HR Risks – 8 Background Screening Process Mistakes To Avoid

A poorly executed background screening process can lead to a wide array of mistakes that can cause financial, legal, and reputational damage to your organisation. And the damage caused can be irreparable.

Background screening and checks are unavoidable and a vital part of every recruitment process. Furthermore, its not a process you can cut corners on.

However, most background screening process mistakes are easy to avoid. Here are our picks for the most common mistakes found in the employee screening process (and how your organisation can avoid them).

1) Lacking a background screening process policy

An effective background screening policy is that one is standardised and consistent, which produces call to actions for all eventualities.

Without a background screening policy and procedures in place, you can put your organisation at risk of poor hiring decisions, ineffective decision making, HR and sector non-compliance; to name a few.

When you go to write and implement a policy, you must ensure it has:

  • Clear and consistent guidelines
  • Ensures compliance with sector-specific employment laws and regulations
  • Procedures for referencing and different types of background checks
  • Methods for role-specific background checks

Once implemented, it is recommended to review and amend a screening policy to ensure it is not only effective, but also efficient.

2) Screening employees only once

It is often assumed that a candidate only goes through the background screening once at the point of hire. Simply put, this is not true and strongly discouraged. Without an annual background check process on existing employees, you run the risk of employing individuals whose presence could pose a significant risk.

For example, a new employee may go on to commit a crime which puts them on the DBS barring list, preventing them from working legally in certain roles. Or a driver for your company could have obtained points, or even a driving ban, on their driving licence and continuing to employee them would be illegal.

By annually screening existing employees, your organisation will become more informed about individuals whose employment may be a violation of sector-specific employment laws and company policies.

Depending on your sector, it is highly recommended that you run background checks every quarter, 6 months, or a year.

3) Conducting unnecessary background checks

To prevent unlawful and illegal hiring, it is important that every candidate goes through a thorough background screening process. But a background screening process is only as effective as it is relevant to the individual. Therefore, your organisation should note that not every individual has to go through the same background checks.

For example, individuals who will be driving on behalf of your organisation will need to go through a DVLA check. But for other positions where driving is not required, the individual does not need to go through this check.

Asking candidates to go through background checks that are disproportionate to their role poses two disadvantages:

  • Your organisation is wasting valuable time and resources
  • The candidate may view going through an unnecessary background check negatively

Simply put, if the background check has no relevance to the role, do not use it.

4) Not letting the candidate respond to background check results

It is poor practice to say yes or no to an offer of employment if something flags up on a background check. Even if you cannot legally hire the candidate, you should give them a chance to respond to their check results and offer an explanation. The candidate is fully entitled to know the results of their background checks, just as you are.

It is also very important to note that background check results do not always tell the full story. If something flags up, talk to your candidate, ask for an explanation, and assess the risks. From here, you will have a fuller picture of your candidate and can make a more informed decision on whether to hire them or withdraw and offer of employment.

5) No mobile device process

Despite an abundance of apps, HR professionals and organisations are still asking candidates to print, fill out, sign, scan, and email their data and documents. The process is time consuming and can make all the difference between onboarding a candidate and a candidate withdrawing their application. This is where mobile app technology can be valuable.

Candidates can go through your screening process using a mobile app, such as Employment Check App. This app allows individuals to send employers their data, documents, and complete background checks quickly and compliantly. It is quick and easy to use and you do not need any back office software.

6) No permission to process the candidate’s personal data

Under GDPR, you must ask for your candidate’s permission to process their personal data for the purpose of background checks. Not doing so is illegal.

It is recommended that you send your candidate a digital consent form to sign. This can also outline your background screening process and the checks you will be conducting.

Once a form is completed, be sure that you have a process to store these signed forms for future reference and compliance purposes.

7) Relying too heavily on manual processes

Conducting background checks manually will expose companies to time-consuming tasks, errors, and difficulty managing data. And overall, manual processes will slow down vital, often time-sensitive tasks, including onboarding and decision making.

The key to avoiding a heavy reliance on manual processes is with automation.

Utilising background screening technology will automate many aspects of the background screening process, simplify workflows, getting results, and communicating updates on the status of background check applications.

8) Inaccurate background screening reports

If you cannot produce a concise an accurate background screening report by the end of your screening process, then you cannot make an informed hiring decision.

A common trap that organisations fall into is relying on several outsourced providers or clunky, manual processes; and attempting to pull all the results together in a single report. This is where a single background screening software solution comes in.

Background screening software not only allows organisations to run their background checks in one place, but also perform other background screening functions, including:

  • Automated annual background checks (and alerts if something comes up)
  • References sent and chased automatically
  • Digital consent forms
  • ID verification
  • Data management and reporting

At EBC Global, we offer a vast array of single pre-employment/background screening software solutions for candidates across all sectors.

You can find out more at /pre-employment-screening-software-apps/

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