Background checks are done in different situations, but the situations where background checks are mostly used:
- Hiring a new employee
- Entering a business relationship (often called Due Diligence)
- Applying for credit or a loan
- Entering into a lease or rental agreement
- Applying to volunteer at a charity or NPO
What are background checks?
Background checks are used to check an individual (and at times a company’s background). Meaning we investigate your past and check some credentials to confirm you say who you are, due to so much fraud around. But also, to confirm facts that you have shared for instance:
- You did work at X company over this period
- You did pay back the previous loan
- A person that knows you well can confirm your personal attributes
- Your past does or does not include any criminal activity
Background checks are done to confirm and check your history, they are a way to confirm what you have shared (or not shared).
What type of background checks are done?
Background checks can range from digging quite deep into your past, usually done when you apply for a specific license, or almost like a check and balance. Examples:
- Credit check is done to check your payment history (do you pay back loans);
- Criminal check is done to see if you have been charged with anything from not paying traffic fines, to DUI’s (driving under the influence) to more serious activities such as murder;
- A Fraud check is used when a person is verified to see if they have committed fraud at a financial institution (i.e. worked for a financial services company and been caught committing a fraudulent offense and was not charged criminally);
- Drivers license is used to confirm you have a drivers license that is valid and to confirm the code;
- Education verification to confirm you really did go to a university or college or receive your matric;
- References are done when you give people who know you well and who will ‘refer’ you or can talk about your character;
- Independent references are when a company asks for references on you without you giving them names, they find people you have worked with or for and get an independent review;
- ID Verification to confirm you are who you say you are;
- Social Media check to review all your social media profiles to check if you have previously said publicly anything harmful for a company;
- Psychometrics is a way to dig a bit into your personality to confirm your personality traits.\
Who does background checks?
Numerous companies do checks, the credit bureaus will have credit data such as www.transunion.co.za or www.experian.co.za, all Criminal checks are done through a central database that the South African Police Service updates but you can go to www.jobcrystal.co.za/backgroundchecks.php for easy, accurate and quick results on a range of checks.
Should I always do a background check?
If you are about to start a business relationship with a person, be it in work, loan, business or if they are going to volunteer but work closely with children or the vulnerable it is highly recommended that you do some checks and balances. The number of fraud lies and deceitfulness we have seen over the past 12 years has been astounding. Use a professional and accurate verification service/company to do your checks so they remain objective. Often people perform their own checks only to want the results to turn out positive, and do not listen to glaring issues.
As they say ‘it pays to be prepared.’