Best practices for background screening

Employee background screening is a vital part of the employment process. Many a time, we in HR are chastised for this, but what is a better alternative in finding out the employee’s bonafides? We always go by the philosophy of “better safe than sorry”, and we are quite justified in doing that. The consequences and embarrassment of discovering one overlooked dark spot in the candidature much later into the employment are quite negative and avoidable. It is good to consider a few best practices for background screening, so that a situation that leaves a bad taste in the mouth for everyone concerned –the employee, the employer and for us in HR –is avoided.

Consider each country’s culture

HR has moved with the times. During these days of globalization, it is common to come across employees from varied nationalities and cultures. This constitutes a very important component of background checks. A practice that is common in one country may be frowned upon in another. For instance, calling up a new employee’s previous employer to check parameters like performance and other antecedents such as behavior is absolutely fine and acceptable in the US, but may not be so in say, Singapore. We have to have some idea of what each culture has on this issue.

Check out each country’s law

Then, there are the legal issues. Most HR practices are regulated, indirectly or directly, by the respective country’s laws. In some countries, background screening may be sensitive from the legal perspective. It may have to be done in a subtle and discreet manner. There is also the possibility in some countries that they have to be presented in a legally acceptable format or framework. HR will have to factor this in.

Make it comprehensive

When hiring global employees, HR has to make the background screening process effective by looking out in each of the countries and organizations the employee has worked before. Overlooking one because it is tedious or difficult may lead you to the exact bad spot you wanted to avoid hitting.

Make your policy known across the chain

This is another important best practice for background screening, because a clearly laid out policy prevents misunderstanding and incoordination along the chain. This ensures that there is both clarity and transparency across borders, when the candidate is a global one.



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