Some dos and don’ts of background screening

Intensive interviewing and background screening are necessities for many companies taking on new employees, as the need to verify a candidate’s background and reliability can mean the difference between disaster and success. Today, serious candidates have come to expect interviews, aptitude testing and background screening as part and parcel of the recruitment process but that does not always guarantee that they will be deterred from embellishing their applications with false information.

As a custodian of the business during recruitment, it the responsibility of the hiring manager to have the best interests of the organisation at heart, says Rudi Kruger, General Manager of LexisNexis Data Services, adding that there are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind during the process.

Do invest in the overall recruitment process. “When looking to add on any candidate for any position, no matter the company, it is imperative to ensure the process is designed to assess their integrity in addition to their ability to do the job,” said Kruger. “Ensuring this means an investment of time as well as resources like screening tools.”

Don’t be obscure or vague in communicating your screening process and results to candidates. Transparency and disclosure from both the employer and candidate ensures that the recruitment process remains professional and respectable. “Should you find information that you need clarified, communicate it with the candidate. This will avoid misconceptions and mistakes,” said Kruger.

Don’t focus on finding only the negatives. Instead, be thorough but take all information like the applicant’s education, employment, and criminal history, driving history and social media into consideration.

Do look out for serious red flags. Common red flags to pay attention to include regular job changes, which points to instability or incompetence, while candidates with lengthy and unexplained career gaps could be a cause for concern. Broad and generic responsibilities are also a red flag to look out for.

Don’t avoid running a background check through a licensed background screening provider no matter how promising a candidate may seem. “However, be sure to obtain consent for checks into criminal records, credit reports, qualifications and identity verifications,” says Kruger.

Do run background screening checks via a reputable background checking partner on each and every candidate. With the right software, you will be able to verify their identity, credit information, criminal records and qualifications.

Verifying candidates’ background is made easier with technology based solutions like Lexis® RefCheck, a leading South African pre-employment and background screening solution that is arguably one of the most essential tools in human resource management and staff recruitment today.

The online verification solution helps to automate the hiring process while ensuring a candidate meets a company’s employment standards. Its services include verification of tertiary and secondary academic qualifications held by the individual from registered local and international institutions; identity and South African citizenship validation; fraud history checks via the South African Fraud Prevention Services; credit history checks through detailed TransUnion and Experian credit bureau reports; criminal history check via AFISwitch (electronic fingerprint collection and processing); verification of local and international employment history and professional association membership; verification of drivers’ licence status; and matching of bank account information against an identity number or registration number. For more information, visit