Q&A: Background Checks

I’ve received inquiries on the validity of pre-employment background checks. Are they allowed, or even legal?

Some applicants think that this process is supposed to be done after being hired.

In general, companies ask applicants to fill up and sign a form authorizing a background check even if the person hasn’t been hired yet, the purpose being that they need to verify the information of the potential employee.

This has even more weight in jobs that have great financial risks – such as bank employees, or even call centre agents who may be exposed to clients’ financial information.

So what is included in such background checks? The list is quite comprehensive:

  • Education
  • Employment
  • Residence
  • Credit and Financial
  • Personal and Professional References
  • International law enforcement organizations

Failure to correctly verify any details provided therein, or having a “red flag” on any of these – due to undisclosed information or such could be grounds for either not pushing through with the hiring process for the individual, or may come to the point of actually terminating the employment if the applicant is allowed to start work and the results are released some time after.

Of course, any termination of employment as a result of a failed background check would still have to undergo due process.