Background checking is often termed pre-employment screening as it’s associated with the checks and research which employers do on a candidate before making a job offer. But there is a growing school of thought which recommends repeating the process regularly on existing employees, even when they have been part of the company for many years. What are the advantages of taking this approach?
Many industries make it a legal requirement to check people’s background not only when applying to the company for the first time, but also when someone is being promoted, or making a sideways move within the same organisation. Compliance, especially within the financial services sector, is essential, and employers cannot ignore the requirement for background screening. Rules often change over time, so employers also have a duty to keep up with the latest changes to legislation.
Many of the reasons for pre-employment checking are around security of the business – protecting your company against the risks of losing money or customers if you employ someone who just isn’t up to the job. These factors still come into play when promoting someone or recruiting someone from another branch or department. Workers’ personal situations can change too, and the background checks may reveal things which might not have been a factor either. Also, background checking generally gets more detailed as the responsibility of the role increases. People who have passed a basic check with flying colours many years ago might have a very different set of results on a much more detailed check for a senior position. It’s not about treating everyone with suspicion; it’s more about being aware that situations change and applying the same rules about screening to everyone.
Company and Brand Reputation
Pre-employment checking is all about protecting your company, and not just from financial harm. A detailed background check should give you all of the information you need about how people have behaved in previous positions and give you a more informed perception of how they might perform in their new role. Looking at social media or internet presence should flag up any activities away from work which might bring the company into disrepute. You might be able to sack someone who is unsuitable, but by that point the damage may already be done, and you might have already lost a key client or damaged your reputation for years to come.
Permissions and Legalities of Background Checking
Although someone might be working for your company already, that doesn’t mean that you are free to run whatever checks you like without asking them for permission. Employers have a duty to adhere to the laws about data protection and GDPR, keeping personal details secure and limiting access. It’s good practice to be fully open with your employees about what you are going to be checking any why. If your screening process involves checks through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) or credit referencing checks, then you will need permission from the employee to look at those records.