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International Background Checks

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Harriet, co-founder of CocoFinder, mentioned that checking the background of an international employee can prove challenging. Still, it can be sorted out by cross-checking the details with government records. Moreover, looking through their social media, especially non-business channels like Instagram, is an excellent way of finding out whether there's something that can affect their work delivery. 

Background checks for any international company are pretty necessary when hiring local or global talent. It doesn't matter if you hire internationally or globally; what matters is that you hire the right person with good skills. It is no good to hire an employer for your company only to find out later that the person has a criminal background. To avoid any unpleasant situation, it's essential to do a thorough background check of any potential hire, which you can do yourself or through using third-party services.

Why Is an International Background Check Important?

Similar to a local background check and criminal record check, an employer background check and an overseas background check is equally important. Because just based on the person's resume, you can't find out what kind of person you're hiring. And to make sure that you're hiring a good person, it's crucial to run a background check to avoid any unnecessary trouble. It becomes more significant to run a background test when hiring an international talent because clearing an employee's credentials based on one's resume is faulty hiring. 

Who Gets Benefits From an International Background Check?

Conducting a global employment verification is beneficial for everyone who is dealing with people internationally. Whether it's for business purposes, education purposes, or renting a place --it's always helpful to conduct an overseas background check. HR departments achieve significant benefits from global employment screening. As their potential employees might be living in different countries, it's beneficial to run a global employment screening that they are the right person. 

What Does an International Background Check Contain? 

International background verification is pretty similar to conducting a local background check. Usually, it entails checking the personal history of the international candidate thoroughly. The background checks are done to ensure that they don't have any criminal records or serious convictions. They also ensure that their credit history is clean, along with their educational background and experience matches the resume. However, depending upon the company, overseas background checks are done differently. 

The Head of HR at a renowned company does international background verification differently, and so does the CEO of a startup. 

Here’s how Alison Pearson, Head of HR at Hal Waldman and Associates Company, conducts background checks: He uses Trusted Employees software to run all international background searches on potential hires. The verification process is pretty straightforward since it's all online, but depending on the respective country laws, it can take some time.  

And Jabez Reuben, an entrepreneur running an SEO agency, The Blueprints in Thailand, conducts background checks differently. According to him, “I am an entrepreneur running an SEO agency in Thailand. I have members from different countries, including the Philippines and India. The simplest way to check the background of an international employee is by contacting their references from work or college and check for reliable results from the foreign database. If your industry is more complex, then you go the extra mile for checking the candidate for any criminal records.”

It all depends on the type of industry, your needs, the type of background check you would like to do on your potential employees, and how fast you want the result. 

So, what does an international background check include:

The information you want in the overseas background check depends on various factors, and mostly, it will depend on the type of background check you want. For example, an HR head will be more interested in learning about an employee's education, experience, background, credit, and criminal history. A landlord will be more interested in knowing about credit history and criminal background. 

Mainly, global employment verification includes:

  • Checking education: Verification of education validates a person’s education levels and ascertains different industry credentials and certifications. 
  • Checking criminal records: Normally, overseas background checks rely on criminal records provided by the United States government agencies. Checking out criminal records for other countries can be difficult as specific local laws don't allow the same level of record keeping. In this case, expert advice is required on how to do the necessary research. 
  • Verifying credit history: Checking out credit history makes sure that the person is a reliable employee. Some industries, like the financial sector, need to verify credit reporting as part of their pre-history background checks. Often, to conduct credit checks, expert advice is necessary as different countries have various credit and privacy laws, which makes it hard to access private information easily. 
  • Checking through references: Verifying through references includes cross-checking with past employers or personal contacts. This makes sure that a potential employee is a good person. Many times, checking through references is an easy and reliable way to check the background of a person quickly. 

How Long Does It Take to Complete an International Background Check?

Completing an international employment verification of an employer varies. It depends on what kind of background check you're conducting, whether you're doing it yourself or taking help from third-party services. According to HR.com, 96% of employers perform one or more types of employment background screening.

A basic background check takes four to five days. Conducting a background check in the United States takes two to four days. And if you're running a background check in a different country that has strict laws or regulations, then it might take several weeks. 

How to Onboard International Candidates? 

Mainly, companies run background checks after the interview process, or they do it annually or semiannually, criminal background checks and drug testing to make sure they have a safe and secure workplace. 

To run a pre-employment background check, companies need the candidate’s full name, current and past address, date of birth, Social Security Number (SSN) and candidate's consent to run the check. Background reports contain information of up to seven to ten years - this varies with each country. 

However, it is illegal to run a background check based on race, origin, color, sex, etc., And to conduct the background check fairly, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires employers to follow specific rules. Companies should get written permission from applicants and employees, letting them know how they can use the information found in decisions about their employment. And if an employer decides not to hire someone based on the background check report, they should send the candidate a notice that includes a copy of the report and a copy of “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.” 

Through this notice, the candidate can review the report for errors and explain any negative information. 

Mostly, employers hire third-party services to do the background check as they have access to any necessary records and databases. Hence, it’s essential to use services that are FCRA-compliant or certified by a renowned institute. GoodHire is one such example. Accredited background checks companies mention that they are accredited by the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA). 

Hence, it's a pretty long journey to onboard international employers. But you can shorten the journey and finish the hiring process quickly and efficiently by using GEO services. PEO like, Multiplier hires and onboards global talent within a few weeks without worrying about setting up a local entity. We can take care of all the local laws, taxation and benefits management of global employees. So, that you get the best talent and you don't have to worry about anything else.

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