What is

Background Check


Employers use background checks to review a potential employee’s history, often involving legal information, credit ratings, employment history & more.

Trust and credibility are paramount for every employer. Organizations must protect their reputation, privacy, and safety. When bringing on new employees, it’s vital for companies to mitigate any risks associated with negative actions or behaviors. 

As a result, background checks have become integral during the hiring process. These help employers make better-informed hiring decisions and prevent issues from arising once an employee has been onboarded.  

Defining Background Checks

A background check is a process that investigates and verifies various aspects of an individual’s public records. This includes personal information, educational background, employment history, credit history, and criminal records.

Why Background Checks Matter to Employers

It’s often crucial for employers to carry out background checks. Certain professions — such as teachers and others working with children — have long required potential employees to present a clean criminal record. Today, many other industries run background checks for prospective hires. 

  • Protecting workplace safety: Employers prioritize a safe work environment. Background checks help identify any criminal history and relevant risks. 
  • Minimizing liability: Negligent hiring can have severe legal and financial implications for employers. Conducting comprehensive background checks demonstrates due diligence on the employer's part, minimizing the risk of liability.
  • Safeguarding company reputation: Negative employee actions can have severe impacts on the reputation of an organization. Background checks help identify any red flags or discrepancies in an applicant's records. This will ensure credibility and trust. 

Components of Employer Background Checks

Background check reports conducted for employers typically include several important components. 

  1. Criminal background check: Verifying an applicant's criminal history is crucial for assessing potential risks. Local or national authorities can issue a criminal records check to prospective employees. For international hires, employers may require criminal records from several countries of residence. 
  2. Employment verification: Employers may also want to verify the employment history an applicant has included on their resume. This can be done through a company or by requesting official reference documents from past employers. 
  3. Education verification: Checking an applicant's educational background confirms that they have the required qualifications and credentials for the position. Employers may check whether the applicant has valid degrees or certifications. They might also look into the validity of the institutions that issued them. 
  4. Reference checks: A standard part of almost any hiring process is to contact an applicant’s references. This gives employers insight into their relationships with past supervisors and peers. Reference checks also inform whether they will be compatible with the new team. 
  5. Professional license and certification verification: Some roles require specific licenses or certifications. As such,  employers may verify that the applicant holds the necessary credentials. This ensures compliance with regulatory requirements and confirms that the applicant possesses the necessary skills for the job.

Global Compliance and Ethical Considerations in Background Checks

No matter where you conduct a background check, regulatory compliance and ethical processes are crucial. If you are hiring a team across the globe, this may be a significant challenge. Here are some of the considerations to keep in mind. 

Compliance with Data Protection Laws
Data protection laws vary from country to country. Make sure that you are aware of the laws you should locally follow. If you are working with a screening company, check that they have local experience and comprehension. 

It is crucial to responsibly handle all personal data from collection to processing and storage. This often requires consent from individuals to ensure transparency and compliance. 

Adherence to Anti-Discrimination Laws
Background checks must be conducted without bias or discrimination. It is crucial to ensure that the screening process does not violate anti-discrimination laws that protect individuals based on race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, disability, or other protected characteristics. 

Take care to use only objective criteria and focus on information that is relevant to the position.

International Background Checks and Cross-Border Data Transfers
Your prospective employee may have had an international career. In this case, you’ll need to collect information from multiple countries. When doing this, make sure to comply with international data protection laws. 

Employers and background screening companies must navigate the complexities of cross-border data transfers. You should ensure that data is adequately protected and transferred in accordance with applicable regulations.

Accuracy and Verification of Information
It’s critical that background checks are performed with diligence. All information you obtain should be accurate and valid. This involves using reliable sources and verification methods to authenticate records and credentials. If any discrepancies or red flags arise, address them responsibly and with fairness.

Confidentiality and Security of Information
Confidentiality and security of personal information are paramount. Employers and background screening companies should implement robust security measures to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access, loss, or misuse. Information should be stored for only as long as necessary and disposed of securely once it is no longer required.

Transparency and Communication
Maintaining open and transparent communication with candidates is crucial throughout the background check process. Employers should inform applicants that they are conducting a background check. 

You should also provide prospective employees the opportunity to address any potential concerns or inaccuracies discovered during the background check. This promotes fairness and gives them a chance to provide clarifications.

Perform Compliant Background Checks with Borderless 

Borderless has your back. We help you make the right decisions about the right talent, accompanying you at every step of the hiring process. This includes background checks and prospective employee screening in over 170 countries around the world. 

Book a demo today to learn more about our comprehensive EOR services.