What is a source?
A source is the author and lawful owner of the information, but it can also be an external 3rd party that accesses and manages such information on behalf of the owner.
A university may be the source when checking education, a company may be the source when checking employment, and an online service can be the source when making inquiries in automated databases / archives.
What is a Candidate?
The candidate is a former colleague or student, and is the one that will be screened. As the person most capable of providing accurate information, the candidate is the most important person in the process.
What is a Client?
The Client is the one who needs and orders a background check. It is often HR within a business, or a recruitment partner / staffing agency that does this on behalf of HR. The Client initiates the process and owns the results.
What is a Caseworker / Screener?
A caseworker / Screener is the one responsible for realizing the background check. A screener performs the searches in automated databases and contacts all relevant sources, and is the one who has the overview of you and your documentation.
This of course is a person who Meditor has screened before hiring, and who is competent to do a thorough and proper job and available to answer any questions you may have.
Why is the candidate being checked?
That an individual becomes a subject of screening is positive; it means that he/she is a candidate for employment or a contract. The candidate is of course not being selected for screening due to a questionable or suspicious nature, but because the company wants to protect their processes, and have screening as one of their criteria for employment.
The business may have requested a background check for several reasons:
- Requirements in their policies and instructions
- Orders or wishes of clients and partners
- Government requirments for certain responsibilities / functions
Why are you being contacted?
Only a source has access to and can verify the information / documents. The candidate may have received a certificate, a diploma, a service certificate or other document confirming information, but such documents can be easily manipulated. Not only by the candidate, but also by others. The market for fake diplomas is growing (diploma mills) and also work related documents are being forged and misused.
To be sure of the origin, authenticity and validity, the source is asked for a verification.
The source knows its own systems, archives and documentation, and can easily compare the information presented with what is officially registered. No one else has this ability, unless the source has outsourced this function to an external provider.
Verifications should also matter to the source. Without an opportunity to obtain confirmations, information can be misused, and so damage the reputation and operations of the business concerned. A rise in fake diplomas from a university can lead to a loss in credibility of the documents. Similarly, if a company’s name is misused by job applicants, it may lead to skepticism about the candidates from this particular company.
The candidate must consent
The candidate must consent to a background check. This consent is often a physical document attached to an inquiry. The consent should include:
- The candidate’s name, date of birth and contact information
- The purpose of the document; description what candidate consents to
- Confirmation that the candidate agrees
Sometimes a candidate does not have access to a skanner or the ability to send a signed document. In such cases, the consent given via e-mail or telephone, to that source ensures that the identity and the request is real.
The requirements for consent are governed by laws and regulations, and although there are differences from country to country, there is a broad international consensus on the candidate’s rights.
What is expected of you as a source?
1. No one can require you to answer, and there are no legal requirements or obligations to provide feedback on a verification request. But it should be the most natural thing in the world to do so.
The candidate is often a former student (paying customer) or work colleague who now needs your help to NOT fall out of the recruitment process. A background check is done for the candidate’s sake, not for the one requesting a confirmation.
2. Although the request comes from a party other than the applicant, the request is always on behalf of and with the consent of the individual concerned and should be treated accordingly. This is something you do for the candidate to have the opportunity to document their own history / background, and the only way to ensure they receive a fair evaluation.
3. You should respond as quickly as you can. By asking, we fully understand that you have other responsibilities, and to look up and verify historical data can take time. If you’re unable to respond within a reasonable time, you should still confirm receiption and estimate when you expect to send an answer.
4. If you experience an inquiry that is unclear or incomplete, you should notify, and not just ignore the request. Not everyone is all that familiar with the rules on consent, which language should be used or what documentation you require to give an answer. The request has serious intentions, and your feedback is important.
5. Do not respond to things that are not requested. A background check is not a reference interview, and the sender is just looking for facts. Subjective perceptions of the candidate are not relevant in a background check.
6. If your company requires payment in order to verify, you should state this on the official website or with your first reply. This way the screener can carry out the transaction in the right way. To avoid delays; include amount, payment details and necessary reference.
7. Create a fixed receiving point staffed by personnel who understand the purpose and have the authority to respond to inquiries, i.e. email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. This way, communication is directed to correct personnel / department, saving time and avoiding unnecessary forwarding of inquiries and personal information.
The inquiry is confidential
An inquiry should be treated confidentially. You have no right to know where the candidate has applied for a job or for anyone considering hiring the candidate. Avoid forwarding internally, unless you know who can answer. Notify the sender immediately if you find that you or your business is not the right recipient.
Who uses the information?
The information you are asked to verify is used by an Employer or a company so that they can get the necessary facts. A background check usually finishes with results presented in some kind of report. Your answers are stored as part of such a report. This report is used as a supplement to tests, interviews and other evaluation criteria the company uses, allowing them to make better decisions.
Either they do the background check themselves or they outsource to a professional partner (a background screening company). The information you receive should clearly state who processes the information. The Data Processor will hand over all answers and results to the company that has requested the screening.
Similarly, the results are saved only by the company itself, since a background check company has no interest in the applicant or the results after the process is completed.
Create a policy or guideline
Enquiries can be by phone, fax, e-mail or online systems, and the method is determined by the source itself.
The company should create an internal process on what is required for documentation and which method to use. (Not sure what such a process can include? Ask us, and we’ll create it together.)