Conducting a Background Check in 5 Easy Steps

According to a study done by the HEC Montréal, up to 60% of job seekers present misleading or fabricated information during the hiring process,. Recruiters use different background-checking techniques to identify those who have overstated their experience on their CVs. 

1. Prepare Tricky Questions 

The best way to corroborate the details of a candidate’s experience is to be well prepared for your interview, explains Anne Bourhis, professor at the Human Resources Management Department at HEC Montréal. She suggests that you examine the candidate’s CV scrupulously, that you ask behavioural interview questions and ask that they respond to examples of potential scenarios. “If the person says she was responsible for the project but was actually just the assistant’s assistant, it would be difficult for her to fake being the person in charge,” says Anne Bourhis.

2. Check Public Registers

Online public registers, such as Plumitifs allow you to access civil, penal and criminal records as well as any municipal registries in Quebec. You will have to pay a few dollars for each search request so it’s better to know exactly what you’re looking for, rather than just fishing around for information. But when you know that a recruitment mistake costs the employer around $50,000, according to a CareerBuilder study conducted in 2013, it’s money well spent.

3. Conduct a Criminal Record and Judicial Precedent Check 

The Canadian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms prohibits discrimination on the basis of a criminal past, except on the basis of employment. An employer can therefore retain a firm accredited by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to conduct a background check on a candidate, for example if he/she was convicted of pedophilia or violence in the case of employment with children. The check can only be related to potential problems associated with the profession: if the candidate went bankrupt, for example, the firm conducting the background check should not share this information. 

4. Hire a Specialized Firm 

Companies that specialize in background checks do not only investigate judicial history but also verify the accuracy of the employment history information as stated by the candidate. If a company has a high recruitment volume, it may be worthwhile to have these checks done externally to save time and be more efficient.

5. Examine Personal Blogs and Media Presence 

If the profession requires communication and a media presence, it may be useful to read the personal blog of a candidate. The topics chosen, style of writing and the number of followers the person has can tip the balance so to speak. Even though many recruiters that she knows do this, professor Anne Boruhis doesn’t advise that you look at a candidate’s social media pages if they don’t relate to the position. Social media may not be representative of the candidate’s true character. “If I find out that the person is a singer in a heavy metal band, how does that help me determine whether she would be a good employee at a bank?” she asks. 

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