Whether it’s to get a new job, join an association or rent a house, most of us have had to undergo a criminal background check. At times a formality, at times a crucial factor, this step can have a decisive impact on the rest of the process. Lidia Lara, Director of Background Checks at Gardium Security, explains the process.
What steps are involved in a criminal background check?
As soon as we receive a request from a client, a team of experts takes charge of it and follows the necessary process to obtain the result.
Every background check request is validated to ensure the accuracy of the information (first and last name, date of birth, address, and the candidate’s consent), a necessary step in order to respect compliance with the request.
Once the information has been verified, the experts research the appropriate sources to obtain the results.
This is not a simple internet search to see if the applicant has a criminal record. We go to specific and recognized sources in the field, such as police forces and courthouses, among others.
What does an applicant have to do?
The applicant only needs to provide consent, usually by signing an authorization to conduct the checks. Some companies have their own forms for this type of request. For others, services like ours can provide the forms.
How often should a company conduct audit requests?
It varies according to the sector of activity as well as internal policies. We can compare it to a company’s financial statement, for example. In a way, it’s a process that allows us to get a better idea of the company’s health at least once every year. Employees contribute to this state of health.
If an incident with an employee occurred after they were hired, the employer would not know about it unless they conducted further checks. For example, an employee who is facing financial problems may become a risk to the company by being an easier target for a criminal to bribe, for the theft of company property, etc. So, in an ideal world, it would be nice to make new requests every year.
That being said, for many companies, the presence or absence of a criminal record will not make a person a bad employee. Many employers would not want to fire good performers only for this reason.
How are fingerprints used?
Fingerprints are not a systematic means of verification, but they are available if there is ambiguity following a result or if they are needed for more precise verification.
For example, suppose two Guillaume Tremblays were born on June 5, 1971 (fictional case). In the event of such a conflict, fingerprints will allow us to identify the right person and thus obtain the correct file.
This can make a significant difference if one of them has a clean record while the other has three offences, for instance. It reassures the clients that there is no mistake about the person.
Will a person with a criminal record automatically fail a check?
It’s not really a question of passing or failing. It’s more a matter of the candidate being transparent about their past. Did the candidate mention that they had a criminal record during the interview, or did they hide it? This is a good way to validate a person’s honesty.
From that point, some companies will continue the process and hire a candidate even if they have a criminal record, while others will systematically refuse them. This decision is up to the client, as some businesses have policies and procedures specific to their sector of activity that must be respected.
If a person is granted a criminal record suspension (better known as a pardon), does the information appear on the file?
If the application has been completed within the required time frame, the information will no longer appear on the person’s file. However, if the application is still in progress, the record will appear. When a pardon is granted, the record is cleared.
Why would a company want to use an online platform to conduct background check requests?
This tool allows you to centralize the information and secure it. Any type of check goes through the platform. The background check portal is a hub of communication, request management, tracking and security of sensitive candidate information. It allows the client to manage their profile according to their needs. It reduces the back and forth and eliminates having to sending confidential information by email.
Gardium recently launched Pre-Employment, its own background check platform. How does it differ from competitors’ platforms?
Our portal allows the client to have the evolution and results of their files at a glance. We let our customers better manage their needs and applicant interactions. Our very competitive rates do not detract from the quality of our verifications. Gardium is able to offer these rates thanks to our high volume of requests and our high-performance portal. Everything is secure to protect all sensitive information.
What sets us apart is the speed of service and the availability of our team. We are always right at the client’s side if they need an answer or even help interpreting a result. It’s easy to know if a candidate has a criminal record or not, but the details can be more difficult to understand. We will help them as best we can to decipher the information in order to make an informed decision.
Returning to the example of two people with the same name, in that case we would assist the client in determining why a criminal record appears to be on file even though the applicant said they did not have one. We will make sure our customer gets an answer. That support is what makes us different.