6 Common Background Screening Mistakes and how to avoid them

The most important task of a recruiting department is finding a candidate with the best qualifications to fill a certain job. However, doing a thorough background check on the applicant is an equally important part of the job as hiring a person with a questionable past can lead to many problems within the organisation. 

Here are the 6 most common background screening mistakes and how to avoid them.

Not having a standard background screening policy

Human resources employees are, well, human and they sometimes rely on a hunch when determining the necessary background checks that should be done on a prospective employee. This attitude, while understandable, can lead to hiring people with dark areas in their personal history. To avoid such problems, a company should have a consistent background screening policy for each type of job. This policy depends on the role the future employees will play in the organisation, the type of people they will be in contact on a regular basis, and their access to sensitive data or company money.

The best way to do a solid background screening is to use the services of an organisation specialized in national police checks, like Australian National Character Check which can offer relevant information on a prospective employee. It is very important to use an organisation like the ANCC which is accredited by the federal government and has access to police databases in all states and can provide you with any releasable court information on the applicant.

Skipping education and employment verification

In some cases, recruiting agents are so happy to get their hands on a candidate with an excellent resume and a brilliant personality that they forget about the normal procedure of verifying the applicant’s education and past employment. 

This is a big mistake at a time when people can easily purchase an online diploma. Studies have shown that people routinely lie on their resume or at least omit relevant information. A major time gap between two listed past employment should be a warning sign for an HR division and warrant an in-depth check on the applicant’s employment record.

Ignoring the need to check even temps and contractors

When hiring a person for a temporary job, HR departments often tend to skip the necessary background screening check. Why bother for someone who’s going to be with the company for only three months? The same mentality applies when it comes to suppliers or contractors, who’ll only have brief contact with the rest of the organisation. That’s exactly what people with a criminal record will be interested in – brief access inside the company, the assumption being that by the time their crime will be discovered everybody will have forgotten about the guy who came in to service the air conditioning units.

Ignoring the need for international checks

If someone will be working remotely for your company, this does not mean they cannot do any harm. On the contrary, a person who has access to the company’s servers and databases can do more harm than a petty criminal going through his workmates’ pockets. Just as HR normally uses the services of an organisation like the Australian National Character Check for state based police checks like a police clearance wa or a national level check, there are similar online services that offer international background checks.

Putting the company at risk for negligent retention lawsuits

This is an HR employee’s nightmare – failing to do the required national police checks and hiring someone who will cause problems in the workplace. Cases of theft, sexual harassment, or violent behavior are always unpleasant to deal with but when the culprit is a person with a criminal record, all eyes will turn to the HR department for failing to spot this. In case of a lawsuit, the company will have to pay damages for negligent retention.

Forgetting to get the job applicant’s permission

Before you can order a background screening check, you need to obtain the applicant’s written permission, otherwise, the company risks being slapped with a lawsuit. Asking permission for a police check is sometimes awkward but if the candidate refuses he or she might have something to hide. 


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