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The Importance of Background Checks (and How to Do It Right)

Background checks have been an effective means of screening employees. In fact, a 2020 HR.com report found out that around 95 percent of employers use one or more types of background screening before making a hiring decision. While companies often assume applicants are truthful in their interviews, some can hide some part of the truth. This can be detrimental to the company’s reputation in the future when undetected.

This article discusses common reasons businesses should conduct background and reference checks to weed out unqualified or potentially problematic candidates.

Promote Workplace Safety

One of the most common reasons business owners check a candidate’s background is to ensure no physical harm or legal liability will befall the company. These include the following examples:

  • Sexual harassment or violence within the workplace
  • Sexual or physical assault done to client or customers  
  • Endangering the public through negligent driving
  • Harming the company’s financial or reputational image

Secure Company Assets

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Employee theft in the workplace can happen in several ways. This may be through payroll schemes, data theft, skimming fraud, and cash larceny. Even incidents of petty theft at work can lead to something huge when left unresolved.

This is why businesses need to conduct criminal record checks before taking in a new employee. They don’t need to head to the police station and check every potential applicant’s criminal record every time. One way of fast-tracking the process is by getting criminal record checks done online

Avoid Negligent Hiring

While there are industries that hire people with a criminal background, it’s best to avoid negligent hiring, especially for cash-crunched startups and small businesses. Otherwise, they can become a liability and cause significant harm to the businesses.

A customer or worker may sue an employer for negligent hiring if they have been hurt or damaged by an employee under the business’s employ. 

Ensure Job Competence

Aside from ensuring the company’s safety and security, business owners use background checks to gather information about a candidate’s past employment performance. This is crucial, especially when hiring for senior management roles. In such cases, there’s little room for mistakes.

For example, a product packaging company looking for a creative director can rule out the possibility of a fake portfolio by running reference checks on a potential hire.

Legal Considerations When Doing Background Checks

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Before conducting background checks in Canada, businesses should look into the following considerations:

  • Ensure minimum data collection. Unlike many US employers, Canadian businesses need to practice minimum data collection. This means they acquire only relevant personal information required to conduct their criminal search.
  • Get the candidate’s consent. Before conducting a background check on a candidate, it’s mandatory to obtain a signed consent form from them. You should also inform them upfront about the process, including how the company will collect their information and who will access it.
  • Verify their identification. The Canadian Police Information Center (CPIC) requires applicants to provide two valid forms of ID and sign a special release form. In some cases, they may require the applicant’s Social Insurance Number (SIN).

Maintain Privacy at All Costs

Privacy may be an issue for both employers and candidates when it comes to background checks. But most of the time, the pros outweigh the cons. There are two things that employers should consider beforehand: one is always to uphold reason throughout the entire process, and the second is, of course, to ensure the individual involved consents to it.

Planet Compliance

Planet Compliance is a marketplace where institutions and corporates can discover RegTech and LegalTech solutions. Planet Compliance also operates a content platform that provides information and insights on technology, regulation, compliance, finance and innovation.
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