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Effective Candidate Communication for Background Checking


Any survey undertaken on the key aspects to success in either personal and professional life results in the word“communication” appearing at the top of the list! The importance of effective communication in the corporate world is definitely not a new concept and just how crucial it is on an individual, team and organisation-wide level is something that is the topic of constant evaluation.

Background checking is essentially all about people and the communication of information between various parties. From candidates; to clients; to PeopleCheck as a background checking provider; to our network of contacts and information brokers. Given the sensitive nature of both the information being handled and the use of background checking as a selection and risk-minimisation tool, strong communication with all stakeholders from start to finish is essential, particularly as this communication relates to candidates.

This article looks at why communication with candidates is key, when and how information on background checking should be provided to candidates and how PeopleCheck can assist each of our clients in enhancing the entire process through effective communication.

Why is candidate communication so important?

PeopleCheck’s philosophy is built on a foundation of strong customer service – in going that extra mile to ensure that the overall background checking experience of candidates and clients is a positive one. The first contact with the candidates our clients are screening generally comes part-way through the candidate’s application phase. However, communication about background checking starts long before this.

If, by the point of this first contact with PeopleCheck, a candidate has a basic understanding of why background checking will be undertaken, why it is required and what it will involve, PeopleCheck has found this dramatically improves the process throughout, including:

 Candidate expectations around the information that will be collected and validated;
 Candidate receptiveness to PeopleCheck communications; and
 Candidate responsiveness/timeliness in returning required background checking forms to PeopleCheck.

Generally a background checking program where candidates are informed will involve less candidate concerns, queries and delays in returning information.

This in turn results in a smoother, quicker process whereby our clients benefit from candidates being able to start in their roles sooner. This is a win-win-win situation….and it all hinges on effective candidate communication!

When should background checking be introduced?

The earlier background checking is introduced during the recruitment process, the better. PeopleCheck’s most successful partnerships with clients have fostered the following strategies:

  • All advertised positions, both internally and externally, through agencies or directly mention that background checking is a requirement for the role;
  • Once the preferred candidate is selected, all offers of employment, oral or written, should be clearly noted as subject to successful background checking;
  • All individuals subject to background checking should be advised of the checks to be undertaken; how the information collected will be used; and to whom information will be disclosed; and
  • The potential employee should be advised who or what company will be responsible for the background checking, how this party will be in contact with them and that they are required to complete a number of forms in order for the background checking to be completed. It should be emphasised that the new role cannot be confirmed until the background checking process is finalised.

Written communication can be incorporated into a candidate’s contract, mentioned on online recruitment portals, documented in internal policies and/or provided as a flyer as part of their offer information pack.

An example of the type of information you may choose to incorporate into internal communication may include:

  • Why background checking is important to the organisation and how it helps to protect the community, customers, colleagues and the candidate as an employee;
  • When background checking will apply and what will happen if a candidate does not consent;
  • What will happen if adverse information is identified and how the company will deal with this;
  • What special details may be required, such as proof of identity; and
  • How the company will deal with a candidate’s overseas employment or education and why additional information may be required.

How does PeopleCheck approach candidate communication?

Once a background checking request has been made by our client, the communication “baton” is passed to PeopleCheck. We utilise a combination of electronic,
verbal and written forms of communication with candidates. Background checking candidates like the community are all different and each responds to the various forms of communication in different ways.

Younger generations may prefer communicating over email or online portals; yet more mature workers generally appreciate a personal telephone call.

PeopleCheck’s personal approach ensures that candidates continue to feel informed and supported throughout the background checking process.

PeopleCheck encourages all of our clients to build strong processes around initial contact with candidates to ensure communication is given its warranted emphasis from the very start of the process.

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