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May 10, 2021

Around the World in A Day: Screening Your International Job Candidates

International Background ScreeningWhen it comes to hiring the best employees possible, background checks are essential. However, employers must realize that many applicants have spent time in other countries. Failing to conduct background screening for those time periods could cause you to miss important information like criminal convictions. That’s why international background screening is more important than ever before.

If you’ve recently added, or are planning to add, international background screening to your hiring process, keep these tips in mind.

It’s Greek to Me…Unless You Educate Yourself on the Country’s Rules

Ask questions about the specific country you'll be checking in advance. Ordering data from a foreign country may be vastly different than it is in the good old USA. Knowing its laws and the amount of information their companies, schools, and courts will share are vital. Talk with your background screening provider before you order to know what to expect. This helps to proactively plan your hiring strategy.

Rome Wasn’t Built in A Day…and Your International Background Check Won’t Be, Either

Don’t assume that your background check will return in 24-72 hours as it does in the U.S. Issues with privacy laws and rules vary by country, making the process more challenging to navigate. Some countries offer the same information as the U.S. while others won’t give out any information at all. And, depending on the country, the government may not keep accurate, thorough, or up-to-date records, so some information could return as incomplete.

Don’t Cry for Me Argentina…Which May Happen If You’re Not Consistent

Consistency in background screening is essential to maintain compliance and avoid costly discrimination and negligent hiring litigation. When it comes to international screening, put the effort into screening your applicants in a uniform manner. When possible, compare the same information on everyone. For example, if you’re verifying a job seeker’s education within the United States, you should make a thoughtful attempt to verify education on applicants who attended school abroad. While it may not always be possible to receive the same in-depth information that U.S. based schools provide, document your company’s efforts to compare similar data when screening applicants for the same position.

Pardon My French…Don’t Use A Fly-by-Night Background Screening Vendor

Maintaining a productive, relevant screening process means working with a professional background screening vendor. Companies that don’t have tenured screeners on staff or take the time to keep up with each country’s privacy laws and information-gathering standards can be a dangerous liability. They may report information that is inaccurate and may miss important information that you need to hire the right person. HR pros must ask questions about their background screening company’s practices regarding international screening. Request clarification on the documents they require, the level of experience of the staff doing the screening, the expected turn-around times, and pricing. The company should be able to give you direct, educated answers. If they don’t seem to know the difference between national and international screening or offer broad, vague answers, they are probably not the best choice for you.

With recent technology upgrades available and ease of travel, many potential employees have spent part of their lives living and working in other countries. If you haven’t already, you may soon see the necessity of international background checks on some of your job applicants. By being proactively aware of the differences each country presents, you can arm your business with the best possible screening process. Commit to a consistent screening policy and work with a background screening company that is experienced and adept at international screening procedures. These actions will make implementing an international screening policy a seamless, positive experience.

Susan McCullah

Susan McCullah is the Marketing Project Manager for Data Facts Background Screening Division.

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