A global workforce fuels growth and facilitates incredible innovation, but it also brings challenges for HR departments, especially when it comes to pre-employment background checks. Yes, worldwide employment background checks are more complicated and time-consuming than strictly domestic screenings. Still, they are equally critical to the safety and security of your organization and its assets. The following are five tips for successful international background checks:
Know the Laws
Every country has its laws and regulations about obtaining and using personal information, which makes developing a worldwide screening program difficult. For example, in some countries, third parties cannot request an individual’s criminal record from a police department; those requests must originate from the individual. Working with a screening agent with extensive experience with international checks is the only way to guarantee you get comprehensive, reliable results.
Know the Culture
Culture plays a significant role in obtaining good information. Subtle cultural differences influence how individuals respond to requests for information. Language can make it hard to make requests and interpret findings. Crimes are categorized differently around the world, which hinders understanding the nature of the offenses. Experts on the ground in the country who speak the language and know how to navigate cultural nuances are essential to providing context and overcoming barriers during an international background check.
We know this seems almost ridiculous to say after describing how inconsistent the background check process can be across countries. Still, consistency is important enough to take your best stab at it. Have a written policy that applies evenly across all countries where you have employees and do business.
Advances in technology are improving the worldwide screening process. Digital databases, internet resources, sophisticated screening programs, and applicant tracking software streamline the process and make a previously cumbersome process manageable.
Rely on the Experts
We’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: screening experts with international experience are essential to getting reliable results. In-country, on-the-ground agents who speak the language and understand the culture are keys to navigating local systems and uncovering the information you need.
Building a Safe Global Workforce
Everyone around the world wants to work in a safe environment. But, while the goal is the same, the methods can vary. Build your screening program with the difficulties of international checks clearly in view. Following these tips will help you leverage the power of a diverse global workforce and protect your organization at the same time.