In the world of employee background checking, ‘knowledge is king’. That’s because knowledge helps to mitigate risk and dispel uncertainty, so you can hire with confidence.

Effective employee background checking is all about enabling organisations to make informed decisions about the candidates they wish to hire in the most value-for-money way possible.

Doing so could involve undertaking anything from just one to ten or more different employment checks. Cost can be just as varied; it all depends on the business, the industry, and the country in question. Each inevitably has its own requirements in terms of references, sanctions, financial, criminal, and even social media, checks.

Balancing risk in employee background checking

It also depends on the organisation’s screening policy. This policy determines the best way the business can focus time, effort, and money on where it’s needed most.

The majority of employers take a scaled approach. This means the more senior an employee and the more cash or sensitive information they have access to, the more intensive their vetting procedures should be. In other words, your screening policy towards any new hire should always mirror the potential risk they pose.

It’s not just about good practice. It’s also about demonstrating a duty of care towards other employees as well as customers and partners by proving that new recruits are who they say they are.

Beware legal and cultural sensitivities


Investigations might only unearth issues with as few as 10% of candidates, but the stakes can be high. It could be a pilot flying a plane without the right licence or training. Or a surgeon who’s not qualified to operate. Or a lawyer giving advice on multimillion pound deals when it’s not their area of speciality. Or a care worker who shouldn’t be given access to vulnerable people. In all these scenarios, the impact of getting things wrong can be serious.

When assessing a potential employee, it’s never just about the legal aspect, vital as that is. It’s also about being aware of the cultural sensitivities involved.

When it comes to background checking, UK practices may differ from those elsewhere. For example, it may be perfectly legal to undertake a reference check on someone from the United Arab Emirates. However, cultural differences mean that the approach needs to be very careful to avoid alienating the candidate.

The key role of technology in employee background checking

Another key consideration in today’s employee background checking environment is technology. One of the biggest challenges that many employers face is competition for the best candidates.

As a result, recruitment managers tend to be judged on time-to-hire and time-to-revenue. This means they’re under huge pressure to get new recruits in as quickly and effectively as possible. The problem is manual background checking can slow the process down. Some checks take days, if not weeks, to come back.

This is where digital vetting systems come in: not only can they slash turnaround times. They can also aggregate appropriate, auditable data, present it in a report format and even undertake risk analysis for you.

Separating the wheat from the chaff

Indeed, this kind of technology is what separates the wheat from the chaff among background checking UK providers. Those with the right technology, combined with expertise, can deliver the best service to organisations. This will continue to be the case as artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotic process automation systems and the like become more readily available, more cost-effective, and easier to use.

This is where an organisation like Zellis comes in. We’re experts at delivering quality services speedily and efficiently so that you don’t have to be. In fact, our market-leading technology means we can offer the full gamut of checks for organisations ranging from small firms to large international enterprises, across all sectors and employee segments.

In other words, we offer everything you need to optimise your employee background checking, shaving days off your turnaround time and generating marked improvements in your candidate experience. And as technology continues to grow, develop and evolve, the future looks bright for better background checking.

Learn more about Zellis Background Checking now.