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A Guide to Employment Checks

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Employment background checks are an essential part of the hiring process for organisations.

A pre-employment check can either confirm that the candidate is a good fit or reveal something disappointing.

In this blog, we will cover:

  • Common types of pre-employment checks
  • Data privacy and compliance laws
  • Candidate consent

Why conduct pre-employment checks?

Organisations must be confident of who they hire.

Some sectors that cater to vulnerable communities need more attention while hiring.

Work environments where remote working is the way forward now more than ever require employers to verify candidate information.

Employment checks ensure the following:

1. The candidate is the right fit for the job

Hiring managers want the assurance that they can trust the candidate they are hiring. It’s essential to check that job applicants have the right qualifications and ability to perform in the role.

2. Avoid the wrong or a bad hire

A major reason to conduct background and reference checks could possibly be to avoid hiring someone with a history of workplace violence. It may also reveals if the candidate is the right fit for the team and organisation.

3. Ensure proper due diligence is conducted

As hiring staff remotely and working from home becomes the new normal, you need to do your due diligence on who you hire.


13 Types of employment verification checks:

A background, employment or pre-employment check is the term given to a process where a recruiter verifies relevant details about a candidate. Candidate information could include the person’s identity, criminal records, and education or employment history.

There is no standard background check, this depends on the organisational needs and the employment role.

While there are many types of employment verification services, the most commonly used checks by companies are:

  1. Background identification check
  2. Criminal record check
  3. Credit financial check
  4. Employment history checks
  5. Education verification
  6. Police check
  7. Professional membership check
  8. Traffic and license check
  9. Social media check
  10. Work rights or visa checks
  11. Working with children check
  12. AML/CFT check
  13. Workers compensation check

What is involved in the different background checks?

Let’s understand the different types of employment checks that can be used as due diligence for a hiring decision:

1. Background identification (ID) check

Background Identification (ID) checks are a way to check a candidate’s background information. It includes previous education, employment history, credit history, and any relevant criminal history.


2. Criminal record check

Employers may perform criminal background checks to avoid hiring candidates who have engaged in workplace violence.

​​Employers generally use third-party service providers  to conduct background screening. These providers are well equipped and experienced to conduct thorough and accurate background screening.


3. Credit financial check

Credit checks may be required for candidates applying to positions that involve financial responsibility. Credit reports help an employer determine if an applicant is a risk in situations where handling money is involved.


4. Employment history check

Employment history checks are CV checks done to validate the information provided by the candidate.

Hiring managers usually contact previous employers to verify:

  • Dates of employment
  • Job title(s)
  • Duties performed
  • Reasons for leaving 

5. Educational verification check

Education verification is conducted to verify a candidate's educational and professional certification claims.

Recruiters can run this check for any level of education, including high school, colleges, universities, and professional certifications or licenses. Such checks help determine if a candidate has graduated from the schools they claim.


6. Police check

Police checks verify if the candidate has engaged in workplace violence or has any kind of criminal history.


7. Professional membership check

These employment checks are conducted with the appropriate professional bodies. The objective of professional membership checks is to ensure that the licenses claimed by the candidate are both accurate and current.


8. Social media check

A social media check may identify a candidate's online presence for negative or risky behaviours such as:

  • Inappropriate photographs, videos or information;
  • Discriminatory comments on race, gender, religion etc;
  • Information that contests the information on the candidate’s CV;
  • Derogatory posts about a former employer; and/or
  • Illegal or offensive behaviour.

9. Traffic and license check

Traffic and license checks determine the job applicant's driving history. A driving record could include traffic violations, suspensions, revocations, the type of license granted, and  conditions placed on driving.


10. Visa and work entitlement check

Visa and work entitlement checks confirm has valid working rights in a country.

11. Working with children check

A Working With Children Check (WWCC) may be a requirement for anyone who works for volunteers in child-related work. 

12. AML/CFT checks

Companies do AML/CFT checks to check for known or suspected terrorists, and money launderers. 


13. Workers compensation history check

A workers compensation history check may be conducted to check if the candidate has any pre-existing injuries from previous workplaces.  


FAQs related to Pre-Employment Checks

What is a background check?

Background checks verify employment history provided by the candidate. This could include information on education, employment history, credit history, or criminal record.

What is a reference check?

A reference check is the only stage in the recruitment process that obtains the opinions of someone other than the candidate. 

A set of questions is presented to a previous supervisor or co-worker who provides feedback on the job applicant.

This process is useful as a verification tool, but it also adds value to the hiring process with additional insights for the management of the future employee. 


Background checks and reference checks: What’s the difference?

Reference checks and background checks can be obtained concurrently  during the hiring process. While reference checks and background checks are both crucial steps in the hiring process, they’re different.

Background checks verify specific details of the applicant, and reference checks obtain insights from previous employers about the future employee.

There could be some overlaps in terms of information gathered. Both background and reference checks could verify employment history.


When should you conduct an employment check?

Recruiters should usually conduct employment checks before an offer to the candidate is made.

In circumstances where this is not possible, an offer can be made conditional to a satisfactory pre-employment check being completed.


Why do organisations need to verify and reference check their candidates?

With many businesses now operating with remote teams, reference checking ensures you have key insights about your potential new hires.

A reference check offers the perfect opportunity to access insights about their capabilities before you make an offer.


Do recruiters need to take a candidate's consent before conducting a check?

Consent and privacy laws are different in different countries.

In some cases, you may need to obtain consent from candidates to undertake pre-employment checks.

There may also be compulsory checks depending on the industry or role.


How to obtain pre-employment verification checks?

There are many easy to use software services available for pre-employment verification checks. Online software providers can help you conduct these checks quickly and with ease; some examples are mentioned below:


Why are HR Teams responsible for data privacy?

Through the employment verification process, a large amount of candidate data is collected, and stored. 

HR departments  should ensure that its data sharing has a strict set of controls and policies. 

Each country has their own set of privacy laws. These laws may be applicable regardless of the country you’re operating in. For instance, you could be based in the United States and still be affected by GDPR. For more information, you could read our blog on security and compliance.


Final thoughts:

There are many types of background checks available. These vary depending on the industry or role. 

In today’s digital world it is very easy to have access to these verification services from providers that offer these checks. A hasty hiring decision can be costly. It’s advisable to take the time to conduct due diligence. 

If you’re on the fence about investing in reference checking software, try Xref for free to see how it works.

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