Global Background Checks are a bigger challenge then it seems.
Global background checks are complex and pertain to in-depth information about local county laws that need to be considered. If you are among the elite list of companies that have an international presence, then you understand the challenges of maintaining consistency across your global workforce. This is more so in the case of performing background checks on employees. In some countries, this merely requires a straightforward web search, as it provides instant access to the nation’s criminal database. And in some countries, a private investigator can go around in circles for months, without finding a thing.
Yet, it is critical for international companies to have a strict security policy, including those that govern pre-employment screenings and background checks of employees. Here are 5 things your security specialist should know, in order to reach the optimal goal.
1. When in Rome, be a Roman
This means that at some point, your “global” company will have to align with native culture. In fact, it may be a tad presumptuous or even unrealistic to assume that a person sitting in an international location can determine what works best in a particular country or town.
For instance, consider this case where a country recently changed governments. The previous government was the result of a military coup, bordering on military dictatorship. The new government was the result of a hard-won democracy. During the background check, the screening expert approached an employer regarding an ex-employee’s professional history. The employer was wary, defensive, and even downright hostile with some of his answers. He went a step further to call his employee and warn him regarding the suspicious questioning.
If only the security expert had taken a moment to understand the context of the local culture, their approach could have been dramatically different, with a positive outcome.
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2. Build awareness of local laws and by-laws
Did you know that in many Asian countries, it is considered illegal for a person to perform criminal background checks on another person, especially if these checks involve the police? This is in line with the country’s stringent privacy laws. But this also makes it hazardous to rely on experts for pre-employment screenings.
On the other hand, it is considered perfectly legal for a person – like a job applicant – to request for their criminal history record, and submit it to the hiring manager as part of the hiring process. Awareness of such local/ country laws is a key factor when determining security-based processes in the international arena.
3. Bring on the local heroes
Again, we cannot stress enough on the importance of including natives – those who know the laws and the law of the land – in your company’s security processes. Their reach will be unquestionably deeper and quicker than non-local experts.
4. Make it procedural and not personal
Yes, laws vary by country. Yes, the security protocol your company uses will also vary, by country or perhaps even by state or county. But your company hopefully has a strategic security policy that is reasonably consistent across all of its international locations. This will save your company from a number of legal woes arising from any form of discrimination.
5. Embrace technology
While technology is not (yet) omnipotent across the globe – you will still need to rely on local experts – it will be there sooner than we think. For instance, you may be surprised that a large amount of criminal and credit history is easily available via (authorized) web searches, at a nominal cost. Of course, the level of detail may still vary (nation-wide versus county-wide). However, it is still worthwhile to invest in new and upcoming screening technologies, as they pave the way for the future.
In summary, both global background checks and local background screening can be a tricky business when you are playing across a global landscape, as country laws can influence a company’s security processes. It is still of great importance to keep your global security policy strategic and thus consistent in order to sustain the company’s best interests in the long run.