Know who you’re hiring with employee background checks

Employee background check with private investigator

Trust goes a long way in a relationship. Whether we’re talking about personal relationships or professional relationships with your employees, it is vital you can trust that a person is who they claim to be. Recent surveys have suggested that a staggering 93% of people lie on their resume, with only 30% of those ever caught. As much as we would all like to trust our intuition in these scenarios, the only way to know for sure is through a thorough background check.

When most people hear of background checks they tend to think of preliminary checks during the hiring process, but that is just one example. In reality, there are lots of different types of background checks that can be utilised for various reasons and situations. These can include: 

  • Criminal background checks
  • Employment background checks
  • Tenant background checks
  • Education verification 
  • Credit history checks
  • DBS checks
  • BPSS checks
  • Social media screening
  • Right to Work check

It is not only companies that can benefit from a background check. If you are planning to hire a nanny, contractor, or even a volunteer, background checks can offer you peace of mind before you leave them alone with your children or your property. Some will even conduct checks on romantic partners before marriage, as a way to uncover a sordid past a partner may want to hide. 

Benefits of background checks

There are many benefits to background checks that go beyond catching someone in a lie. Every day employees handle your company’s finances, stock, confidential information, or other sensitive details you would not want stolen or leaked. Understanding who employees or business partners are, and if they can be trusted, is imperative for every business. 

Fortunately, under the Employment Background Check Act of 2008, it is a legal requirement for employers to conduct background checks on their employees during the hiring process. Background checks can help you ensure workplace safety, mitigate risk for your employees and protect your company’s reputation. They can also guarantee legal compliance, as you can be sure of your employee’s past indiscretions and right to work, and allow you to screen quality candidates based on their past performances and behaviours. 

Employee criminal background check UK

How to conduct background checks

Many employers choose to conduct background checks themselves using online services. These services are databases that can be used to look up employees and gather information on them, however, this information is not always reliable, helpful, or even legal. Although these searches can be shallow, they can tell you if a candidate has a criminal record. 

To conduct a background check using these services you typically require the personal details of the person you wish to investigate. This information can range from full name and address to their national insurance number. 

Simple social media screening can also be conducted for free via social media. Using sites like Facebook, Twitter (X), or Instagram you can get a feel for who a candidate is, how they may fit within your company and, in some cases, see the type of content they post or share that may not align with your company values. 

Before you conduct a background search yourself you must get permission. Most employers will do this via a form for candidates, informing them of the background check and allowing them to sign to give their permission. 

You must also understand the legal regulations surrounding background checks to guarantee you are conducting searches ethically and legally. The UK government can assist you with this by telling you what kind of background checks you are allowed to perform for a particular role. For example, positions within healthcare or childcare require more robust background checks than an office role. 

For a deeper dive into the background of a new hire or a business partner, you need to turn to a professional private investigator

Laws and Regulations 

A person’s data is heavily protected by law, so before you conduct any type of background check you must get to grips with these rules and regulations to ensure you do not put yourself or your company at risk. All background checks must be completed in accordance with data protection laws, including the GDPR. 

To guarantee that you are working within these regulations, steer clear of: 

  • Gathering unnecessary information. All data you gather must be relevant to the position you are hiring for.  
  • Discriminatory practices. Background checks can reveal information about your candidate that is protected by the Equality Act 2010, including disabilities, gender identity, sexuality, religion and race. It is unlawful to refuse a candidate based on these protected characteristics. 
  • Requesting information about ‘spent convictions’. While you can ask about unspent convictions during your hiring process and background check, under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA) you cannot ask about spent convictions. There are certain positions, including childcare and law, where the ROA does not apply. 
  • Storing data incorrectly. There are limits to the data you are allowed to store on employees, and this data must be protected under the GDPR. Failing to upkeep security measures or inappropriate handling of data, can result in fines. 
  • Not asking permission. It is a legal requirement that you get permission to perform a background check on an employee during the hiring process. Although not necessary, it is often recommended you have this permission in writing to refer back to. 

Background Check FAQ

How long do background checks take? 

At Bond Rees, we aim to conduct background checks in 2-3 days. In some cases, a complete check can be done in a matter of hours, although more complex searches can take slightly longer. 

What shows up on a background check? 

A background check can reveal: 

  • Criminal records
  • Employment discrepancies
  • Previous complaints
  • Corporate links or shareholdings
  • Evidence of education
  • Press history
  • Other suspicious activity 

Can you fail a background check? 

Yes, you can fail a background check. For example, a check could reveal you have lied on your resume about your education or uncover a negative reference from a previous employer. It could also reveal any criminal offences or charges. 

What constitutes a pass or fail in a background check can depend on the employer and the position you are applying for. Certain minor criminal offences are protected under the ROA for office roles but can stop you from getting a job in education or law. While a lot of the hiring process is down to individual companies and their policies, sometimes it can be out of their hands and down to regulation or law.

How to explain negative background check results? 

If you have failed a background check, the company you have applied to work with should send you a pre-adverse action notice and a copy of the failed background check. You will then have the opportunity to explain why you have failed. If, for example, the background check has revealed a transgression from when you were younger, you can demonstrate the way you have grown from this experience. It’s best to be upfront and honest.

Conducting a background check can be a minefield of regulations and data. Typical online background check services offer limited information and eat into your company’s time, money, and energy. Hiring a private investigative agency, like Bond Rees, to conduct your background checks gives you that time back. 

Private Investigators can conduct in-depth background checks on employees and business partners using methods that are not available to the general public. In some cases, they can even employ surveillance to catch employers in a lie or reveal bad behaviour outside of a work environment. 

Bond Rees PIs will conduct a background check in a matter of days and, thanks to our 98.7% success rate for people tracing, can do so with very limited information, even if an employee has disappeared. We will deliver a report with minimal input needed from you or your team.

As highly trained professionals, who all come from military and police backgrounds, our private investigators have the know-how to work within the law and regulations.

If you’re in the hiring process or have suspicions an employee is not who they claim to be, contact Bond Rees today to organise a discreet background check.

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