International Background Checks

September 16, 2023
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A survey finding reveals that 55% of Americans have lied about their personal details, skills, experience, or references on their resumes at least once. This could mean an estimated 42.5 million Americans may have lied on their resume to get a job in 2022! 

Performing an international background check, thus, becomes mandatory. 

Let us see why international background screening remains one of the most essential steps in global hiring

What is an International Background Check?

An international background check is a pre-employment screening process to authenticate all details provided by the potential candidate who lives outside the country your organisation is based in. 

A thorough international employment verification includes the following: 

  • Personal details and citizenship
  • Educational qualifications
  • Work experience
  • Relevant work permits
  • Credit history 
  • Criminal records 
  • Social media accounts.

Some of these factors can vary depending on the nature of the work and industry. 

Global background checks use information from foreign databases, employment history and government records relevant to the job profile. 

Importance of International Background Checks

Hiring an unskilled international employee can prove costly in terms of time and resources. The United States Department of Labour says a bad hire can cost your business 30% of the employee's first-year earnings.  

Here are some more reasons for conducting global HR background checks: 

  • It prevents the risk of fraud by hiring the wrong candidate, who could misuse the company data.
  • It ensures a safe and secure working environment by having individuals from good societal backgrounds. 
  • Over two-thirds of companies agree to have benefitted from better quality of hires due to their background screening programs in place. 
  • It builds a reliable workforce of qualified individuals, collectively leading to a company’s success. 

What Does an International Background Check Reveal?

International background checks reveal key details about an individual and help make the right hiring decision. The question is how to run an international background check and what should be checked during the process. 

Personal Details 

In June 2022, the FBI issued a warning of people using deepfake technology and stolen identities while appearing for job interviews in IT and software-related jobs. Thus, it is crucial to always begin your screening process by verifying the personal information details of the candidate. 

This includes checking their name, address, proof of identity and citizenship via official records on the government data. 

Educational Qualifications and Certifications

When hiring, especially for technical roles, it is vital to check if the candidate has the necessary degrees and certifications. Educational qualifications give a direct insight into the candidate’s skills and knowledge and whether they fit the role.



Work Experience

This is one of the most inflated sections of employees lying on their resumes to make it more impressive for the hiring manager. A survey reveals that 78% of employees misrepresent themselves. It further highlights the false claims include 45% giving false reasons for leaving a job and 41.25% using a wrong job title. 

Work experience is a direct way of knowing how candidates perform their tasks. This check involves contacting the previous employers as their testimonials can support/deny the claims on their resumes. It also gives an idea about their working style, handling pressure and other attributes necessary for the job. 

Criminal History

Global HR background checks should also confirm whether the candidate has any criminal records to ensure safety at the workplace. Negligent hiring can affect an organisation's reputation while also putting its data at risk. 

It can also extend to checking their credit reports to find links to past debts or financial discrepancies. 

Social Media Profiles

In the digital age, many companies conduct social media checks on the candidates. For remote individuals, face-to-face interactions are rare, but a social media profile can help to know more about their likes, dislikes, or behaviour. 

It can help to identify problematic attitudes or statements they made in the past. Checking the individual’s Instagram, Facebook and other social media profiles is also a part of international background checks. Not that informing the candidate that the hiring company will be reviewing their social media profiles is important. 

While the initial decision of conducting these checks lies with the company, candidates have the right to refuse the review, although this may affect their employment prospects.

Laws Relating to International Background Checks

As much as international background check is important, organisations must give equal emphasis on performing them compliantly. With global hiring and virtual onboarding, one must navigate the complexities of international laws and regulations that differ from country to country. 

Some prominent laws to keep in mind during international employment verification: 

  • The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), established by the European Union (EU), is one of the world's most intricate laws safeguarding consumer data. It imposes limitations on handling criminal records data within EU member states. Processing criminal record information is allowed when it regulates the data privacy laws of the respective state.

  • In the United States, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) safeguards consumer privacy concerning the information collected and disseminated by consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) to employers and other third parties. 

The federal law also governs employer actions when they find adverse information in a candidate's background check. Based on such findings, employers must adhere to the action process before deciding against hiring.

  • Canada has the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), which serves as the federal data privacy law, encompassing data transfers across provinces and internationally.

  • Background checks in India demand compliance with the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act) and the Information Technology Rules, 2011 (IT Rules). It puts constraints on seeking information on sensitive personal data, including biometrics, sexual orientation, medical records, passwords, financial information, etc.

    Besides, Indian employment laws further have core elements with regard to work contracts, employee rights and social security. 

How Much Time Does International Background Screening Take?

The time for complete global HR background checks can vary significantly depending on several factors. It depends on the complexity of the check, the employee's country of residence, the availability of information, and the efficiency of the verification process. The duration can range from a few days to several weeks or months.

Some countries have well-established systems for background checks that can be completed relatively quickly, while others may have more bureaucratic or time-consuming processes. The process may be faster if records are readily available in electronic databases. 

Employers often use third-party background check services to conduct international verifications. The efficiency and processing times of these services can vary, so choosing a reputable provider is essential. 

If you are considering hiring employees from multiple countries, you can best use a global employer of record (EOR). Such a partner can assist you in onboarding the right candidate, drafting localised contracts, performing a detailed international background check (via partnerships with providers) and managing their payroll and taxes. 

Choose Rapid to Hire and Conduct Background Checks in India

India’s IT talent has been attracting global businesses. If you are considering hiring remote workers from India, partnering with a trusted local EOR like Rapid can ease the entire process. Rapid can take care of establishing your presence in the country as well as helping you recruit the best talent. 

For international background screening, we have partnered with SpringVerify, a superfast background check service. Using new-age technology, we have enabled an accurate background verification process. You don’t need to worry about privacy as the data is secured with blockchain technology. 

We provide three levels of checks: Pro, Power and Premium depending on what factors you need to authenticate. The premium plan includes a 5-panel drug test. We work in tandem with your requirements and ensure you have an accurate report of the final results. 

To learn all about our services, you can book a demo here. 

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