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  Employers want to hire qualified people to fill positions of need within their organizations. They also want their recruits to be persons of decent character, without behavioural tendencies that may make them a liability to the company at some point in the future. 
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By conducting background checks on their potential or new employees, businesses are able to spot potentially problematic hires early enough, and screen them out. This process becomes more vital when the positions being hired for are critical to the company’s public image and success. If you run a business and you’re keen on employing persons without serious character defects, you can follow these steps to carry out a background check on your would-be recruits.

Create A Background Check Policy

A background check policy should be a guide to examining prospective and new employees. It should contain information about the kind of checks to be carried out, how they should be done, and when they can be conducted. Some of the things you may want to verify include the candidate’s academic qualifications, NYSC enrollment, address, guarantors, and previous employment, among others. There’s more about these in the points that follow. Just be sure that you’re remaining within legally permitted limits with the kinds of checks you intend to carry out.

Inform Your Applicants

Let your applicants know beforehand that you may be looking into their personal histories. This disclosure may prove important for legal purposes; it ensures that only persons who agree to your terms become candidates for a vacancy. If a legal dispute related to your background checks comes up later on, you’ll have a fair chance of being judged as being in the right. Of course, there’s the concern that prior disclosure might give applicants who have a dubious past the chance to cover their tracks. Regardless, letting your candidates know about your policy remains the right thing to do for legal reasons. And thorough checks may still uncover problems where they exist, even if the candidate concerned has tried to hide them.

Contact Referees

If you haven’t previously asked applicants for referees and their contact details, you should probably start doing so. The persons you’re referred to should be individuals of fairly high standing in your candidate’s formal circle or community. Ask them about the candidate who referred them, and try to glean as much information as you can from what they say and the tone with which they speak.
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Admittedly, contacting referees isn’t a foolproof way to detect problematic hires. But taken together with other measures, it could give you an insight into the background of the people you intend to employ.

Check With Previous Employers

This part of the background check process may be tricky. It’s possible that an applicant had a difficult relationship with their previous employer, and that this wasn’t due to their (the applicant’s) fault. In this case, a negative report from the former employer may not reflect the true abilities or character of the person you’re looking to hire. Instead, whatever information you get from this part of the process should be taken along with the findings from other sources. You might also want to double-check the details provided to you if you can. In any case, the principal information you should seek are the existence of the old employer, and the position your candidate held with them.

Hire A Background Check Agency

Background checks could involve a lot more than we’ve covered so far. You may have to verify the authenticity of the official documents they submit (e.g. their NYSC certificate and official ID), and whether they have a criminal record. These tasks can be time consuming, and distract from your business’s core operations. If you’re unable to carry out all the checks, it’s probably a good idea to outsource it to a background check agency. They could do a more thorough job of it, while saving you time and other costs.

Go Over Your Findings

As we’ve already noted, your decision on whether to proceed with a candidate should depend on the entirety of the observations you’ve made about their background. If the information about an applicant you’ve gathered raises red flags, it’s probably right to drop them. But if the data is sparse or portrays them positively, you may go ahead with them. Be sure to maintain a record of your findings, especially for people who you go on to hire. You might need them at a future date.

Final Words

Businesses ought to take employee background checks more seriously. While it’s reasonable to examine the personal histories of candidates for sensitive positions, companies can also do the same for people seeking a job further down the organization’s hierarchy. It could be the difference between a business succeeding and failing. Featured Image Source: TLNT
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This article was first published on 14th February 2022


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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