Employers get tough on candidate checks

Recent
high profile employee scandals have prompted UK companies to become extra
vigilant when it comes to hiring new staff, according to research.

The
Elan Employment Trends Report reveals that in a world where businesses are
increasingly security conscious, the HR function is becoming a tool to shield
against damage from staff misconduct.

More
than half of organisations are now scrutinising prospective employees more
thoroughly than they did 12 months ago.

References
are an area of particular concern, with 56 per cent of companies making more
rigorous checks with past employers. A further 52 per cent are paying closer
attention to a candidate’s previous job role, and actively checking facts with
a jobseeker’s last workplace.

Gaps
in employment are an added area of concern with 46 per cent of organisations
double-checking reasons for long periods of unemployment – although in the IT
industry employers expect contractors to have some breaks between jobs.

A
further 34 per cent of firms validate a candidate’s qualifications and one in
five look closely at a jobseeker’s outside interests to ensure a good potential
fit with the company.

Kate
McClorey, board director at Elan said: "People are the life-blood of any
organisation and the recent spate of corporate indiscretions have forced
businesses to re-evaluate the importance of staff integrity.

"The
reality is that companies are just as vulnerable to employee behaviour as
threats from external attack.

"Today
it is not enough to ensure that premises and systems are protected – firms also
need a guarantee that potential employees are on the level. References are
still the best way of verifying a candidate’s claims, and we would encourage
employers to contact referees as a matter of course."

*Regionally,
the North of England is the most cautious when it comes to potential staff,
with 64 per cent of northern companies stating they have become more thorough
when validating CVs.

*The
Midlands is the least concerned about this, with less than half looking more
closely at a candidate’s CV.

*The
North is also the most concerned with verifying references, with 72 per cent of
companies in the region making rigorous checks. Again, the Midlands is the
least security conscious with only 44 per cent speaking to referees.

By Ben Willmott

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