Background checks are neglected by employers

A CV-checking expert is warning that too many employers are taking unnecessary risks through the inadequate monitoring of existing staff and new recruits.

Steve Bailey, founder and managing director of vetting firm RWC, believes HR should do more to check employee backgrounds and claims made by candidates, instead of relying on word-of-mouth referrals or written references.

“Most corporations spend a fortune on internet security and physical security such as getting into buildings, and yet most crime is caused by your own staff, who aren’t even checked,” he said. “It’s like giving a ship a lick of paint when it’s got a great big hole in the bottom.”

Bailey’s company conducts more than 10,000 checks every year across all industries, yet he remains astonished at the low take-up in comparison with the US.

“American corporations will check about 80 per cent of candidates properly, while here, less than 10 per cent of employers bother,” he said. “The UK has a lot of catching up to do.”

Senior directors are Bailey’s biggest concern, as one in 10 lie about their date of birth when being appointed – possibly because of fears over ageist attitudes. Such dishonesty can wreak havoc on pension plans, he said.

A recent background check on a leading FTSE 100 company also uncovered a finance director who was not a chartered accountant.
“He was a highly competent individual, but he had been signing off the accounts for the past four years when he wasn’t qualified to do so,” Bailey added.

He also said that media, outsourcing companies and financial businesses are the best sectors for dealing with background checks.



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