July 6th, 2023 | Sterling

Background Screening FAQs with Sterling in Asia-Pacific

Background screening is a part of the hiring process that refers to verifying and evaluating a candidate’s personal, professional, and educational history before making a hiring decision. The extent and type of background screening services may vary depending on the specific role being filled, as well as the industry in which you operate. For example, in industries such as financial and legal services, more rigorous screening is required due to the sensitive nature of the work.

Although background checks are a critical step in the hiring process, some organisations attempt to cut costs by conducting screening internally or eliminating the step altogether. The report by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), titled “Report to the Nations 2022,” found that 43% of organisations that fell victim to employment fraud did not conduct background screening prior to hiring. Among the organisations that did perform background screening, 45% conducted employment background screening – verifying professional history – followed 40% who conducted criminal background checks.

Let’s examine several typical questions asked by employers along with the practical answers needed to help companies develop a thorough understanding to employee background screening programme.

1. Why should we partner with a background screening service?

Based on our customers’ feedback, risk mitigation is the most compelling reason for performing employee background screening. When partnering with a background screening service, you rely on the expertise of a provider who understands and leverages screening best practices to minimize risk. Enabling your provider to partner with you on your hiring and recruitment process not only streamlines the process but provides peace of mind for employers and their candidates.

Other reasons our customers move to a background screening service include:

  • Faster turnaround times for quicker onboarding of employees,
  • Deep market expertise in the industrials sector to stay ahead of the latest trends and maintain compliance,
  • Customisable employment screening services to match every industry’s unique needs.

A streamlined background screening process provides employers with the level of detail needed to address safety and compliance concerns while keeping up with today’s competitive hiring demands. Using advanced technology and automation, we’ve helped our customers reduce time-to-hire while creating a safe working environment for everyone.

2. Will a background screening provider tell me if I should (or shouldn’t) hire a potential employee?

Although Sterling can’t offer legal advice on whether you should hire a specific candidate or not, we will provide you with the resources and information you need to make an informed hiring decision.

Companies need to fill open roles, some of which are highly regulated and safety-sensitive. Conducting a thorough employee background screening provides a critical input to employers as part of their hiring decision, enabling them to protect their company, brand, employees, customers, and the communities they serve.

3. If there are no regulations in place, should we still screen our employees?

Sterling customers value the importance of creating a people-first culture built on a foundation of trust and safety. Although there may not be industry standards or legal guidance for how you should screen your employees, there are still risks of fraud or crime in your organisation if you are not screening your candidates.

To provide expert guidance, Sterling supports employers with our dedicated client success teams, aligning expertise and experience with each specific industry and sector. Our teams have deep market expertise across industries including banking and finance, logistics, and manufacturing, to help you better assess any potential risk within your organisation. We also offer recommendations and best practices to help mitigate future risk. From entry-level to C-suite executives, from SMBs (small and midsize business) to multinational corporate entities, we will explore each role and help you develop a thorough background screening programme.

4. Our recruitment agency conducts our pre-employment background screening: is this compliant?

Employers often ask us this question when their organisations are hiring a larger number of employees. Although this method of hiring at volume can be compliant when done correctly, it does not necessarily mean it’s the best background screening solution for your organisation.

Sterling has been in the screening business since 1975, giving us the experience and resources to operate at a high level. We deliver background screening programmes for organisations of all sizes worldwide, supporting both hiring firms and recruitment agencies alike.

If you’re in any doubt whether your agency is conducting the right checks, or whether you may be missing crucial information, Sterling can help you review your current hiring process and advise where we may be able to help you to refine and strengthen it.

Candidate-Related FAQs

The questions below cover some common candidate-related questions regarding the background screening process.

1. What kind of data will you need from my candidate?

This will vary depending on what type of searches you run. We will only ask the candidate to provide us with information necessary for us to conduct the checks you have ordered. Once we have this data, we will take the responsibility of liaising with the candidate.

2. Will you contact my candidate’s current employer?

We will never contact a current employer without first having full permission from a candidate. When candidates are completing our forms, we will specifically ask if we can contact their current employer. We know that securing employment can be a very stressful time and that, often, the candidate will not want their current employer to discover they’re looking elsewhere.

3. How long will the employee background screening take?

Turnaround times for background screenings vary significantly depending on the type of searches needed, the company providing them, and the speed with which the candidate provides the required information.

In most cases, the average turnaround time for education and employment verification is anywhere between three and five working days. While most criminal background screenings run quickly and smoothly, there can be extenuating circumstances that may cause delays in the process, such as the availability of records or unresponsiveness by past employers.

4. Will credit checks affect my candidate’s credit score?

In short, no. An employer credit check is considered a soft-credit inquiry since your candidate is not applying for credit. It won’t place a hard credit inquiry on their report, so it won’t affect their credit score.

5. Will my candidate be able to dispute the results of their screening report?

If it is believed that the information in a candidate’s report might be inaccurate, Sterling has dedicated team members who will work quickly to resolve any discrepancies. In general, a Consumer Report Agency (CRA), such as Sterling, has up to 30 days to resolve a dispute, although Sterling generally handles disputes more quickly than this.

Why Choose Sterling?

Sterling is a global expert in providing identity and background screening services to businesses around the world. We pride ourselves on our deep and nuanced understanding of the future of work and workforce management solutions to meet the challenges ahead.

Our services and local expertise are tailored to the evolving needs of businesses and requirements for workforces of the future. Contact us at info@sterlingrisq.com to discuss your needs today.

This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.