A Recruiter’s Guide to Conducting Effective Background Checks

Doing background checks is your responsibility as a recruiter toward the company you represent. You owe it to the organization to ensure that your new hires are competent, honest, responsible, and dignified employees. Otherwise, you’ll end up hiring the wrong people – the ones who could cause productivity or trust issues in the workplace.

Since it’s quite easy to sugarcoat one’s credentials on paper, you need solid proof that your shortlisted candidates are as good as what they say they are. With background checks, you can be thorough in assessing the candidates’ fit for your company, not to mention the integrity of their personality.

What Background Checks Should Include

The following are basic details you should be looking for when checking your candidates’ application:

  1. Educational background – official transcript of records, diploma, certificates
  2. Employment history – date of employment, reason for leaving, salary received, job title
  3. Professional eligibility – license number, date and place of issue
  4. Character references – relationship to applicant, recommendation for the applicant
  5. Criminal liabilities – local clearances, court orders or summons if any
  6. Personal data – complete name, address, contact number, taxpayer information
  7. Drug screening – drug test results, drug clearance, history of drug use/abuse if any

Dos and Don’ts in Background Checks

Background checks can help you make the right hiring decisions as well as protect your business from potential losses or risks. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Do exhaust your resources. Use all the information you have on hand when checking each aspect of your candidates’ application.

Do practice consistency. Conducting a background check should apply to all candidates. Determine the process for each job type and stick to it without any bias or subjectivity toward anyone.

Do hire a recruitment agency. A professional agency can greatly help you deal with the complicated process of background checking given its experience and track record in this department.

Do look for patterns. Are there any patterns you see in your candidate’s employment history? Take them into consideration and carefully think through whichever casts doubt on your candidate’s character or abilities.

Do stay within parameters. Background check has limitations and the goal of which is to ensure that the process remains fair for both the employer and employee. Know your legal, ethical, or moral responsibilities as you perform pre-employment background checks. Make your prospect aware of the whole process.

Don’t hesitate to communicate. In case you come across an important issue or concern, let your candidate know. Reserve your judgment only after clarifying things with the applicant.

Don’t use social media as a yardstick. Your candidate’s social media profile, including political views, religious beliefs, or individual preferences should never be your sole basis in measuring the person’s qualifications for the job.

Don’t ever discriminate. Just because your candidates look or sound different doesn’t mean that they should be under rigid background screening. Treat everyone with equal respect and with due process.

Checking References: Top Questions to Ask

Character references are valuable sources of information and insights for your background checks. It might help to ask the following questions to your candidates’ references:

  1. What is your relationship to the applicant?
  2. What was the applicant’s job title and responsibilities in the organization?
  3. How would you describe the person’s performance at work?
  4. What was the salary that the applicant was receiving then?
  5. What would you say are the strengths and weaknesses of the applicant?
  6. How do you think the applicant would fit into this new job?
  7. How did the employee relate with co-employees and superiors?
  8. Why did the applicant leave the company?
  9. Would you recommend the applicant to this position?
  10. Is there anything else I should know about the candidate?

Bad hires are one of the costliest mistakes that a recruitment manager or a recruitment agency could commit. Hiring someone without performing any background check should be avoided regardless of what the job title is or the fit of your candidate.
 

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Ron Cullimore | Head of Client Services

Ron Cullimore | Head of Client Services

Ron Cullimore is a deeply experienced customer service and recruitment professional. His expertise covers client experience and engagement, service management, business development, offshoring and recruitment strategy for start-ups, SMEs, corporations and multinationals. Ron was previously a management professional at Optus, a large Singaporean/Australian Telco, where he was involved in managing and recruiting local talent for their BPO operations in the Philippines. Eventually Ron relocated full-time from Australia to Manila and he joined the executive search and headhunting specialists, Manila Recruitment. His passion lies in providing well-rounded recruitment solutions to teams with specialist recruitment needs in the Philippines.
Ron Cullimore | Head of Client Services