Debunking 4 common myths about pre-employment background checks

Written by
RMI Team (F)

More companies in Asia are realising the importance of including background checks in their standard recruitment process, and it’s easy to see why. Not only does the pre-employment background checks of candidates reduce the probability of poor hires, but it also acts as an early warning sign for occupational fraud risk.

However, misconceptions about pre-employment background checks may be holding some companies back from making the most of its many benefits. If you’re evaluating whether it’s worth your while to engage an external screening company, it’s important to be able to separate fact from fiction.

Here, we debunk 4 common myths about pre-employment background checks.

1. Background checks are used to eliminate candidates

This is not the case at all. Savvy business leaders know that investing in proper candidate intelligence is not about disqualifying a candidate. It is about ensuring that you have as much intelligence as possible, beyond what’s in their CV or said during the interview, to determine whether a candidate is a right fit for the position, the team, and the company culture.

In an earlier article about common hiring mistakes that most companies make, we put forth that background checks are about risk mitigation, not elimination. Done right, pre-employment background checks allow you to identify where the red flags are early on so that you’re in a better position to handle them – rather than be blindsided down the road.

2. A web search is good enough

With the wealth of information available online, including social media, you may think that a simple web search of your candidate’s name will be sufficient. But how do you verify the accuracy of the information you find, and how can you ensure you’re not taking the information out of context? Beyond the possibility that what you find online may be inaccurate or unreliable, it could also be illegal if you use unverified information to make hiring decisions.

3. All background checks are the same

There are many types of pre-employment background checks, ranging from basic education and employment verification to criminal and financial health.

The type(s) of checks used should be determined by the risk profile of the job and the company. The checks you would run on a potential candidate for VP of Sales at a global enterprise, for example, would differ from the checks for a schoolteacher at a local elementary school.

However, not every company offers the same types of pre-employment background checks, so be sure to consider your unique staffing needs when choosing the right background check company for you. Also remember to consider the provider’s experience, expertise, and reputation.

4. Only large companies need background checks

Many smaller companies believe that background checks are only necessary for large corporations, but the truth is: companies of all sizes should ensure that they are hiring the right people, especially if they wish to mitigate business risks.

A bad hire can cost a company up to $800,000 in time, money, and opportunity costs, a sum that would be devastating to small- and medium-sized businesses. A bad hire can also cause long-term harm to your company, even after they’re gone – a high turnover rate is a red flag for many applicants as it indicates a company that may be mismanaged or that fosters a toxic work environment. This results in a poor employer reputation and will hinder your ability to attract talent in the future.

Investing early in proper background checks is a much better strategy than risking hundreds of thousands in damages and time wasted.

Pre-employment background checks should be a staple of your risk management strategy

Reliable, accurate, and comprehensive background checks give you the information you need to hire the best possible candidates for your company. With proper candidate screening, not only will you be able to minimise security or fraud risks, but you’ll also be able to increase the probability of a happy, engaged, and productive employee that fits seamlessly into your company culture.

As a global verification agency that has been endorsed by the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM), RMI has highly specialised expertise in all manner of candidate intelligence, including screening, referencing, assessment, and research.

Contact us with any questions you may have about pre-employment background checks and we’ll be happy to set the record straight. You can also come to learn more about how you can identify – and mitigate – people and business risks with the help of our customised screening services.