How Background Verification Is Done - A Guide For Employers

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Hiring the right people helps the company succeed. Hence, employers take various measures to ensure their employees are equipped with the knowledge and skills to carry out their tasks. One of the most powerful ways to hire the best talent is to conduct background verification. Through various background checks, organizations can assess the candidate’s suitability for the job. Moreover, it reduces the risk of employing someone who may later turn out to be a threat to the client, customers, or the public as a whole. But, how is background verification done? 

What is Background Verification?

Background verification is the process of checking if the information provided by the candidate during application is legitimate. Through background verification, you can check whether the person’s identity and credentials are real. Furthermore, it reveals possible issues that may hinder the candidate from fulfilling their role or land you in legal consequences later on. With an effective process in place for verifying the applicant’s background, you can make better hiring decisions. 

What Can Be Checked?

A huge part of understanding how background verification is done is knowing what kind of background check is done for employment. This, of course, depends on several factors, namely your business’ industry, the position you are hiring for, and the level of assessment the law allows. 

Most organizations, regardless of industry, often conduct:

  • Identity checks, which serve as the foundation for the other checks
  • Educational verification
  • Employment history
  • Professional qualifications 
  • Reference checks. 

More and more companies now also run criminal record checks to promote workplace safety and reduce liabilities. Note, however, that you may only be allowed a certain level of assessment. In the UK, for example, a Basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check can be used for any purpose, but a Standard DBS check is only allowed for certain roles. Also, certain laws, such as Ban the Box, require employers to push the criminal history check to the last stage of application to avoid discrimination. 

How companies do background verification also depends on the industry. If your business is safety-critical, such as those under the education, healthcare, and transportation sectors, conducting drug tests may also be your legal obligation. 

Companies under the law and financial sector may be legally obliged to and greatly benefit from conducting credit checks. No matter what the industry is, if the position requires handling of finances or sensitive information, checking the credit history may help reduce the risk of fraud, theft, and embezzlement. 

Additional background checks you may consider include:

  • Occupational Health Checks, which may include Drug Tests
  • Driving Record Checks
  • Social Media Checks, particularly for high-profile roles

Employment Background Check Process

How background verification is done depends on various factors, like the size of your business, where your business is located, relevant laws and regulations surrounding background screening, and whether or not you choose to outsource the checks. 

Multinational companies, for instance, are often large organizations. On top of having a solid policy in place about background screening, they may also have a go-to cloud-based software to run the checks on their own. If not, they most likely have secured a partnership with a third party to perform the necessary checks for them. This is because operating in more than one country makes verifying the information more complicated considering laws are different. 

A lot of small businesses now also choose to hire a third party because they don’t have adequate resources to accurately verify candidate credentials while staying compliant with local or federal laws. 

Your business location also matters because some local or national laws may affect how background verification is done. For example, in the Philippines, not following the Data Privacy Act can result in a few years of imprisonment and millions of pesos in fines. Similarly, the United Kingdom  has strict laws for illegal employment and the only way organizations can gain statutory excuse should there be problems in the future is if they run right-to-work checks properly. 

Whether you choose to run the checks on your own or outsource them to experts, below are the general steps on how background verification is done:

Inform The Applicant

The first step is to inform the candidate that as part of your due diligence, you conduct background checks on all candidates who apply for the position. The best way to do this is to give them a copy of your company policy on pre-employment background screening. Let them know why you’re conducting the checks, how long it’s going to take, what checks are involved, how you intend to secure and protect their information, and what happens if they fail. 

Obtain Candidate Consent or Authorization

Processing a candidate’s personal, and sometimes, sensitive information requires obtaining formal written consent. It’s a common pitfall, particularly for small businesses, to skip this step or not to do it properly. Some companies just sometimes ask candidates to bring documents, like birth certificates, transcripts of records, and government IDs without explaining how they’ll use, store, or discard them. 

Consider obtaining the authorization or consent at the same time you explain and provide your company’s policy for background screening. Also, note the relevant laws. The Fair Credit Reporting Act in the UK, for example, requires employers to include a candidate’s rights in the consent form. 

Collect Applicant Data

The next step is to collect the candidate’s information. Often, you ask applicants to provide documents, such as: 

  • Birth certificate or passport to verify identity
  • Diploma or transcripts to check educational qualifications
  • Certificate of employment to verify details of past employment
  • Copies of licenses to assess professional qualifications
  • Results of annual physical examination

Conduct an Investigation

Once you have collected all the necessary documents to conduct the checks you deem relevant for the industry or position, it’s time to investigate if these documents are legitimate. 

You may call the candidate’s past employers and universities to verify their credentials. For licenses, an online verification system may be available. In the Philippines, an employer can verify if the applicant is a registered professional through the Philippine Regulations Commission or PRC’s Licensure Examination and Registration Information System (LERIS). Simply input their supposed profession, name, or license number and the system will verify if they are truly registered in the commission. 

Review 

Finally, you can now weigh the results of your investigation against the standards you have set for hiring. Reviewing the results against company-set standards allows you to be more objective and consistent in your hiring decisions. 

Best Practices

How companies do background verification considers numerous factors, so it’s important to set the best practices, which are as follows:

Comply With The Relevant Laws And Regulations

It should be your utmost priority to conduct background checks by the relevant laws and regulations to reduce liabilities should there be concerns or complaints in the future. 

Some of the laws and regulations to look into include those that protect applicant data, avoid discrimination, and establish the checks you’re legally allowed to do. For example, in New Zealand, companies are only entitled to conduct credit checks if it is relevant to the job they are hired to carry out. 

Establish a Solid Policy on Background Checks

How background verification is done should be anchored on your company’s policy, which should be compliant with the law. As mentioned earlier, the policy should include the checks you require, the information you’ll collect, how you plan to use, store, or destroy the data, and what happens to the applicant should they fail one or several of the checks. 

Remember to update your policy based on legal development as well as the direction your business is going. 

Keep in Contact with the Candidate Throughout the Process

Keeping in contact with the applicant from start to finish helps establish trust and rapport, which is crucial for employee retention. Clear and constant communication also reduces the risk of misunderstandings. 

Collect Only Relevant Information

It may be tempting to collect as much information as you can, thinking that it will be useful in the future, but doing so is counterproductive and may even have consequences later. 

Collecting only the relevant information helps you stay focused on the standards you have set for hiring. It also simplifies how you collect, store, or destroy personal and sensitive information, which helps you become less likely to face legal consequences. 

Partner with a Reliable Service Provider

A lot of organizations choose to partner with a background screening service provider to ensure they are not overlooking crucial points. Reliable third parties have the necessary expertise to process data securely and present results in a straightforward manner while staying compliant with the relevant rules and regulations. 

How To Run A Background Check With Veremark

Veremark is a global screening platform trusted by the world’s best workplaces to conduct multiple background checks in compliance with the applicable laws. On top of delivering accurate results and straightforward presentation, our system can also be easily integrated into your existing workflow, which speeds up your time to hire. 

Our service is also highly scalable and customizable. Requiring no contracts, you simply pay for the checks you need, provide the candidate’s name, and customize your requirements. We’ll then give you real-time updates on candidate verification and submit results with insights to your applicants. 

Partnering with Veremark helps you make stronger hiring decisions and reduce the risk of encountering legal consequences. 

Conclusion

How background verification is done depends on several things, like your business’s industry, the role you’re hiring for, where your business is located, and the size of your organization. In general, the steps include informing the applicant, obtaining their consent, collecting their information, conducting an investigation, and reviewing the results. 

To help ensure that they are not overlooking important points, such as compliance with the applicable laws, many businesses choose to partner with a third party like Veremark, who has the expert resources and compliance framework to run multiple checks and deliver accurate results. 

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FAQs

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FAQs

What background check do I need?

This depends on the industry and type of role you are recruiting for. To determine whether you need reference checks, identity checks, bankruptcy checks, civil background checks, credit checks for employment or any of the other background checks we offer, chat to our team of dedicated account managers.

Why should employers check the background of potential employees?

Many industries have compliance-related employment check requirements. And even if your industry doesn’t, remember that your staff have access to assets and data that must be protected. When you employ a new staff member you need to be certain that they have the best interests of your business at heart. Carrying out comprehensive background checking helps mitigate risk and ensures a safer hiring decision.

How long do background checks take?

Again, this depends on the type of checks you need. Simple identity checks can be carried out in as little as a few hours but a worldwide criminal background check for instance might take several weeks. A simple pre-employment check package takes around a week. Our account managers are specialists and can provide detailed information into which checks you need and how long they will take.

Can you do a background check online?

All Veremark checks are carried out online and digitally. This eliminates the need to collect, store and manage paper documents and information making the process faster, more efficient and ensures complete safety of candidate data and documents.

What are the benefits of a background check?

In a competitive marketplace, making the right hiring decisions is key to the success of your company. Employment background checks enables you to understand more about your candidates before making crucial decisions which can have either beneficial or catastrophic effects on your business.

What does a background check show?

Background checks not only provide useful insights into a candidate’s work history, skills and education, but they can also offer richer detail into someone’s personality and character traits. This gives you a huge advantage when considering who to hire. Background checking also ensures that candidates are legally allowed to carry out certain roles, failed criminal and credit checks could prevent them from working with vulnerable people or in a financial function.

Transform your hiring process

Request a discovery session with one of our background screening experts today.

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