Background Checks : Do Your Candidates Have Something To Hide?

Internet searches are a routine part of pre-employment checks carried out in the e-recruitment processes of many hiring managers and recruiters but how effective are they?

May 2014 saw a ruling by the European Court of Justice which directly impacts such background checks. Individuals can now request the removal of personal information which they consider ‘inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive’. To date, around a quarter of a million links have been removed.

Originally the ‘right to be forgotten’ was limited to the EU, but the New York Times reported this week that European officials are applying pressure to non-European countries to extend that right beyond its borders, to include the US.  

How does the ‘right to be forgotten’ affect the hiring process?

Vetting candidates through online searches may be deemed controversial but it is often standard practice for hiring managers and recruiters.  While the ‘right to be forgotten’ may affect online recruitment searches carried out on candidates with something to hide, employers with comprehensive systems in place supported by modern recruiting software  will quickly identify any causes for concern.

Here’s our advice:-

Begin with early screening : Pre-employment vetting begins the moment candidates enter your applicant tracking software.Be transparent about what form your background checks will take in the early part of the online recruitment process.  Recruiting software which offers more than just basic testing, with integrated personality or psychometric assessments will help to fine tune your final shortlist and reduce the potential for problematic reference checks. 

Carry out thorough checks : Background checks must be comprehensive and exclude the need to carry out online searches. Minimum requirements should incorporate checking for criminal history, credit checks and verifying the qualifications and career history of applicants. Other issues which may need to be considered are a candidate’s eligibility to work in the UK, health tests and specific qualifications for roles which can be screened with applicant tracking systems. Support your efforts with recruiting software which incorporates inbuilt links to accredited checking agencies.  

Respond to problems : If a potential problem is indicated the best recruitment management systems will allow you to nominate an authorised member of your HR team to assess the effect that negative feedback may have on that candidate.

Automate reference checks : Recruiting software will issue reference requests to the referees provided by an applicant and issue reminders if a response is not received. If a referee fails to respond this may indicate a potential problem in the candidate’s background.  

Keep it factual : When requesting formal references for candidates in your pipeline, be specific about the information required, such as employment dates and the role title. Don’t request personal information and ascertain the relationship between the referee and the candidate to ensure objectivity.  Be aware that some cautious employers will only provide confirmation of basic details (such as, salary, job title, employment dates).

Regardless of the ‘right to be forgotten’ the vetting of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter profiles will continue to play a part in online recruitment as part of pre-employment checks.

In the meantime, thorough reference checking is essential. Your candidate may have something to hide but any cause for concern should be investigated thoroughly and issues raised with the applicant. The most effective background checks can help to avoid the cost of a bad hire and in the worst case scenario, avoid damage to both your client relationships and brand reputation.

Take advantage of sophisticated recruiting software that supports your reference checking throughout the hiring process.  Advorto helps you to hire better people faster.  Talk to us today.


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