With a highly mobile workforce, employers are using background verification for vetting and screening of the candidates and new hires.
Background verification is the process of vetting employment history, commercial records, financial records, criminal records, and other activities of a person or a company to confirm their authenticity.
The digitization of numerous public records in India, such as the voter ID, driver’s license, PAN card, and academic certificates, police records, and court records, have facilitated prompt screenings of the entities. With so much information available online, some of which are for free and some available for a fee, there is a thin line about the legality of what can be vetted. It can be confusing for both the employer and employee.
This article talks about the five different background checks for different situations and the kind of information that is legal for the employer to access.
1. Candidate history
Employers run background checks to avoid hiring someone who could be a liability to the employer or pose a threat to the workplace. An AuthBridge report revealed that one in every six candidates lie on their resumes.
No wonder, the background check discrepancy levels shot to 48% in 2018 from only 10.29% in 2016 in India. An employment background check typically includes the candidate’s work history, educational qualifications, driving record, medical history, and criminal record.
These days, social media of candidates has also become an authoritative source of screening. SpringRole, for instance, lets individuals create profiles on the platform which are verified using the blockchain technology.
They can add meaningful endorsements to the profile, showcase projects in detail, and customize the profile by adding links to other profiles such as Twitter, GitHub, and Quora.
Although employers are allowed to access background information on existing and potential hires, there are strict rules set by United Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that must be followed. They are:
- The candidate has to be notified in writing about the background check. This document is separate from the employment application.
- The applicant must provide written consent for the background check.
- If the pre-employment check is compulsory for hiring, the business has to state is clearly in their written policies.
- The employee has the right to be notified about checks being conducted about their reputation, lifestyle, history, or character.
2. Credit score
Also known as a credit report card, it is a standard requirement by banks when applying for a credit card and car or home loans. The credit background screening helps in verifying the record of a person’s credit-to-debt ratio.
For some jobs in the finance industry, where fraud and embezzlement are possible, conduct a credit background screening.
In the USA, as per the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the employer has to obtain written consent before they request the candidate’s credit report. This consent is required in all 50 states.
Further, when a business rejects a candidate based on their credit report, they are required to give an explicit reason, along with the contact details of the credit reporting company that shared this information. This way, in the case of misinformation, the applicant gets a chance to correct it before the hiring decision is made.
3. Gamer profiles
With 100+ new online games set to enter the Indian gaming ecosystem, the addiction levels are only going to grow. Fraudsters and scammers will continue to do what they do best. To combat this, gaming companies are deploying fraud detection solutions to authenticate a user in real-time.
SpringVerify, for instance, verifies the KYC details of the gamers to create real customer profiles. When gaming companies have more information about the users, they can screen them before they gamble and not after.
A reliable verification process paves the way for a safer environment for individuals to play, and to combat gaming-related harm.
4. Personal background
With access to 200+ million court records across India, many companies have developed their in-house AI and ML-powered search algorithm. The technology is so precise that it can pick a needle from the haystack.
Therefore, to see what employers or banking professionals see when they run a background check, individuals can screen themselves too. This exercise helps them to check where they have lived and worked, and if their name appears in any public litigation database, both criminal and civil.
Background verification is a great way to address any potential errors and to not miss out on any opportunity to bag a job or loan or to start a business.
Simultaneously, it is illegal for the employer to ask about age, race, ethnicity, disability, marital status, and pregnancy during an interview or a background check. Protected information cannot be used to influence employment decisions.
5. Professional license
When the job applicant is a doctor, realtor, or accountant, background screening verifies if he possesses a valid license to protect the employer from negligent hiring claims.
The background screening company typically contacts the state licensing board to verify the license hasn’t expired or lapsed and is in good standing. Sectors that majorly run a professional license background check include:
- Home contractors, including electricians, builders, and plumbers
- Education, including college professors and administrators
- Banking and insurance
Before obtaining the records of the profession of the hire, the business has to ask the candidates for permission about:
- Education records – several schools and colleges either reveal these records to the student or to the employer with signed proof of the candidate’s approval.
- Military records – as an employer, you require written consent to know about the applicant’s rank, salary, duty assignments, and awards.
- Disability records – To access the medical records, the potential employee requires the candidate’s permission to access the medical records. The goal, with the Americans with Disabilities Act, is to ensure that the employer’s hiring decision is influenced by the candidate’s ability to perform specific tasks.
Over to you
For an applicant, they should be well aware of the rules the employer must adhere to while conducting a background check. For an employer, being aware of the state and federal laws ensures that they do not run into legal troubles in the future.
The purpose of doing a background check is to gather useful information about an entity to assess whether or not they are trustworthy, reliable, and credible. Indeed, a person’s past actions don’t predict their future ones.