Top common misconceptions about employee background checks

Today the term ‘employee background check’ is a pivotal component in the hiring process. As a job seeker if you have recently applied for a job, or gone in for an employment interview, then you’ve probably been asked to consent to a routine background check. In case you’re the person concerned at your organization for hiring, you would be well acquainted with the process of employee background screening.

Today employee screening is as important to hiring managers as resumes, applications and the interview process. Yet many hiring managers, HR managers and job applicants have numerous misconceptions about what background checks are and how they work.

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Having spoken to scores of applicants and hiring managers about employee background verification, I have elucidated below the most common misconceptions.

Let’s clear the air, read on:-

Google is god – Many employers feel an in-depth and wholesome background check can be done using Google. The internet most definitely is a useful tool which is widely used. However you will not have most of the information available online. Furthermore, trusting the available information online is another risk. Using a background verification company will ensure that the information you have is not only accurate but also has been legally procured for you.

There are plenty of employers out there who don’t run background checks – This statement might have been true a few decades back, however today, it doesn’t hold true. With the job market teeming with aspirants willing to go to any length to secure a job, employers becoming more conscious of threats and lawsuits, you’d be hard-pressed to find any employer these days that doesn’t require a background check or get one done.

Emphasis on character check – Employers many a times want a character check done on an applicant or an employee. A person’s character is not for us to judge. Good and bad are relative terms! What maybe a virtue for me, maybe a vice for someone else. Instead we advise them to go in for a reference check wherein they can know more about the candidate’s skills, abilities and competencies.

Checks to be done on the sly – An employee background check is done with the consent of the person it’s been undertaken for. We are not a detective agency where checks are being carried out without the knowledge of the person. Here the concerned person is not only informed, but an undertaking is also taken. So for all the employers out there who want to initiate a verification without the employee’s knowledge that is not likely to happen!

All companies provide the same information – This misconception is often presented by service providers providing low-priced services. Their goal is to convince employers and applicants that their services are as good as the value for money ones. However this is not true! Every organization has a different approach. Every background verification vendor will have their own way of carrying out verification and handling clients. Accuracy, adhering to timelines, customer service are a few aspects which are key differentiators between mediocre vendors and the competent one.

Only the big players need to invest in the screening process – A background check is designed to help employers make confident and safe hiring decisions. Many small companies believe that these are only necessary for larger companies, but the truth is that smaller companies are more at risk. The bigger players can absorb bad hiring costs which would totally kill a smaller player. The relatively small fee of background check can save many thousands of rupees, months or years of valuable time

Background checks are primarily to identify criminals/ persons with a criminal history – When applicants consent for a pre-employment screening, they simply equate this with the criminal background check. Many a times even employers feel background screening is only to screen the criminal history of a candidate. However, a complete background screening solution is this and so much more. A background check also includes education checks, employment verification, reference checks, address verification, drug testing and many more important checks.

Social media handles don’t require screening – I have had many employer’s tell me, that it doesn’t matter to them what an employee does in their personal life as long as they are great at their work. However, I beg to differ, I feel these very social media handles give us a lot of important insight into the minds and lives of applicants. Scanning social media handles of applicant’s/ employees may reveal inappropriate photos, profane comments, or anything else that might indicate a person who is a risk to their company reputations.

HR is equipped to carry out employee screening in-house – This is the most common misconception managers have. I have had countless managers tell me, why should we spend money paying someone outside? When we have our HR in-house! They can very well make a few calls and screen an applicant. Take this from a former HR professional, we are already burdened with enough and do not have the resources to screen an applicant’s background. Moreover, an HR department would not have the resources or knowledge of what has to be done and how. That’s where professional agencies like ours step in. We have the resources, the expertise, the technical knowhow and the proficiency which a HR specialist/generalist would not have.

The reason I share these misconceptions with the readers is to make them aware and to debunk the common myths that surround this process. In a nutshell, mentioned above are the common employee background check misconceptions. It is crucial that job seekers and employers seek factual information about background screening solutions from us.

Let us know (in the comments section below) of any other background screening myths or misconceptions you’ve stumbled across. We’d love to hear from you!

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