How important is it to have a complete background screening on employees?

How important is it to have a complete background screening on employees?

It is now becoming more crucial than ever for employees to be screened prior to employment. Though the typical references and security checks are now a familiar routine among many law firms and professional sectors, should deeper education, financial and even general lifestyle screenings be added to the list?

Following the widely reported case of Thomas O’Riordan back in 2013, where this high power lawyer came under scrutiny when it was discovered he had in fact created his incredible academic and professional history within his CV, the law industry have gained added pressure to ensure employees at all levels are thoroughly vetted. Despite having a thriving career for nearly a decade, O’Riordan’s lies only came to light after applying for a new position at another barristers’ chambers, while in employment at international law firm Paul Hastings.

A report has now been released by HireRight, where 11,000 applications submitted over 3 months were screened to reveal trends in CV discrepancies. According to the study, over half of applicants had presented inaccurate information about themselves, a proportion that has remained somewhat steady since the start of the year.

Reflecting the mind-set that O’Riordan had taken, HireRight claim the most prevalent discrepancies were within the applicants’ education and employment backgrounds, with 40% of checks showing false information within the education history. Though these figures are on the rise, the study revealed inaccuracies relating to identification and credit checks are actually declining. This could be something to do with the thriving moral panic surrounding identity theft, mass unemployment and benefit scroungers — businesses clearly note the importance of these areas and applicants are aware that these increasingly intelligent screening processes could lead to legal action.

With the booming popularity of social media, even within business, employers are beginning to realise the significance of scouting a prospective employee’s social accounts to gain access into the depths of their personal affairs. This is a great way of finding out more about a person, as many have the confidence and freedom to reveal their true selves while sitting behind a computer screen or mobile device. However, should all areas of an individuals personal life really have a significant effect on their work life — or should personal and professional lives be kept separate, and lifestyles remain private? The limits are extremely debatable, especially with the potential risks to a business.

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