How to Run a Background Check on a Potential Employee
As employers, the need for a good hire is critical for business continuity and risk management.
As an employer, your need to run a background check on an employee is completely warranted. If you’re about to hire a driver, you sure would like to know about their driving history.
How about a volunteer working with children? The children’s safety lies in the volunteer’s hands, and a background check is an excellent way to lay some of your concerns to rest.
First, a background check allows you to better understand the new hire.
Hint: Social media is an excellent place to start.
Second, a prospective hire may not be who they claim to be on paper. Fact-checking to clarify information such as education level, credit reports, or previous employment status will save you future headaches.
More specifically, and for organizations working with the vulnerable sector in particular (such as working with children, adoption, volunteer work, the elderly, and anyone considered to be susceptible), a background check is your safety net.
Ultimately, a criminal record check allows you to make quick and well-founded hiring decisions.
However, Canada’s background screening agencies take great caution to avoid violating the potential employee’s human rights.
Canadian Privacy Law
Canada has four jurisdictions with particular privacy legislation. These four are collectively referred to as “Privacy Statutes” and they restrict your ability as an employer to perform background checks on a potential employee — or any other person, for that matter. The legislations are as follows:
- Federally Regulated Employers – Act, S.C. 2000, c. 5 – The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents
- Alberta Employers – Act, SA 2003, c P-6.5 – The Personal Information Protection
- British Columbia (B.C.) Employers – Act, SBC 2003, c 63. – The Personal Information Protection
- Québec Employers – The Act respects the Protection of Personal Information if you are in the Private Sector, RSQ, c P-39.1
If you’re living in Québec, you can also reference the Civil Code of Québec, LRQ, c C-1991. This is an excellent resource on background check laws and regulations.
While the Privacy Statutes are different, they have common features that affect your restriction or prohibition of personal information checks. For example, you’re required to:
- Get consent before collecting your potential employee’s personal information.
- Limit the collection of personal information to the relevance of the job and the applicant’s capability.
- Only collect accurate, up-to-date, and complete information. However, exemptions exist for publicly visible data.
Ways to Perform a Background Record Check
Conducting an online background check includes investigating an individual’s “digital footprint” across several channels and sites.
Hint: You’ll find background checks to be more straightforward when dealing with millennials, as they have a more developed and extensive internet presence.
However, if your potential employee is elderly or more conservative, they might not have their details available online. Additionally, they may not use platforms such as Facebook or Twitter.
But for many, regardless of how concerned they might be about their privacy, you can obtain the necessary information through an official search to see if they fit your job criteria.
A Criminal Record Check Through the RCMP
In Canada, all criminal background checks are done by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) National Repository of Criminals Records. The RCMP checks all national databases for any criminal records.
Criminal record checks are even more prudent if your organization operates in the vulnerable sector.
If your hire holds a position of trust or authority over children, you need to conduct a vulnerable sector check on them.
What You’ll Need
- A complete application with all personal information
- To upload two pieces of the candidate’s government-issued photo ID
Name-Based Criminal Record Check
The most common way to obtain a criminal record check is by using the individual’s birth name and birthdate. The RCMP Canadian Police Information Center (CPIC) system tracks name-based criminal record checks. You can use searches in other national and local databases, too.
However, name-based screening has flaws invalidating a person’s identity, such as:
- Specific names are the same
- Orthographic differences
- Use of pet names
- Changed legal terms
- Name change intended to prevent a history record
Fingerprint Criminal Record Checks
If a name-based search doesn’t provide the desired results, a certified fingerprint criminal record check offers more in-depth information. Besides, you’ll avoid the above-mentioned flaws inherent in a name-based background criminal check.
Once your potential new hire has their fingerprints recorded at a certified agency by the RCMP, a search is done against the National Repository of Criminal Records by the RCMP’s Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services (CCRTIS).
However, thre may be some cases in which your employee’s fingerprints cannot be processed electronically. In these rare occurrences, the police check service can submit a paper copy of their fingerprints.
Please assure your applicant that the fingerprints submitted to CCRTIS are only for identity verification. At no time are the fingerprints added to any database, and they will not be subject to search without consent.
Online Records Checks in Canada
Background checks help you assess a candidate’s suitability for a position within your organization.
From the applicant’s online activities, you can tell whether they will be a good fit with your company’s culture — but please note that online record checks don’t display prior convictions.
Additionally, beware of the laws mentioned above to avoid discrimination complaints.
In some cases, candidates will not have social media accounts; others will have fake accounts, while the majority might have their accounts set to private. For accurate and instant search records, a more traditional background check like a criminal record check offers precise details and offers protection by the law.
How to Use Search Engines – Google
Google is the first place to begin your search online. There are many advanced search techniques you can use other than typing the applicant’s name. You should try the following tips to improve the power of your search:
- Use quotation marks to enclose your search terms.
- Add any personal information on the candidate outside the quote marks.
- Include the candidate’s hometown, schools they attended, and their friends’ names.
- Make use of search commands specific to websites, for example, “site: Micheal Joseph” “site: instantrecordcheck.com”.
If your applicant has a common name or appears in many results, an image of the person works wonders. Make use of Google’s reverse image search function to bring up your applicant’s profile.
Background Checks on Social Networking Platforms
Social media gives you more insight into your candidate’s background and, more importantly, their lifestyle.
Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
Facebook is an excellent place to start.
You can search by name or e-mail address and modify your results by location, school, and employment record using Facebook’s built-in search function.
For example, if you type a site:facebook.com “John Doe”, you will see which websites the candidate has commented on through Facebook.
Twitter is a unique social network because it doesn’t require much personalized information from users — unlike Facebook or LinkedIn.
However, you can learn a lot about your candidates from their comments and shared links. This information will help you understand the applicant’s activities, style, and general overview of affairs.
On the other hand, LinkedIn niches to employment. This makes it an excellent platform to learn more about the candidate’s employment background.
However, if your candidate has a premium account, they will be notified of your search.
Additionally, you can use LinkedIn to get to know the candidate’s skillset along with general information on their career interests.
Work With Screening Agency Experts
Although an internet search is free in Canada, it will only provide basic information.
For in-depth results, including criminal acts, you need to access the RCMP website for a background check. This process requires a fee. Your best bet is to consult an expert on the background check solutions available.
Talk to us. Whether for personal experience or vetting a recruit — we offer the best services in background checks.
Or for some further reading, check out “How Far Back Does a Background Check Go in Canada?
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