Background Check Procedure

Candidate Reference and Background Checks Procedure

You have found the best applicants through recruitment consultants and you have conducted the interviews and chosen the appropriate person. What do you need to do next? Check out whether the story the selected candidate has narrated about himself is true in every aspect. You also need to find out whether the person has a criminal affiliation or not. And, you need to know whether he’s an addict as well. So you will need to strain the candidates through three more filters – reference checks, background checks and drug screening checks.

If your candidate is able to deal with this triad of tests, then your choice of candidate has verified their credentials successfully.

Reference Checks

Why do you need a reference check in the first place? Many candidates have the right skills to crack interviews. They are confident and can answer the toughest of questions without batting an eyelid. Their resume also seems to have the perfect qualifications. In no way do they seem to make any mistake. But you need to be careful because sometimes, things may be too good to be true.

So, what you do is, you verify what all information the candidate has provided. In the curriculum vitae, the candidate must mandatorily provide names and contact info of references. These references are people from the previous company the candidate worked for and who can vouch for all the information the person has provided. These people can easily tell the real story – what has been going on behind the scenes.

When you are checking on the references of the seemingly perfect candidate, make sure you fish for information like –

  • Does the candidate have an anger management problem?
  • Do they regularly come to work? What is their absenteeism record in the previous company?
  • Have they violated any code of ethics in the previous company?

Often candidates with adverse backgrounds are ready to work for low wages, most of the times at prices less than the average median pay. Don’t fall for it, because it’s the oldest trick in the book. This is when your alarm bells should start ringing. You need to check each and every detail about this person.

Obstacles During Reference Checks

But that is not the only hurdle to clear when you are trying to find out about a person’s true identity. In many instances previous employers furnish only positive feedback and hold back all that is necessary. Moreover, some companies only furnish minor credentials like the work duration, date of joining and date of leaving. Many companies even have a no-reference policy. What should you do if that’s the case? That is when you need to have the candidate’s consent.

Consent Form

So, here’s what you do. Before a candidate gets the letter of joining, make them sign a consent form. This consent form needs to have a lot of particulars – employee’s name, aadhar number, duration of employment (joining and leaving date included), a designation held in the previous company etc.

The form should also contain a statement giving permission to verify the information. Include checkbox option for the employer to indicate whether or not the information is correct. The candidate should self-attest all these pieces of information. Failure to furnish any correct information might lead to outright rejection of their candidature.

If you want to simplify these tasks, then you need to invest in easy and automated reference check systems. Nowadays, there are several online options as well. So you need not put in a lot of time and resources towards this crucial activity.

You also need to have a reference questionnaire in place. Make sure you draft these questions in accordance with your company’s policies.

Background Checks

Background checks include a lot of terminologies. All these jargons are related to pre-screening tests that help verify the authenticity of a candidate. The first process is a reference check. That we have understood completely. After this comes the background check. This will be followed by the drug screening test. But right at the moment, let us focus on Background checks only.

Background checks aren’t something you can compromise with. That’s because it could help you to find out whether the selected candidate is a potential fraud or a criminal.

Most of the times, background checks yield positive results. There have been cases where the candidate has lied about their qualifications. Candidates who have not gone beyond high school have claimed to have PhDs. There are other instances where the person in question had been removed from the previous company because he / she had stolen something tangible from the company’s coffers or stolen something intangible like the company’s IP rights or confidential information. So you see, you cannot ignore checking to scrutinize the candidate. Hire him / her only if they come clean at the end of the process.

That being said, you can either hire background check experts to do this or you can do it yourself.  Just call up the previous company, or simply check with the references. If you have hired a background verification company to do the job, then you need not worry. Just sit back and relax. The experts are aware of the protocol they need to follow for checking the authenticity of the candidate.

But what will you do if your organization has to do the background check themselves? What are all the things you need to inquire about? Let us guide you through the whole process.

You need to check the following background items –

  • Criminal,
  • Driving,
  • Employment,
  • Education,
  • Residence,
  • Identity,
  • Credit, and
  • Workers’ compensation

Once you have checked about all these details and verified all this. Go ahead and give them an appointment letter. A criminal record is by far the most important content. If your candidate is a history-sheeter, then you need to avoid this choice and start the hiring process all over again. A repeat offender in the organization is a complete no-no. One bad egg will spoil all the other employees or cause them some serious problem.

But hey, that’s not all. There’s one more thing you need to do. Check out whether they are addicts, or not.

Drug Screening

Yes, there’s this thing you need to check about your candidates before handing them their hiring documents. Check whether they abuse some addictive substance. There’s no telling what ruckus an addict can do. They lie and sooner or later, they could indulge in some criminal activity as well. So, it’s better to screen them out at this stage itself.

But how do you get them checked? If you are an employer, then you should know this. But if you are unaware of this fact, then read this quite carefully. It is well within a company’s rights to get their employees checked for drugs. All you need to do is collect their urine / blood samples and get them checked from a pathologist. The presence of drugs / alcohol is easily traceable.

For getting the candidate’s health checkup, you need to employ an occupational health facility. Do not worry; they do not charge exorbitant rates for such tests. A single test could cost as much as 1000. If you get checkups in bulk then the price could be reduced further.

Ensure that the candidate does not get the checkup done himself / herself from a private practitioner of their preference. If you need to get them to the health centre, you need to provide them with a conveyance and not allow them to commute them on their own. You can never know what they might be up to. So try to be vigilant enough before you employ somebody. Thorough scrutiny is the key to successful candidate appointment. Good luck 🙂


Content Specialist at Perfman HR
Aellina has an impressive amount of experience in the field of education, teaching, and human resources. At Perfman HR, Aellina works closely with the management to highlight our views, our work processes and company news through our widely read blog.
Aellina Chandwani
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