Background Checks – Common Myths

Apply for a DBS Check

More and more employers are doing background screening on people who wish to work for them, in order to protect their business from a rogue employee intent on committing fraud, or just from an incompetent employee who hasn’t got the experience or qualifications they claim. It’s a common enough process, but there are lots of myths floating around about the process.


Myth – Background checks are the same as a DBS Check

Although DBS checks might be a part of the background checking process, a robust background screening process will look at a whole host of other issues too, such as Right to Work or immigration status, references, qualifications or perhaps even your credit history or social media activity.


Myth – I don’t need to check background if I take references

Employers are becoming increasingly cagey about references, often just giving the legal minimum information like dates of employment and job title. Taken in isolation, this sort of reference doesn’t tell you much about someone’s character, or help you assess whether they would be suitable for your organisation.


Myth – Background checking is illegal

Employers are legally allowed to check any information which is in the public domain about someone. This could involve a simple search on Google, searching someone’s name on a newspaper database, or looking through their Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts. Employers will require an applicant’s cooperation and agreement for a DBS criminal records check or a credit referencing check.


Myth – Screening won’t uncover lies

Obviously, it depends on what the candidate is lying about, but many lies will be uncovered with diligent checking. Academic and professional qualifications are easy to check and checking references will weed out gaps in employment history or catch out an employee who has exaggerated their responsibilities.


Myth – All background screening companies are the same

Many employers choose to outsource their background screening. Not all background screening companies offer the same services and will approach the task in different ways. It’s worth taking the time to evaluate a few different companies to see what they can offer you and work out which company has a way of working which suits your needs best.


Myth – The only thing I need to worry about is criminal record

Criminal record only gives part of the picture. Someone who is claiming to have key skills or experience which they don’t have won’t perform as required in your organisation and could lose you customers and money. Similarly, someone with a questionable social media profile, promoting extremist views, could bring your company into disrepute.


Myth – All I need to do is Google

Google will tell you some information about a candidate, but it won’t give you the full picture. Google won’t tell you whether someone is in the UK legally, or has the right to work here, for example. Not all crimes are reported on local newspaper sites, and a search engine is unlikely to return results showing the day-to-day responsibilities of someone in a previous job.