With the increased adoption of remote and hybrid work models, it is more important than ever to verify the identity of job seekers. Failure to verify someone’s credentials can result in a host of problems – such as hiring someone who turns out to have lied about their identity, qualifications or employment history.

Think of the case of one Cambridgeshire man who was able to con companies out of hundreds of thousands of pounds by falsifying his CV. While that is an extreme case, the point remains the same: failure to verify credentials wastes time and money, and in some cases, it can negatively impact your business’ reputation, argues Michael Whittington.

The hiring process takes on a new challenge when you’re hiring remotely. You can’t depend on the same instincts you would have when meeting someone in person. Let’s look at why verifying identity and screening candidates’ backgrounds are more important in the era of remote work and how the correct screening process may help you minimise your risks.

Why remote hiring is a challenge

With more and more recruitment processes moving online, it can be difficult to get a good feel for a potential candidate.

Degree and work history fraud is a startlingly widespread problem. In fact, a 2019 survey found that 48 percent of large enterprises and 48 percent of small and medium-sized enterprises encountered a candidate who lied about their degree qualifications.

The growth of the gig economy has also added complexity when it comes to hiring and background screening – a single applicant may have held multiple jobs you need to confirm. And for those who work within today’s gig economy, there is a good chance the HR departments of the companies that hired them for gigs will not have any records.

Complications with international hires

Background screening goes a long way toward helping mitigate the risks of making the wrong hire, but not all checks are created equal.

Because the trend in remote hiring makes the employee’s location irrelevant, a screening partner with truly global competencies becomes increasingly important. If your business operates globally or hires personnel from other nations, you will need an expert who is proficient in both the language and the culture of the candidate’s country to appropriately handle the situation.

In nations where it is known that such checks cannot be done by a third party, there are many organisations that offer a “criminal record” check. In many cases, a criminal record certificate cannot be obtained unless the candidate applies for it. As a result, it is hard to determine the optimal path to quickly obtain such information. And in other countries, even once a candidate has applied, it can take several weeks to receive a response. Any background screening company that promises what they can’t deliver given these limits should be avoided.

Conducting Right to Work checks

The digital verification measures for Right to Work checks have been extended by the UK Home Office until Sept. 30, 2022. Employers will now have adequate time to form connections with identity service providers, make the needed adjustments to their pre-employment screening processes, and perform responsible onboarding of their chosen vendor.

Furthermore, the Right to Work program will continue to assist employers in developing long-term, post-pandemic work practices. If enterprises do not want to use digital checks for British and Irish individuals with legitimate passports (or Irish passport cards), they can create systems to enable face-to-face document verification.

Between now and Sept. 30, these are the requirements for those conducting a temporary adjusted check:

● Request that the employee email or use a mobile app to send a scanned copy or photo of their original paperwork.
● Set up a video call with the employee and ask them to show their original documents. Compare them to the digital copies, then record the date you finished the check and mark it “Adjusted check undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19.”
● If the worker possesses a current Biometric Residence Permit or Biometric Residence Card, or has been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme or the points-based immigration system, you can use the online right-to-work verification tool during the video chat with them. However, you must have the candidate’s permission to view their information. All biometric card holders must now use the Home Office online tool to establish their eligibility to work. You will no longer be able to accept the card for a right-to-work check, even if it has a later expiration date.

Modern solutions to reduce fraud

KPMG reported that 72 percent of organisations in a recent survey said fraud was increasing. More than 80 percent of firms have already made one or more adjustments to their anti-fraud policies in response to the pandemic. Since the pandemic began, 51 percent of organisations have detected a rise in fraud.

Employee screening, when combined with additional activities like adhering to current workplace standards, can help you reduce the risk of fraud. A variety of screening methods can help your company’s onboarding process go more smoothly. Background screening contributes to a safe workplace, a reliable workforce and the circumvention of reputational and financial risks.

Organisations want advanced screening tools that integrate with their existing systems and eliminate hiring friction. Candidates will have a positive user experience with these types of screening tools, ensuring that they are comfortable with the process and feel supported, which is crucial in this time of high applicant expectations and a talent shortage.

To substantially minimise turnaround times, modern tools employ public and credible data sources, such as government databases. These tools can provide instant access to background information and near-real-time screening results for verification.

Modern challenges, modern approach

Identity verification is becoming increasingly important due to the rapid proliferation of remote work. The gig economy and overseas hires both present unique obstacles. The appropriate background screening process can help you mitigate risks and move on with employing the top individuals from anywhere in the world with confidence.