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Starting a Business In Colombia

Background Checks / Employee Screening In Colombia

Colombia, a federal state in South America, is touted to be in the upper-middle economy category. The Republic of Colombia is a part of several international organizations, including the United Nations and the Organization of American States. This helped Colombia introduce several flexible business laws to secure 67th rank out of the 190 listed economies globally. 

The country hosts a population of around 52 million, with an astounding literacy rate of 95.64%. As the minimum monthly wage is COL$ 1,300,606.00 or USD 265.10, the availability of affordable talent with supportive business laws is attracting the attention of several employers. However, with Colombian laws enforcing sanctions for anti-discrimination, employers must be aware of specific processes and rules while conducting a pre-employment background check in Colombia.

This article highlights all the main aspects and regulations every employer must follow while conducting an HR background check in Colombia. An easy step-by-step process is also included to allow employers to verify candidate data in record time. 

What is Employment Background Verification?

An employment background check is a process used by employers to confirm the validity of data a candidate provides. Several background checks, such as employment verification, education history, and more, verify a candidate’s credentials. Each type of check serves a different purpose, and the requirements for such reviews vary per the listed job. 

An employer can conduct a pre-employment background check in Colombia, given they acquire explicit permission from the candidate. According to labor laws, after a successful HR background check in Colombia, employers are forbidden from withdrawing a job offer based on the background check outcome. Therefore, conducting a background verification before providing an offer letter is always safe. 

Benefits of Background Checks in Colombia

Employee screening has always been a must-have tool for employers during hiring. While recruiting talents, companies conducting a pre-employment background check in Colombia can reduce future risk and make better decisions. 

Screening tampered data

  • The demand for jobs is at an all-time peak, thus ensuring high competition for a particular job listing, leading to data tampering on job applications. 
  • Conducting an HR background check in Colombia allows a company to traverse through tampered data and identify such attempts. 

Reducing risk probability

  • Serious offenses by a particular employee can implicate a company. Such actions can lead to fines imposition and temporary or permanent suspension of a business trade license. 
  • Companies that conduct a criminal background check in Colombia while screening are less likely to face such a situation.

Better decision making

  • A positive-minded team plays an instrumental role in a company’s growth. 
  • Hiring employees with a positive outlook can significantly influence the attitude of an existing team. 
  • Checking an applicant’s social life allows a company to understand their personality much deeper. 
  • Employers can identify if a candidate’s personality fits their team, leading to better decisions. 

Are Background Checks Legal in Colombia?

The Colombian labor code has several laws governing the country’s background checks. An employer can legally conduct a pre-employment background check in Colombia, but they must have the applicant’s explicit consent. 

The labor code in the said country has strict rules on discrimination. Canceling a job offer after conducting a background check in Colombia is considered discriminatory, according to the law. Therefore, employers must check applicants’ backgrounds before making a job offer. 

Things to Know When Performing a Background Check in Colombia

There are no restrictions on employers who want to conduct a pre-employment background check in Colombia. Therefore, employers must verify the mentioned information while screening a candidate. 

Employment history

  • A pre-employment background check in Colombia is applicable for experienced candidates. 
  • Relevant work experiences are always listed in the application. 
  • Employers must verify the information before acknowledging the provided information.  
  • False recommendation letters and work experience can be screened by conducting a pre-employment background check in Colombia. 

Education history

  • Employers must verify the provided educational qualifications, irrespective of a candidate’s relevant experience. 
  • Conducting a background check in Colombia on an applicant’s education allows an employer to detect tampered data.

Criminal record

  • Employers can obtain a criminal record certificate from the National Police, per the Pursuant Decree 4057/2011.
  • There are no restrictions on obtaining the criminal record certificate for employers. 
  • Employers must acquire explicit consent from the applicant before conducting a criminal background check in Colombia. 

Credit report

  • A credit score is allotted per the efficacy of the candidate’s finance management capability. 
  • Such scores can be considered while hiring for jobs related to asset management.
  • DataCredito manages the credit system in Colombia. Employers can procure the required information from the mentioned source. 

Social life

  • Employers must conduct a pre-employment background check in Colombia to ensure the recruitment of suitable personalities in their teams. 
  • A social life check can be conducted easily since the information is already available in the public domain. 

Information Essential for a Background Check in Colombia

An HR background check in Colombia is minimally moderated. The application provides all the information required to conduct a pre-employment background check in Colombia.

A list of information required to conduct a check is given below. Employers must procure the missing information to ensure a smooth background check. 

  • Applicant’s consent, signed or written 
  • Full name of the candidate 
  • Registered date of birth
  • Registered residence address
  • Colombian National ID card or the cedula de identidad.
  • School name, attendance dates, degree certificate, reference name, contact, and release form for verifying education. 
  • Company name, employer name, positions held, experience letter or other acceptable relevant proof, date of employment, and reference contact for verifying employment history. 

Process Involved in Background Checks in Colombia

Companies can conduct an annual pre-employment background check in Colombia or hire a third-party agency to carry out the task. In the case of an outsourced partner, an employer must forward the mandatory candidate information to the contracted agency. However, while conducting a manual employee background screening in Colombia, employers must follow the below steps. 

Listing out requirements

  • Companies looking to hire in Colombia must list the requirements for conducting a background check in the country. 
  • There are minimal provisions enforced on background checks. However, having transparency on the required information can decrease the turnaround time for employee screening in Colombia. 

Acquiring consent

  • Employers must notify their candidates and acquire explicit consent for conducting a background check in Colombia. 
  • It is always advised to acquire the candidate’s signature on a consent form rather than making them draft a written consent. Such a measure decreases the turnaround time required to obtain an applicant’s consent. 

Gathering information

  • According to the listed information, employers must contact the concerned authorities and procure information from the authority’s end. 
  • Companies can contact references listed in the candidate’s application to conduct an educational and employment background check in Colombia. 
  • A company must contact the National Police Force in Colombia and request a criminal record certificate. 
  • Social media checks can be conducted on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. 

Verification

  • The gathered information is verified against the data provided by the candidate. 
  • Using this process, the applicant’s claims on employment and education can be validated. 
  • False or tampered data can be verified, and necessary actions can be taken accordingly. 

Industries and Situations That are Most Suitable for Background Checks in Colombia 

Conducting an educational and employment background check in Colombia is the minimum screening benchmark. However, certain jobs and industries require specific background reviews to ensure better hiring decisions. Some examples have been listed below.

Hospitality

  • Malpractices such as theft have plagued this industry. 
  • Monitoring is an excellent strategy to cap such a problem. However, employers can reduce the probability of such an instance by conducting a criminal background check in Colombia. 

Healthcare

  • Healthcare jobs such as nurses and doctors are high-risk jobs with little scope for error. Verifying a candidate’s education and employment history is mandatory to determine their risk tolerance capacity. 
  • Malpractices in healthcare, such as incorrect diagnosis or medical experimentation on patients, are also prevalent. Therefore, it is always advised to conduct a criminal background check. 

Caregivers

  • Employees in the mentioned profession must take care of children or aged individuals. 
  • Instances such as theft, discrimination, or negligence to provide care are common issues in the industry. 
  • Conducting a criminal background check in Colombia allows employers to reduce the occurrence of such instances.  

Transportation

  • Hiring for heavy-vehicle drivers should be coupled with rigorous background checks. 
  • The consequence of any mishap during transportation is to be shouldered by the employing company. 
  • Therefore, employers must check a candidate’s driving and criminal records to reduce risk. 

How Multiplier Helps With Background Checks

Multiplier is a SaaS-based Employer of Record (EOR) platform that provides employee management, payroll services, labor law compliance, and more. An employer can reduce turnaround time and manual work by transferring the responsibility of conducting an HR background check to Multiplier. As Multiplier is a partner to several international background-checking companies, hence background checking is a breeze for employers using Multiplier. Additionally, mentioned features like compliance and payroll management are some of the several perks which make Multiplier the most versatile EOR platform for every business size.

Frequently Asked Questions

Colombian labor laws prohibit discrimination of any sort, and making a hiring decision based on the outcome of a pre-employment background check in Colombia is considered discriminatory. Therefore, employees must get consent, where the importance of background checks in recruitment decision-making is laid out.

The National Police keeps all the criminal records of Colombian citizens if there are any. Employers can contact the national police and acquire the criminal record certificate of a particular citizen.

Employers can ask a candidate to undergo a medical examination if the job listing demands the same.

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