In recent times, the term ‘background verification’ seems to be used around a lot, especially in relation with jobs and employment, of any sort. It is only natural to wonder, because its meaning is quite vague, despite being obvious. Questions such as ‘What is a background check?’ or ‘What will be verified?’ are common and crucial to the understanding of background verification.
What is meant by background verification?
A background verification or background check, by definition, refers to a comprehensive review of a person’s criminal, commercial and (often) financial records and history. Employers may perform background verification on present employees, potential candidates for employment and also of existing employees in the fold from time to time. It is done not only to confirm the information given in the job application by potential candidates, but also in order to verify the person’s identity and to ensure that the said individual, does not have a history of criminal activity, financial defaulting, etc that could pose to be an issue upon their employment in the organization. Background verification, at different levels, has become a major aspect of hiring/recruitment or for the purpose of educational application these days.
An overview of the background verification process
The background verification process varies from one organization to another. Typically, at a very basic level, employers will verify if the credentials provided in the application matches not only the supporting documents that were provided, but also the records of the institution or organisation that the candidate previously worked at. Also, checks are undertaken by means of speaking to people who are sure to be objective in their opinion about the person, i.e. previous employers, superiors, mangers, etc.
Drug tests are an important aspect that is often overlooked. Drug testing can bring to light cases of substance abuse, if any. A candidates address – permanent, or current, or both can be verified by a physical visit to the submitted address. Criminal checks are of various kinds – Database, Court record and lawyer check. Herein, an employer can verify if the candidate has had any criminal or civil proceeding against him/her. Candidates submitting identity proofs can also be verified, whether or not they are genuine or fake. As we know, getting a fake ID made doesn’t cost a fortune.
Employers today are going a step ahead and securing their workplaces by getting social media scans done, wherein candidates social media handles are scanned and screened for any unwanted affiliation and association. Also, social media profiles and usage depict volumes about a candidate’s psyche and social/moral inclination.
What is and is not included in a background check?
Aspects like a ‘Character check’ are very sensitive matters and subjective in nature. These cannot be covered or captured by background verification. Also, a candidate’s future behavioural pattern cannot be predicted or forecasted. We can trace patterns, if any unwanted behaviour/s have been documented or been observed. However, future behavioural patterns cannot be outlined by any given check.
Now that you have an idea about the background verification, you can see why it is needed for any potential/existing employee/s. If an employer (be it an individual or a firm or an institution) accepts a candidate for a position without verifying their credentials and background, they may have committed a grave error that could potentially cost them heavily to rectify, if too late. In today’s highly competitive and cutthroat competitive scenario, no individual or organization can afford to make such a blunder.
A background check is the only viable solution, upholding the adage that prevention is better than cure.