Employee background checks

Employee background checks are far more than routine hiring formalities; they are a critical component of modern business practice that can safeguard the integrity and culture of your workplace.

In this detailed guide, we will explore the essential world of employee background checks, shedding light on their significance, the types of checks you can perform, and best practices for implementing them effectively.

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What is employee background check/verification?

An employee background check, or verification, is a review of a prospective hire's records, including criminal history, employment history and educational credentials to assess their suitability for a job.

What happens in employee background verification?

During employee background verification, employers verify various aspects of a candidate's past to ensure reliability and fit for the role. 

This process typically includes checking criminal records, credit history, employment history and educational qualifications. 

Employers may also validate professional licenses and conduct reference checks. 

This thorough investigation helps to prevent potential hiring risks, ensuring the candidate meets all employment standards and is likely to be a safe and productive member of the team. 

The depth of the employee background check, however, can vary depending on the job's requirements and the employer's policies.

Types of employee background check

Employee background checks can include various types such as:

  1. Criminal history check: Assesses any criminal convictions.
  2. Employment verification: Confirms previous job positions and durations.
  3. Education verification: Validates degrees and certifications from educational institutions.
  4. Credit history check: Reviews credit scores and financial responsibility, often for financially sensitive positions.
  5. Drug testing: Tests for illegal substance use.
  6. Reference checks: Gathers insights from professional and personal references.
  7. Social media screening: Examines online behavior and public profiles.

Each type targets different aspects of a candidate’s background to ensure suitability and integrity.

What employee background checks do employers most use?

Employers most commonly use criminal history checks and employment verifications.

Criminal checks help ensure workplace safety by identifying potential legal issues, while employment verification confirms the accuracy of a candidate's job history and qualifications. 

These checks are pivotal in assessing a candidate’s integrity and reliability, making them standard practice in many industries to maintain a trustworthy and effective workforce.

Why is employee background check important?

Employee background checks are crucial for verifying candidate credentials, ensuring workplace safety and maintaining compliance with industry regulations. They help prevent hiring mistakes, reduce employee turnover and protect against fraud and other risks, thereby, supporting a secure and productive work environment.

Read more: Why is employee background check important?

How to run an employee background check?

To conduct an employee background check effectively, follow these steps:

  1. Obtain consent: Secure written permission from the candidate to perform the background check, as required by law.
  2. Determine scope: Decide which types of employee background checks are necessary based on the role (e.g., criminal records, employment history, education verification).
  3. Choose a provider: Select a reputable employee background check service provider or use Tydy to manage your employee background check end-to-end, making it faster and easier.
  4. Conduct the checks: Perform the necessary employee background checks through your chosen service. This may include accessing public records, contacting previous employers, checking educational credentials and more.
  5. Review results carefully: Analyze the information obtained for any discrepancies or issues that may impact the candidate's suitability for the job.
  6. Ensure compliance: Make sure the process complies with all relevant laws and regulations in your country such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) in the United States which governs the use and interpretation of background checks.
  7. Make an informed decision: Use the findings from the background check alongside other factors like interviews and skill assessments to make a well-informed hiring decision.

Throughout the process, ensure that you treat all candidates fairly and equally, maintaining confidentiality and integrity in handling personal information.

How is employee background verification done in an MNC?

In a multinational corporation (MNC), employee background verification is typically standardized across various countries but tailored to local laws and practices. 

MNCs often utilize specialized third-party service providers to conduct thorough checks, including criminal records, employment history, education verification and reference checks. 

They ensure compliance with international data protection regulations such as GDPR in Europe and adapt procedures based on regional legal requirements. 

The process is integrated into the HR management system to maintain consistency and efficiency, ensuring that all employees meet the corporation’s global standards for integrity and qualifications.

For example, Tydy simplified the employee background verification process for an enterprise with 125000+ employees. Read the full case study here.

Best practices for employee background checks
  1. Establish clear policies: Develop and communicate clear guidelines on how employee background checks are conducted and how the information will be used.
  1. Obtain legal consent: Always obtain written consent from the candidate before initiating any employee background check to comply with legal requirements.
  1. Use reliable sources: Employ reputable background check providers to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information.
  1. Tailor checks to the job: Customize the scope of employee background checks based on the specific requirements and risks associated with the position.
  1. Ensure fairness and non-discrimination: Conduct background checks consistently across all candidates to avoid discrimination.
  1. Respect privacy: Handle all personal information with strict confidentiality and in accordance with data protection laws.
  1. Automate manual work: Employee background verification involves a lot of manual busywork which is best automated. Invest in a tool that enables automation.
    Read more: Automated employee background checks: 5 ways to make compliance faster
  1. Provide an opportunity to respond: If a background check uncovers potentially disqualifying information, give the candidate a chance to explain or dispute the findings before making a final decision.

Following these practices helps maintain a fair, ethical and legally compliant hiring process.

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