Taking a look under the bonnet of background screening

The background screening process varies according to the role the candidate is applying for and the service you require from your screening provider, but generally involves identity, residency verification and right to work checks, employment checks, academic qualifications, credit checks, criminality checks and social media checks.

Identity checks ensure that the candidate is who they say they are, and residency and right to work checks discern that the candidate has the legal right to work in the UK.

Employment checks can range from the previous 2-5 years, and reputable screening providers will ensure that candidates have been truthful about their places of work, salary and dates of employment. It is a common misconception that previous employers that are no longer in business will not be contacted. But in many cases, screening providers will endeavour to locate all previous employers within the designated time frame to ensure that facts are correct.

Academic qualification checks verify the name of the establishment the candidate attended, graduation or leaving date and the grades they achieved, for both higher and secondary education. These details are verified with the institution, to weed out fraudulent certificates which might have been provided by the candidates themselves.

Depending on the nature of the position, credit checks might also be necessary to ensure that candidates are suitable for working in a financial setting.

Criminality checks are carried out through the DBS and Disclosure Scotland services, central databases which hold the criminal records of everyone in the country. International criminality checks will check the criminal record of any candidate who has spent time outside of the UK. Levels of check depend on the service required for the role; Basic disclosure only shows unspent convictions and conditional cautions; Standard checks shows spent and unspent convictions as well as cautions, reprimands and final warnings; Enhanced shows the same as Standard but also includes any information held by the local police which is relevant for the role; and Enhanced with Barred shows the same as an Enhanced check plus whether or not the person is barred from doing the role (for roles which involve working with children and vulnerable adults).

Social media checks will assess the candidate’s social media profiles, and search for evidence of unacceptable behaviour which might not be in line with an employer’s brand or pose a risk to the security of the company.

Reputable screening providers will ensure that all checks are carried out in a timely and efficient manner, with as little inconvenience to employers and candidates as possible. Security Watchdog uses VOLTi3, our latest Verification Tracker. This platform tracks and verifies candidate information quickly and can be integrated into your own HR and talent management system, giving you easy access to the screening process as it happens.

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