January 10th, 2017 | Sterling

Background Screening for a Global Workforce

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The world has become a much smaller place. With the power of great communication sources and the wonders of social media, you can connect with friends, family and business associates around the globe with a touch of a button. Access to such technologies has transformed the workforce to be truly global. For many businesses, hiring foreign-born workers or candidates with international experience has a distinct competitive advantage while diversifying the workplace and filling any empty skill gaps.

Today, over 55% of the current UK workforce was born outside the UK. Hiring foreign-born workers or workers who have lived and worked abroad can present background screening challenges. European Union (EU) nationals can currently look for work at a job in another EU country without a work permit and even stay in that country after the work is finished. Compliance with foreign privacy laws, the type of information available, budget, turn-around-time and how to interpret results are key considerations for most recruiters.

If a candidate has lived, studied or worked outside the UK, it is wise to undergo an international background screening check. But, fewer than half of the companies surveyed in our Background Screening Trends and Best Practices Report 2016 conduct or plan to conduct these types of background screening checks. Privacy laws vary greatly throughout the world making screening of foreign-born workers more complex.

What is a Global Background Check?

A global background check is a collection of screening elements that could include a criminal record check, address, employment and education verifications, identity verifications or even reference checks. Global background checks will vary based on many factors including the type of position being filled, past countries of residence, country and regional specific privacy and data protection regulations and the level of risk the position poses to an organisation. Global screening is likely to increase in the next year due to an anticipated growth in the volume of this particular workforce, even with the Brexit decision last summer.

Biggest Challenge to Employers

The biggest challenge to employers who want to complete international background checks is the turnaround time. Slow turnaround time can negatively impact an organisation’s time-to-hire. Companies must take this length of time into consideration during their recruiting and hiring process.

Implementing an International Background Screening Programme

When a company implements a background screening programme, they must take into account all applicable laws to determine which types of pre-employment background checks can be carried out on potential job candidates.

The Five R’sTo Compliant Global Background Checks

There are five main considerations that all companies must comply with when implementing an international background screening programme:

  • Responsibility: It is crucial to consult with legal counsel to ensure global screening programmes comply with all applicable regional legal requirements.
  • Requirements: A company must fully understand any or all business requirements for background checks and turnaround times.
  • Relevancy: Background checks need to be relevant to the organisation’s industry and sector as well as the potential candidate’s role and responsibilities.
  • Results: Employers must only use relevant background check results when making their hiring decisions.
  • Respect: Candidates have the right to contest inaccurate results of a background check under applicable privacy and data protection laws.

Different background screening tactics will be used depending on the level and type of employment. C-suite, board of directors and executives might require more pre-employment investigations than other employees. These screenings should be highly tailored to the organisation and the position and carried out by professionally credentialed investigators. Also, potential partners and vendors should be given the same level of international background screening regardless of their relationship with the business. It is critical to remember that no background check of any kind is initiated before the candidate has been notified of the check and where necessary given consent to the check.

Best Practices for Global Screening Checks

Any business with operations in another country or that hires employees with international experience needs to have a thorough global background screening process in place to minimize risk and make the best hiring decisions. Working with an established background screening provider with international regulatory experience can help standardize a company’s global background screening programme. To find out more best practices download Background Screening For a Global Workforce.

Best practices for international hiring

This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.