Background screening: How to find the right partner

Employee screening is a vital part of onboarding. But how do you make sure you find the right screening company?

Background screening. You might think all vendors are the same, and all checks are created equal, but they are not. Choosing the wrong vendor or conducting deficient screening on your candidates can lead to serious problems. Research suggests that 28% of companies report issues due to a failure to screen an employee before they take up their post. Of those who do screen, the same research indicates that 75% have uncovered hidden issues thanks to the screening process.

Screening is essential. For many employers – like those in financial services – it’s a legal requirement. But for all companies, as our 2018 HireRight EMEA Employment Screening Benchmark Survey explains, it is best practice to implement a robust screening programme with a globally-recognised vendor. Risk isn’t limited to full-time employees either. If you utilise contractors, long or short term, don’t you want to know that they have the qualifications and experience they claim? When poor background screening practices result in a major issue caused by a worker the cost to your organisation can be significant, both in terms of reputational damage and potential legal or regulatory issues.

But how should you assess your background screening partner? What should you look out for to make sure they are the right fit for your organisation? Here are five simple checks to help ensure you get the best:


1. Are they a global screening company?

Risk management is becoming an increased priority for employers.A well-crafted background screening programme can help to mitigate risks associated with hiring talent across the globe. Background screening processes vary widely in different countries, so working with a company with global reach, international experience and multi-lingual capabilities can really simplify the process of screening your candidates. A truly global screening company will be able to provide your business with a consistent approach to screening, wherever your candidates are coming from and wherever your offices are based.


2. Do they have the relevant experience?

To develop a successful employment background screening programme you should engage a vendor that can leverage its experience in working with similar businesses, both in terms of size and industry. It is important that the vendor has a comprehensive understanding of local laws and practices to ensure its compliance in delivering services to you, as international screening can be complex at the best of times. If you are a large multi-national business, it can also be helpful to benchmark your programme against similar types of clients screening providers work with - for example, businesses in the FTSE 100.

3. Do they meet your requirements?

It is important to choose a provider that can help you tailor a programme that offers an appropriate level of screening for your applicants, and one whose services meet all the screening requirements that your business may have.

Candidates are coming into jobs with varied backgrounds, many of whom have studied, worked or lived abroad previously, so it is essential that your provider can verify this information and not leave gaps in their screening. The ability to source information to verify education, employment and undertake government checks around the world is more important than ever.

The forthcoming GDPR will place power over personal data in the hands of the individual. It is vital that your background screening provider has built their processes on the principal of privacy by design, with data processed at the request of employers for screening that is proportionate to the role and with the explicit consent of the candidate. Ask potential providers about the steps that they have taken to prepare for the GDPR and how they are compliant.

4. Have they invested in data security?

Candidates have a right to expect that they can trust you—and, therefore, your employment screening partner. With significant financial penalties for non-compliance—not least under the GDPR—this is both crucial for your business’ well-being as well as your reputation as an organisation, and, finally, your ability to attract the very best candidates. Ask about security certifications such as ISO 27001, which is an internationally recognised standard for data security.

5. What sort of client and candidate support do they provide?

Do they have a team of experienced account managers—with sector-specific knowledge—to help implement and grow your businesses’ screening programme? Do they have the global support you need, backed up by knowledgeable screening consultants? Do they integrate with your preferred Applicant Tracking System (ATS), to make the whole process as smooth as possible? Do they use government-sourced databases to verify the information whenever possible? Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the resources, data sources, and the support that they can offer your business—and your candidates—throughout the screening process.

In a world where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find the very best talent, you need to work with the best to screen that talent. Candidate experience is key to this process: keeping job applicants up to date throughout the recruitment process, making it as simple as possible for them to be screened whilst also protecting your business from on-boarding a potential risk.

For all these reasons, engaging a background screening partner can’t be a hasty or quick decision.However, asking the right questions will help you narrow down the field and identify a background screening partner that is a good fit for your organisation. To find out more visit HireRight.

Steve Girdler is managing director EMEA at HireRight