead of facing the consequences of a data breach and then resolving them, companies need to take precautions to prevent it. There are several security protocols which need to be implemented to prevent this breach. But the first step should mandatorily be a pre-employment screening of candidates.
This serves a two-fold function; it prevents data breach and misrepresentation or inappropriate representation of the company brand. Employees are the face of the company and any misrepresented facts or figures coming from them, tends to cause greater harm to a company’s reputation.
4. Protecting the Workforce
A company thrives only when it has a happy workforce. An atmosphere conducive to productivity is always better for business and individual growth. The company management has to protect their workforce from untoward incidents and happenings like threats, racial discrimination etc. Today’s political landscape is fraught with socio-economic strains, terrorism and other such propagandas.
Thus it becomes important for the company management to create an open and honest environment in their offices, factories, warehouses etc. Sensitivity towards ethnic, religious, political and economic views and backgrounds makes for a workplace wherein people can work without any fear or hesitation.
Extremism needs to be flagged and nipped in the bud. Conducting an online background check on new employees provides employers with a fair idea of their religious, political, social and psychological leanings. This will enable the management to detect problems and take corrective steps to prevent them even before they occur.
Company management with a zero-tolerance towards misdemeanours, acts of bullying, sexual harassment, violence, discrimination etc., makes for a happier work environment and facilitates better staff retention.
5. Legal Compliance
Non-compliance of statutory rules and regulations calls for penalty and other forms of punishments. Hence they should be avoided at all cost.
All forms of companies and organizations are governed by regulatory bodies. The hiring of qualified, experienced and honest managers is the easiest way to ensure these compliances. Thus screening of candidates for jobs at executive levels becomes mandatory as an unworthy employee with inadequate skills could tangle the company in legal battles. This would again affect the productivity, finances and brand reputation of a company.
For example, employing illegal workers either knowingly or unknowingly is a criminal offence carrying a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison. Thus all workers, especially immigrants, need to undergo an online background check to ensure that they are permitted to do the type of work that is required of them. This holds for people wanting to work in security services, aviation industry etc. Staying up to date with the latest updates and changes in the required legal compliances helps to ensure that pre-employment screening is done as per the same.
Process for conducting background checks
While it is important to conduct background checks on potential employees, these screenings are also governed by certain rules and laws. They can either be done with the help of an agency or by using the free background check tools available online. Some of the important ways to conduct a free online background check for potential candidates is to make use of:
- Search engines: They are a goldmine of information and the results obtained from here acts as the foundation of pre-employment screening. The more specific and relevant terns used to search, the better are the results that are displayed.
- Social networks: Today, everyone is on social media accounts. Hence it is easy to get content on a person. However, this information may be controlled and access might be limited to only that content which the user wants to voluntarily share. They do provide insight into a potential candidate’s personality.
- Contact information: There are many different free websites available on the internet which can dig up quite a lot of information from a simple phone number or address. The type of information that is given out by these websites is quite informative and useful.
- Criminal databases: There are free websites which deal with the same. They are worth giving a try since a criminal background search tends to throw information which is revealing and warranted.
- Viewing credit history: These websites provide insight into the spending habits of potential candidates. A person with a bad credit history is not a good candidate for employment.
The actual process of conducting an online background check, however, requires certain protocols and procedures to be followed like:
- Having a well-documented and consistent background verification policy,
- Ensuring legal advice is readily available,
- Giving candidates a chance to provide a logical explanation for misunderstands and mistakes,
- Online background checking services, if used, need to be FCRA compliant,
- Specifying the information that one requires; it never pays to assume they know,
- Opting for a character background check requires the potential candidate to be notified, comply with any requests they make and give them options to ask for information unearthed etc.
There are many different types of online background screening that companies, firms, factories, organizations etc initiate. Some of the popular ones include:
- Criminal record check
- Verification of educational and professional qualifications
- Validation of social security
- Address history check
- Sex offender lists check
- Terror watch list check etc.
To avoid any legal complications arising out of this need for background screening, it is always better to take the candidate into confidence and keep him informed about the same.
These background screening procedures provide reliable information so that company management can make practical hiring decisions. They help identify traits and histories that are associated with risky behaviour. Thus an online background check should be made a mandatory part of the employment process so that companies can hire the correct candidate for the job at hand and should not be an afterthought.