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Pre-checking Identity for Employment: A 101 Guide with Veriff

What are pre-employment checks, why are they important and how can you pre-check an identity for employment? Learn more in our latest guide.

February 16th, 2022

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In the past, employers looking to hire new staff would simply put out a job advert, interview some prospective candidates, get a reference for their chosen hire and offer them the job. Life, however, isn’t quite as simple these days.

For a variety of reasons, employers now have to go much deeper when assessing the suitability of a candidate. Many more factors have to be taken into consideration, and all of them have to be conducted properly by employers before committing to a formal job offer:

  • References: these remain an important part of the recruitment process, even though in many countries (including the United Kingdom) the sourcing or reception of a reference isn’t actually a legal requirement. However, when references are given, employers generally have a moral duty to ensure the information within them is honest and accurate, meaning that the recruiting business can rely on them as a valid source.
  • Social media: as people live more and more of their lives online, the depth of information about them that exists on the Internet and on social media platforms is considerable. Checking the publicly available posts and information about a candidate can highlight some important characteristics in their personal and professional lives, some of which may be highly relevant to their suitability for employment.
  • Right-to-work: as the world of work has become more globalized, many companies are finding themselves more likely to hire employees from overseas. However, employers are bound by rules over who can work in different countries. Therefore, employers must check that any foreign employee they hire is eligible to work in the country in question, and that they are appropriate for the role in question (for example, if a certain level of security clearance is required).

All these checks are very important, and collectively, they can paint a detailed and insightful picture of a candidate. This level of data means employers are better-informed than ever when making decisions about hiring new staff.

But there’s a problem: how can you be sure that all the information is true?

Unfortunately, we all live in a world where misinformation is rife. Entire lives can easily be faked online by anyone in a matter of moments, from creating a fictional past on social media, all the way through to the forging of qualifications and identity documents. In the past, this behavior would have been limited to a candidate making some untruthful additions and embellishments to their CV and application. 

But now, it’s entirely possible for a candidate to present themselves as a completely different person to who they actually are. As a result, employers are facing an increasingly difficult challenge in making sure that the information they collect about a candidate — wherever it may come from — is correct.

And that’s where pre-employment identity checks come in. For more information, check out our blog on what is employment verification?

Are pre-employment background checks the same?

Firstly, it’s important to set out exactly what a pre-employment identity check is. Such an identity check will use computer algorithms and other scanning technology to ensure that the documents or identity information provided is valid. 

By using updated technology, these checks can be done in far greater detail, and with far more accuracy, than a member of the HR team could ever hope to manage through a visual inspection. After all, some fake documents can be such faithful replicas that, to the untrained eye, it can be practically impossible to distinguish them from the real thing.

Where pre-employment background checks differ from identity checks is that background checks are looking for information on an employee, but are not necessarily assessing the accuracy or truthfulness of that information. In short: background checks highlight the information behind a candidate, while identity checks verify whether that information is true or not.

What are the benefits of pre-employment checks?

It’s easy to consider all the levels of detail that pre-employment checks entail, and come to the conclusion that they’re more trouble than they’re worth. But the truth is that they are vitally important to the smooth operation of any business, for a variety of different reasons:

  • Legal compliance: all businesses have to comply with a wide range of different employment laws, and the proper hiring of suitable employees for jobs plays a major part in that. For example, not only must an employer ensure that the person they’re hiring is legally entitled to work in the country in question, but the employer may also be required to prove that’s the case if asked to by the authorities. Proof that the necessary pre-employment checks have been carried out can be critical in demonstrating this compliance.
  • Ethical considerations: both employers and candidates have a moral duty to conduct themselves with honesty and integrity, but that doesn’t change the fact that some don’t. If an employer discovers that an employee has misled them in the application process, or has been economical with the truth in an interview, then that may suggest that the candidate may not be a trustworthy person to employ. Finding this out before committing to an offer of employment could save a business a lot of stress and disruption in the long term.
  • Data protection: connected to the previous point on legal compliance, businesses also have to meet stringent requirements around data protection. The advent of new regulations such as GDPR in Europe and CCPA in California means that the bar that businesses must reach to comply, and to prove compliance, is higher than ever — and the penalties for falling short are increasingly severe. Running properly conducted pre-employment checks can be a useful tool in ensuring that all activities involving a candidate’s personal data are above board.
  • Job suitability: traditional methods of recruitment, based around a written application, submission of a CV and a face-to-face, are limited in terms of what they can tell an employer about a candidate. Someone who may seem perfectly suitable on paper may not turn out to be, and as dismissing an employee who can’t do the job takes a lot of time, this can cause significant disruption to a business. Using pre-employment checks adds a significantly higher level of detail to candidate assessment, so that employers can feel more confident that their hiring decisions are the right ones.

How to precheck an identity with Veriff

There are many different ways in which companies can pre check background and identity for employment. They can delegate these tasks to particular employees or teams, largely within the HR function, or they can outsource to an expert partner who knows what to look for.

Pre-employment identity checks, however, are a different story. Because they involve technological assistance and a level of innovation that is regularly updated, it isn’t realistic for companies to effectively carry out these checks in-house. Instead, businesses must equip themselves with the most comprehensive technology available, and that is exactly what Veriff has been designed to do.

Veriff is a full-service identity verification solution, built to bring every element of pre-employment identity checks into a single, user-friendly online platform. It works as an end-to-end verification service with three stages: the gathering of user data for analysis; the processing of this data through a verification engine customized to your specific needs; and clear representation of the results in the Veriff Station platform.

Veriff’s technology is suitable for virtually any business application where checking someone’s identity — be they an employee, a customer or a supplier — is important. But for pre-employment identity checks in particular, there are a host of crucial benefits that business users can gain from:

  • Extensive analytics: Veriff uses a variety of different analytical and investigative functions to ensure that fraud and misrepresentation are rooted out. These include device and network analytics, biometric analysis, cross-checking with databases and lists, automated data extraction, and a combination of manual and automated ID checks (depending on business needs and preferences).
  • Liveness detection: one way in which fraudulent candidates attempt to sidestep the protections of identity checks is through using videos of other people (who would be approved) and submitting those instead. Veriff shuts down those attempts by checking specific details of a submission process to ensure the liveness of the individual. These are all processed automatically, so that candidates themselves don’t have to go through any extra steps as part of the verification process.
  • Real-time data: as candidates go through the verification process, their progress is updated in real time on the Veriff Station dashboard. This ensures that hiring teams are always kept fully updated as to where candidates are in the process, and also makes sure that verification doesn’t cause any lengthening or slowing down of the hiring process. Businesses can still move quickly to hire new staff without compromising on security.
  • Fit for a global business world: Veriff’s capabilities span the world, so that wherever a potential candidate is from, and wherever a company wants to do business, it can do so with full confidence that it’s hiring the right people. Veriff is able to accurately check more than 10,000 government-issued identity documents from over 190 countries. The solution also supports more than 40 languages and dialects, and the Veriff team works tirelessly to expand this linguistic breadth all the time.
  • Configurable for security: security is important at the employer’s end just as much as it is for the candidate, and it’s vital that sensitive candidate data is only accessible by those who require it. Veriff can be set up with data permissions, including Admin and Support roles, so that the right balance of data accessibility and protection can be struck. It’s one of many reasons why Veriff is officially GDPR and CCPA compliant, as well as meeting WCAG Version 2.0 AA guidelines.
  • Fully brandable: connected to the previous point, candidates need to feel confident that the information they are supplying is being handled with care, and that they’re dealing with the hiring company directly. To help inspire this confidence, Veriff is fully customizable from a branding perspective, so you can present candidates with a comprehensive, secure ID verification platform fully coordinated with your corporate online footprint.

Book a consultation with Veriff

If you’d like to learn more about how Veriff can support robust pre-employment identity checks for your business, book a consultation with Veriff.

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