Background checking

by | Jun 3, 2010 | Career Help, Employers Tips

CVHaving been in recruitment over a decade, I know all too well the importance of background checking. Let’s face it, the CV is a major selling point for the candidate and is written to portrait him/her in the best possible light, but is it all true?

As a hiring manager or a recruiter your first point of doing background checking is to assure that the information on the CV is true. Being deceitful or bending the truth on a CV is quite a common occurrence. These flouts mostly appearing in the employment history especially with regards to the duration of each employment and the duties preformed.

As a crude example of this, I recall a candidate applying to us recently. The candidate noted amongst the work history, 6 months employment duration as a temporary with our company. Upon checking this, we indeed found an employment record, but only over 3 days. I thought it a pretty brave move, but I was not too surprised as this kind of gross exaggeration is quite common and used to cover gaps in employment history or to replace another employment that may not have worked out that great.

Cross referencing of dates and duties should be first port of call in the background checking process. Referees that are supplied by your candidates should be the first call, but ensure that these referees have professional / reporting links to the candidate and not personal or a co-worker.

Other types of checks that may be preformed are criminal checks, character profiling, psychological and value checks as well as technical skill checks.

Part of Wiki’s interpretation of background checking says:

These checks are often used by employers as a means of objectively evaluating a job candidate’s qualifications, character, fitness, and to identify potential hiring risks for safety and security reasons, which sums up why you should do this pretty well.

When it comes to character checks and to be able to identify whether the candidate will culturally fit into the workplace can be quite difficult. Social Media is being used more frequently to identify the character and cultural fit.social_media_sites

It is legal to use Social Media as part of the recruitment process; however it needs to comply with the Commonwealth and State Discrimination and Privacy laws. As recruiter or a hiring manager you need to understand the laws of Australia to avoid any possible lawsuits. The best and safest way to use Social Media for background checking is to ask your candidate for the permission to do so. If you do not ask your candidate for permission, you should ensure that your decision is not influenced by information specified under the Anti-discrimination Act, Australian Human Rights Commission or the Privacy Act.

There haven’t been many discrimination claims of this kind simple because the candidates are not able to prove who is checking what on the web. In the future this might change as Social Media such as Facebook start upgrading their privacy, so be careful when you enter this space.

Note: If you are a candidate, you are able to create a professional profile on sites such as LinkedIn. If you mention this on your CV (and/or create a electronic hyperlink) as part of your personal details, you will direct the recruiter or the hiring manager to the right profile in the Social Media space.

Author: Vlasta Eriksson

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  1. Pharmacy technician program

    Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!


    Great article-would like to publish in my free newsletter for seniors but was wondering if the information applies to Washington residents as well?

    • vlasta

      This information applies to anyone who either is looking to employ someone, who is shortlisting candidates for an interview process or for anyone that is looking for an employment. It should not make any difference where you are living. With regards background checking through social media you we need to find US Discrimination and Privacy laws or any other laws that might apply. Background checking through social media is a tool that is used world wide. With regards to you publishing this article in your newsletter would be fine as long as it adds value to your readers.

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